Businessmen Leon Moeder and Michael Carmody create new kind of welcome sign

UPDATED — With the speed of social media, businessman Leon Moeder is getting his wish.

On Saturday, Moeder expressed his frustration with a Kansas House bill, which the Senate then rejected, to allow businesses to refuse service to same-sex couples. On Facebook, he wrote: “I want a window sign that says, ‘WE RESERVE THE RIGHT TO PROVIDE SERVICE TO EVERYONE.’”

Michael Carmody within seconds said . . . he would prepare something,” Moeder says of his tenant, who is co-owner of the Donut Whole.

“They’re at the printers right now,” Moeder says.

By this afternoon, he’ll have 500 at his real estate office at 122 S. Hydraulic.

“First off, it’s the right thing to do,” Moeder says. “I just have a problem with people being mean to other people.”

There’s a rally to end inequality in Topeka on Tuesday, and Moeder hopes someone can take his signs there.

“You know, Kansas was founded on progressive ideas,” he says.

Read More »

You don’t say

“We had a good feeling that putting bacon on top of a doughnut would get a good response around here.”

Donut Whole co-owner Angela Mallory on the business celebrating five years at 1720 E. Douglas

Victor Court partially returns to apartments

UPDATED — More than three decades after their conversion, some of the vintage Victor Court apartments are returning to their roots.

“In 1935, it was built as a … 12-unit apartment complex,” Leon Moeder says of the building at 140 N. Hydraulic.

“It’s just an iconic structure in Wichita,” he says. “Everyone’s driven by it.”

It was converted to office space in the early 1980s. Moeder, his wife, Susan, and Raleigh and Rhandalee Hinman purchased it in March.

“We’ve converted six of the units back into four apartments,” Leon Moeder says. “They deserve to go back to the cool apartments they were.”

They’ve combined a couple of the spaces to make bigger apartments. There will be an open house there from 3 to 7 p.m. Wednesday.

The other spaces will remain offices, though they still need to be renovated.

“We’re going to finish this thing yet – someday,” Moeder says.

He says part of the attraction of remodeling the building is the central space, which he calls the core of the building, was empty. The remodeling could proceed without disruption.

“That falls into what we’ve been doing over here in the neighborhood,” Moeder says of refurbishing buildings.

The Moeders bought their first building in that area 15 years ago at 122 S. Hydraulic for their Stor-All business.

“We started because the property was cheap,” Leon Moeder says.

The Moeders just purchased their sixth building, a warehouse and office space at 156 S. Greenwood, on Saturday.

“We got very, very lucky with the first tenant we picked up,” Moeder says, referring to the Donut Whole. The Moeders also own that building with the Hinmans along with a duplex.

The Donut Whole “pretty much set the tone for most of what’s happened in the area,” Moeder says.

Douglas Avenue was part of the attraction, and now the Douglas Design District that’s grown around it is appealing, too.

“That’s a big deal to us,” Moeder says. “It’s nice to have an identifier overlay.”

What he’d really like is a name specifically for the buildings in the Douglas and Hydraulic area, though.

“We’ve tried that,” Moeder says. He says he hasn’t had any luck finding a name yet.

“Someone creative should come up with one.”


Shine Salon to move to Sunburst Plaza

UPDATED — There’s a new tenant coming to Phil Ruffin’s Sunburst Plaza at 1725 at 1725 E. Douglas, which may be better known as the home of Tanya’s Soup Kitchen.

Shine Salon is moving into 2,500 square feet next to the former Integrity Auto Group space at the center.

“We’ve kind of been looking to expand, to grow our business,” says Val Sigg, who owns the business with his wife, Casey. “Our business has been fantastic.”

The salon will celebrate five years at 110 N. Hillside on March 18.

Currently, Shine has six styling chairs and eight stylists.

“We’re trying to accommodate 14 hair stylists at our new space,” Sigg says. “We are actively looking for … hair stylists to come work with us over there.”

Read More »

Rowley Snyder Ablah buys former Big Dog Motorcycle building it’s occupied for a year

Part of the upgrades to Rowley Snyder Ablah's newly purchased building include glass blocks in an area that used to have a nonworking door.

WICHITA — When the new Rowley Snyder Ablah ad agency signed a lease for former Big Dog Motorcycle space at 145 N. Hydraulic in the spring of 2011, CEO Bruce Rowley said, “You know there’s something happening down here. This is kind of a vibrant little area with lots of cool stuff going on.”

He and his partners like it so much, they’ve now bought the building from Sheldon Coleman Jr.

“We love the size of it,” Rowley says. “We love the flexibility of it.”

Most of the 3,000 square feet is an open area that Rowley says allows for easy reconfiguration of space depending on what a project might need.

“That was a huge part,” he says. “We’ve already moved ourselves probably four or five times in the year we’ve been in it.”

The agency is making a few upgrades at the building, such as getting rid of a nonworking door that Rowley says “made it sort of look like an abandoned building from the street.”

Read More »

Wichita Guitar Works to open next to Donut Whole on East Douglas

Curt Mitchell (from left), Chris Glamann and Scott Kern of the new Wichita Guitar Works.

WICHITA — A new guitar and amplifier shop is in the works next to the Donut Whole on East Douglas.

Curt Mitchell, Chris Glamann and Scott Kern plan to open Wichita Guitar Works on Aug. 1 at 1716 E. Douglas.

The three used to sell and service guitars and amplifiers at Glamann’s GMI Music and Sound. That store, which was on West Central, closed in 2000.

“We’ve always talked about when the time was right, we wanted to do something again,” Mitchell says. “It’s the business we all love.”

Several factors forced the other shop to close.

“At that time, the sale of musical instruments on the Internet began to be real strong,” Mitchell says. Also, he says competition from chain stores was a factor, as was construction along Central.

“We just had some trouble keeping it going.”

He doesn’t expect the same issues now.

“Just in the last couple of years we really felt like the time was right again,” Mitchell says.

He says the retail climate has changed, and shoppers now seek local stores with specialized merchandise and service.

“There’s a big movement right now with what’s called boutique guitar shops,” Mitchell says.

He says he and his partners plan to sells guitars that are “made by people, not made by machines.”

“You can’t walk into every shop in Wichita and see these kinds of instruments.”

Read More »

GLMV Architecture’s secret weapon: Barbie

WICHITA — Lots of businesses have mascots of sorts.

Mattress Hub has Cheap Sheep.

The Donut Whole has a giant chicken that graces its roof.

And GLMV Architecture has … Barbie?

The firm’s Facebook page has been touting Barbie’s activities around the office, complete with photos.

“Look at Barbie go! What a multi-tasker, picking laminates, making boards, AND Studying for the big test! Wow…WOW!”

“Working in a construction zone is a little more challenging than Barbie thought it would be!”

“Barbie has been busy, busy, busy studying for her exams! Ken has been so supportive by sending her flowers, coffee and energy drinks!”

So far, there have been 17 updates.

When first contacted, GLMV chairman Bill Livingston said he didn’t know much about Barbie and her Facebook activities.

“I saw one copy of it, but that’s it,” he said. “We old guys with no techie skills, we don’t understand that stuff.”

Then he did some investigating.

“This is cool,” Livingston says.

Read More »

You don’t say

“If the motley crew of patrons is any indication, the draw of the perfect donut is universal.”

– A AAA lodging and restaurant inspector’s review this week of Wichita’s Donut Whole, which she says makes the world “a happier, more joyful place”

How to succeed in business without really opening: NuPenny on East Douglas is the ultimate in window shopping

UPDATED – Most people understand that one of the first steps to succeeding in business is to open a business.

That’s not Randy Regier’s approach.

But then, he’s not just a business owner. First — and foremost — he’s an artist.

He’d love for you to drop by his new NuPenny Toy Store, which he put the finishing touches on just after midnight on Tuesday after “way too many trips to Lowe’s.”

It’s at 1714 E. Douglas, which is two doors down from the Donut Whole and just across from Tanya’s Soup Kitchen.

Part nostalgic, part futuristic, the brightly lit shop full of shiny silver toys beckons passers-by to stop in, but they can’t.

“It’s like a ‘Twilight Zone‘ episode in a toy store that no one ever goes in and no one shows up,” Regier says.

He could go into great lengths, he says, about what it all means. That would spoil the fun, though.

Regier’s thought is “the idea of discovering something.” It’s an experience, and one that he doesn’t want to prejudice.

“It’s not so much not wanting to talk about it,” he says. Talking, though, “can take all the mystery from it.”

“It can be sort of mythical and mystical and bizarre and weird.”

The toys are made from things such as old toasters and Electrolux vacuum parts.

A London writer who wrote of Regier’s work examined it for his ability to create desire. Shoppers may want to come in, but can’t.

There’s no use advising Regier on another business model.

“I have business friends who have tried that,” he says. “I’ll just say they’ve given up on me.

“My business model is, ‘Good luck with that.’ ”

Read More »

Rowley Snyder Ablah moves agency office downtown

WICHITA — Despite extensive east-side searches for a new office, Rowley Snyder Ablah has moved downtown to former Big Dog Motorcycle space at 145 N. Hydraulic.

“I’ve got to tell you, we’ve looked at almost everything on the east side,” Bruce Rowley says.

When he opened the agency late last year, it temporarily was located in the Terra-Cotta Tower at 29th North and Rock Road. Rowley liked the amenities on the east side.

“I finally got dragged by my leasing agent down to this building that he wanted to show me,” Rowley says of Classic Real Estate’s Craig Ablah, who is agency partner Jeff Ablah’s cousin.

Rowley likes the openness of the 3,000-square-foot space, but he particularly likes the area around the building.

“You know there’s something happening down here,” he says. “This is kind of a vibrant little area with lots of cool stuff going on.”

He’s impressed with what Chris Ruffin has done with the nearby Sunburst Plaza at 1725 on East Douglas, which is where Tanya’s Soup Kitchen will soon reopen.

Tanya’s and the Donut Whole across the street helped seal the deal.

Rowley says his office has already done taste tests to determine favorite doughnuts.

“I thought that maple bacon was going to be winning, but Neapolitan appears to be quite a hit, and the one with Fruity Pebbles on it.”

Rowley says he knows his 12-person agency isn’t going to have a huge impact on the area, but he hopes his “little, tiny presence” adds to the movement there.