Headshots Bar & Grill to open in the former Backstage space at Oxford Square

WICHITA — Ryan Revard is excited to talk about the new bar and grill he’s planning for the former Backstage space in Oxford Square at 21st and Woodlawn, but at the same time he doesn’t want to go into too much detail yet.

“I am trying to avoid a knee-jerk reaction from people when they see it,” he says. That’s because he’s planning a themed business that focuses on video games, which will feature free console-based video games. He’s calling it Headshots Bar & Grill.

“That can mean a lot of things to a very broad range of people,” he says of the name.

Revard says he doesn’t want anyone to say, “Oh, this is a bar for people who live in their mom’s basement and don’t have jobs.”

He says, “By nature, a game is a social interaction between multiple people.”

The business will target people ages 21 to 35, which is why Revard says he wanted to be near Wichita State University, but he says anyone will be welcome.

Revard is a gamer himself, and he also has a mixology degree.

“I wanted to combine my two most favorite things and make a business out if it.”

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Mike Lewis moves Newton gym, opens training center in Wichita

UPDATED — Mike Lewis has moved his Newton-based gym and is opening a personal training center in Wichita.

Mike Lewis Fitness is now in about 6,000 square feet at the Chisholm Trail Center-Outlet & Retail Shops in Newton.

“Basically, I’m growing,” Lewis says of his business, which opened in 2009.

The gym offers a variety of workout options, such as spin classes, boot camps and personal training.

The new business, Fitness on the Waterfront, is opening at the Waterfront development at 13th and Webb Road exclusively for personal training.

“The clientele up there around the Waterfront is the main reason I want to do the Waterfront one,” Lewis says.

Don Piros of Landmark Commercial Real Estate handled the deal.

Personal training that he received, along with a sports background, inspired Lewis to open the gym.

“I’ve played every sport known to man,” he says. “I always wanted to open my own gym.”

Chez Belle salon to move to Mill Creek

WICHITA — Chez Belle, a salon that’s been near Central and Woodlawn for 11 years, is moving to the Mill Creek shopping center on the northeast corner of Central and Rock.

Owner Michaela Santiago says she’s ready to “grow the business and get a little bit more visibility from the street.”

Currently, she says, the salon is a little hard to see behind the Williams Ace Hardware store.

“We’ve hired some new stylists, and we’re going to start doing more … package spa-type items,” Santiago says. She says she wants to help the newer stylists build their clientele by being more visible. Chez Belle has 11 stylists.

Don Piros and Ken Saville of Landmark Commercial Real Estate handled the deal.

Santiago says the salon offers a range of services but focuses mostly on hair and skin.

Chez Belle is in 1,800 square feet.

“We’re pretty spoiled right now,” Santiago says. “We’ve got a lot of space.”

The new space, which will open April 2, is 1,620 square feet. Santiago says the trade-off for more visibility will be worth it.

“We’re making every square inch count.”

Liberty Tax Service to open at Oxford Square at 21st and Woodlawn

WICHITA — Liberty Tax Service franchisees Darrell and Kathie Phipps are opening a new location in time for tax season.

The new site will be at Oxford Square, which is at the northwest corner of 21st and Woodlawn.

Darrell Phipps says they already have locations in Newton and at Central and Hillside in Wichita. They closed a Valley Center office at the end of last tax season.

“It just wasn’t performing … to our expectations,” he says. “We’re moving everything basically from that store into this location.”

Don Piros of Landmark Commercial Real Estate handled the deal.

Phipps says when he started the business six tax seasons ago, his goal was to have three or four locations. He says there’s a chance he could open more.

“It’s always a possibility.”

Liberty Tax Service franchisee to open second west-side office

WICHITA — After a decade in business, Liberty Tax Service franchisee Chris Merchant is opening a second location.

The accountant has a private firm as well as the Liberty office at 13th and West streets, which his wife, Deb, runs. Merchant’s daughter, Jamie Hanson, will run his second Liberty office, which will open in January in the same strip center where Domino’s is near 21st and Amidon.

“Mainly we’re doing another location because our first location has been so successful,” Hanson says.

She says Liberty is the fastest-growing tax preparation company in the United States. There are several other Liberty offices around Wichita that other franchisees own.

Hanson says more Liberty sites are possible in the future for her family.

“My goal is to have more than one location,” she says. “We’re going to see how this one goes. We can only do so much at a time.”

Don Piros with Landmark Commercial Real Estate handled the deal.

Hanson says the west side has been a good area for the company.

At the new location, she says, “We’re really going to try to target the Hispanic community.”

Hanson says the company already has one bilingual tax preparer and is training more.

“We’re just branching out.”

Wasabi Restaurant to open on the west side

WICHITA — Wasabi owner Steve Young is preparing to open his third Wichita restaurant, this time on the west side.

Young is taking two spaces in the center at 2404 N. Maize Road near 21st and Maize Road for a total of 3,085 square feet.

That’s near Logan’s Roadhouse where Frozen in Time, a scrapbooking store, once was along with Peachwave Self Serve Frozen Yogurt, which recently closed.

Bree Kelley of J.P. Weigand & Sons and Don Piros of Landmark Commercial Real Estate handled the deal.

Young opened Old Town Sushi Bar By Wasabi on East Douglas in 2010 followed by Wasabi Restaurant at 3242 N. Rock Road last fall.

The new west-side restaurant, which also will be called Wasabi Restaurant, will be similar to the east-side one.

“Basically, he wants to do a little more upscale than downtown,” Kelley says of Young. “He’s going to have a nice bar in there.”

Young hopes to open in early December in time for the holiday season.

Kelley says Wasabi should be well received.

“I would think that the west-siders will be excited to have them in their neighborhood as an option to go to.”

 

Mathnasium to open at the Waterfront

Rachel Allen helps a student at Mathnasium.

WICHITA — Since Rachel Allen opened Mathnasium at NewMarket Square at 21st and Maize Road in February, parents have been driving their children from the east side to get math help.

Now, they won’t have to.

Allen is opening a second Mathnasium, a franchise known as the Math Learning Center, at the Waterfront at 13th and Webb Road.

“I’ve had a lot of interest from the east side,” Allen says, “… and so they’re pretty excited about us opening over there.”

Allen is an accountant and a former middle school math teacher. Her husband, Paul, is one of the principals of the Allen, Gibbs & Houlik accounting firm.

“This is really a perfect fit for my background,” Allen says. “I just really love working with kids and helping them, and this seemed like a great opportunity.”

She says Mathnasium, which teaches a range of math from beginning skills through calculus, gives children help with math concepts in a way that makes sense to them.

“We say we help kids catch up, keep up and get ahead,” Allen says.

Mathnasium even helps some adults, such as those returning to school to complete degrees.

When Allen became a franchisee, she acquired the rights for sites on the east and west sides. She says she found the 1,500-square-foot NewMarket location first.

The 1,400-square-foot Waterfront location is in the former Butter Bean children’s boutique space.

Don Piros of Landmark Commercial Real Estate handled the deal.

Math is a subject a lot of students struggle with, but Allen says parents says they notice a difference in their children’s feelings about it after going to Mathnasium.

“They’re just amazed by … the kids’ confidence and their attitude towards math.”

Whole Foods Market to open in Wichita at the new Waterfront Plaza

UPDATED — A new phase of the Waterfront development will be the home of Whole Foods Market when it arrives in Wichita next year.

“It’s very big for us,” said Stephen Clark II, who is managing the project, of landing the organic and natural food chain.

“It could be beneficial for the whole market,” Clark said. He said retailers such as Whole Foods Market and the new Cabela’s that entered the market earlier this year attract other big names.

“The more of that you can get, the more interest there is from others.”

Clark’s father, Steve Clark, and fellow Waterfront developer Johnny Stevens are building a new 70,000-square-foot retail center called Waterfront Plaza on the northwest corner of 13th and Webb Road, which Stephen Clark says is part of the larger Waterfront development on the northeast corner.

Whole Foods will anchor the development with a 30,000-square-foot store that Clark said will open in November 2013.

“We just feel that it’s really going to pair well with the community,” said Ben Friedland, executive marketing coordinator of the Rocky Mountain region for Whole Foods Market.

“One of the things that we’re most excited about is we’re a very decentralized organization, which allows us to build stores that are very specific to the communities in which they live,” he said. He said the chain partners with local producers who meet Whole Foods Market standards to sell their items so the store is “going to be endemic to the community, and it’s going to take on its local flair and its local flavor.”

“We’re just really excited about the abundance of local products available.”

Friedland said the Austin-based chain, which has 325 stores in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom, has been looking at Wichita for a couple of years.

“It’s another feather in the cap of Wichita for bringing the big names that wouldn’t touch us two to five years ago,” said Don Piros of Landmark Commercial Real Estate. “It’s the domino effect. You bring one or two here, and the rest think, geez, maybe we should be here.”

Piros is handling leasing at the remaining 40,000 square feet at Waterfront Plaza in addition to retail and office leasing within the larger Waterfront area east of Webb Road. That includes a new 4.3 acre area under development north of Chester’s Chophouse & Wine Bar where two new office buildings are slated to be under construction soon.

Piros said he’s close on a few potential Waterfront Plaza tenants. Clark said landing Whole Foods helps.

“People want to be next to Whole Foods, and we expect a lot more activity out there.”

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Two Wichita Learning Connection centers to open to help former students get diplomas

WICHITA — The South Central Kansas Education Service Center is opening two new sites in Wichita.

“What we do is we try to provide … cost-effective ways to provide education services to school districts,” says executive director Brad Pepper.

The south-central branch, which is based in Clearwater, serves 28 school districts and is one of seven education service centers in Kansas.

The center provides services such as integrating technology in classrooms, helping further professional development and arranging for reduced-rate equipment.

“Basically, if there’s a need that a school district has, we’ll provide that service,” Pepper says.

“They’re school districts without students,” is how he describes the centers.

At least that’s generally the case.

The two new Wichita sites will be part of a network of Wichita Learning Connection centers around the state that offer degree completion programs.

Pepper says the center partners with local school districts to help former students age 18 and older receive their high school diplomas.

“It’s an actual high school diploma,” Pepper says. He says that can carry more weight in the career world than a GED.

“We’re kind of targeting the Hispanic population,” Pepper says.

He says there’s a higher drop-out rate in that community, though Wichita Learning Connection is open to anyone.

One site will be in 1,550 square feet in New Leaf Plaza, formerly the Marina Lakes shopping center, at 21st and Amidon.

The other will be in 2,200 square feet at Parklane Shopping Center at Lincoln and Oliver.

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Closet Junkie to open at Cherry Creek

WICHITA — Sandy Harris had been in the resale business for 22 years when she left it in February.

“I told myself, no, that’s it, I want to do something else,” says Harris, who was at Trends Fashion Exchange on West Maple for the last 15 years.

Instead of changing careers as planned, though, Harris is now opening Closet Junkie in the Cherry Creek shopping center at Harry and Rock Road.

“There’s just a lot of traffic out here,” Harris says of choosing the center. She says there also aren’t many shops like hers on the east side.

Harris will buy used, trendy clothing and accessories from customers along with some furniture and housewares to sell in the shop.

“It’s what I love, and it’s what I know, and I’m good at it,” Harris says. “I’m ready to get back in it.”

Don Piros of Landmark Commercial Real Estate handled the deal for the 1,400-square-foot space.

The shop will open Aug. 4.

Harris says she misses her customers, many of whom she could predict exactly when they’d come to shop or what they would buy.

“It’s weird how after that many years, you make friends,” she says. “I kind of miss that.”