Firehouse Subs is first tenant at new strip center at NewMarket Square

WICHITA — Slawson Cos. is preparing to start building a strip center in front of the SuperTarget at NewMarket Square later this month and has landed its first tenant for it: Firehouse Subs.

“We acquired from Target an outparcel basically in front of their NewMarket Square store that’ll be just north of the Intrust Bank … branch bank,” says Slawson’s Jerry Jones.

Firehouse Subs will be in 2,000 square feet on the north end of the 10,000-square-foot center.

Jones says two other potential deals for the center are in advance stages of negotiation. If they happen, that would leave 2,800 square feet to lease to a tenant or 1,400 square feet each for two tenants.

Firehouse Subs franchisees Dana and Troy Todd would like to do five of the restaurants in the greater Wichita area. Franchisees Megan and Andrew Reece opened Wichita’s first Firehouse late last year at Eastgate Plaza at Kellogg and Rock Road.

Dana Todd says NewMarket Square is a great place to open Firehouse.

“It’s a well-established area, and it seems to be continuing to grow.”

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Lawrence Photo to leave downtown after 125 years for move to Normandie Center

WICHITA — After 125 years in the greater downtown area, Lawrence Photo is leaving.

“When you leave the core area of the city that you’ve been in for 125 years … it’s a tough decision to make,” says owner Paul Hudson.

He’s moving the store from 401 E. Douglas to Normandie Center at Central and Woodlawn.

“I thought it was just the sweetest intersection of the city,” Hudson says.

That’s because Normandie is home to the Twizted Confections and Sweetly Scrumptious bakeries.

“And then I’m going to round it out with Whole Foods on the healthy side,” Hudson says.

He also likes that the Seafood Shop and Yoder Meats are there, and Great Harvest Bread Co. is nearby across Woodlawn.

“I don’t have to drive to go to the grocery store ever again,” Hudson says.

“I like the neighborhood, and it still has a neighborhood feel. The demographics are right there.”

The business started in 1877 as Lawrence Drug Store and was located downtown where the Intrust Bank parking garage is now. Hudson says in 1888 owner Charles Lawrence signed the first Kodak dealership west of the Mississippi with George Eastman of Eastman Kodak.

In more recent years, Hudson has expanded his business to include custom framing along with printing.

“It’s a major portion of business,” he says. “We’re certainly wanting to expand that framing and printing.”

At the new space, which is in the 3,000 square feet where Pathfinder Birkenstock used to be, Hudson will begin having photography classes. He says he’s been getting a lot of requests for them.

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Associated Integrated Marketing CEO Bill Fialka is out as agency eliminates position

WICHITA — Most people probably didn’t notice when Bill Fialka took over as CEO at Associated Integrated Marketing – and that’s how he liked it – but now he’s gone.

“The position was eliminated,” says Shawn Steward, vice president of client service and public relations.

He won’t say if Fialka was fired.

“I’ll let people draw their own conclusions on that.”

Fialka didn’t immediately return a call for comment.

Steward says the agency is restructuring. He and three other vice presidents will manage the company. They include Dave Stewart, vice president and executive creative director, Luke Gutschenritter, vice president and group account director, and Kim Weprin, vice president  of finance and human resources.

“This is not a financial decision,” Steward says. “This was a proactive decision to better allow us to operate more efficiently.”

He says, “We essentially saw a lot of duplication of effort at the management level. We felt that by eliminating the CEO level of the agency … we’re just getting the management closer to the client level and just streamlining across the board.”

Steward says the agency’s board of directors made the decision.

Fialka has been CEO since January 2010. He followed much more high-profile CEOs, including Mike Snyder and Bruce Rowley most recently. Fialka, though, deliberately avoided media and other attention.

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Ben Arnold behind on taxes but says it’s not nearly as much as the IRS claims he owes

WICHITA — After taking care of some tax trouble he had with Corporate Caterers of Wichita a few years back, Ben Arnold hoped to never be behind again. He is, though, and he’s as forthright as ever about it.

“I do owe taxes,” Arnold says. However, he says he doesn’t owe anywhere close to the approximately $250,000 the IRS says he owes.

“If I did, I would be in Mexico right now. That would just be an obnoxious amount you would have to owe for a period that covers 12 months.”

Arnold believes he owes only about a third of what the government says he owes. The issue, he says, is the IRS says it didn’t receive documentation from him.

“They assess a tax if they don’t have documentation in front of them,” he says.

Arnold says his accountant had sent proper documents and that he personally has now sent them a second time.

“That’s why I’m really, really frustrated.”

Arnold rapidly expanded his BLA Enterprises with catering at Comotara Center and two corporate cafes, Cafe 151 at Cargill and Cafe Intrust at Intrust Bank. He also owns AVI Seabar & Chophouse, which he opened late last year in the Drury Plaza Hotel Broadview.

“When I started this expansion, most of (the businesses) worked. A couple did not,” Arnold says. “We hit a very large pothole, and we’re filling it in.”

The largest pothole is AVI.

Arnold says in AVI’s first two months of business in 2011, it lost $75,000.

He says it was like “if you just popped a balloon, everything fell out.”

By August, Arnold says losses were down to $1,900.

He says September and October were profitable, and he believes AVI can be an almost $1 million-a-year business.

“We’ve grown to like it.”

Arnold says he now owes less than $16,000 on the business’ taxes.

He says another issue is the unprofitable banquet facilities he has in 9,000 square feet at Comotara.

“That’s one part of the business I’ve got to do something with. … I love my location, and I don’t want to leave it.”

Arnold says his catering is doing well and is on track to gross between $3.2 million and $3.3 million this year.

He says the cafes also “are extremely healthy.”

Arnold says it’s a “long, drawn-out process” getting tax discrepancies corrected, and while he’s frustrated, he’s not fazed despite the fact that he and his wife have used personal savings to cover some debt and have paid themselves almost nothing throughout the year.

“No one plans to fail,” Arnold says. “Any small business has struggles. You do what you’re supposed to do. … I don’t see this as a huge obstacle for me to overcome.”

Social Manor to open in Old Town

WICHITA — A new shop is coming to Old Town in time for Christmas.

Erin Kice and Lauren Johnson are opening Social Manor in the former Gingeroot Studios space at 920 E. Douglas, which is next to I Do Bridal & Tux.

The store will have furniture, accessories and gifts along with design services.

Johnson and Kice say they hope to inspire people.

“We kind of really feed off each other,” Johnson says.

She says Kice will handle the business side, and she’ll focus on marketing and design.

Johnson had been working in the marketing department for Intrust Bank when she decided to return to school to get an interior design degree. She’s also been doing staging for real estate.

Erin Kice has worked at Alltite for six years in various capacities, including accounting, human resources and office management. She says she “learned a lot about how a small business operates.”

“That has always been my dream, to have a shop of my own,” she says.

Kice says she knew out of college she didn’t have the experience she needed to open her own business.

“My time at Alltite has been great for that.”

“Erin has a passion for entertaining and throws the most wonderful events in her home,” Johnson says.

Johnson says she also likes entertaining but with more of a focus on interior design.

Kice says they’ll offer in-store instructional events.

“Kind of a decorating 101 type thing,” she says. “That’s kind of part of our creating a fun and entertaining atmosphere.”

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McGinty Machine has contract on part of the former Big Dog Motorcycles space

WICHITA — In late December, Have You Heard? reported that part of the former Big Dog Motorcycles space at 1520 E. Douglas is under contract.

There’s still not a done deal for the 20,000-square-foot warehouse space near Douglas and Hydraulic, which is east of where Big Dog’s 60,000-square-foot showroom was, but now it’s clear who the potential buyer is.

Nearby neighbor Don McGinty is eyeing the space for his McGinty Machine, which is in a 43,000 square-foot building at First and Hydraulic.

“We’re doing our due diligence now,” McGinty says. “It won’t be definite until I say I really want it.”

It depends on whether he can get tax abatements on the property and new machinery he wants to buy. McGinty says he’s looking at a $3 million to $5 million expansion. He says he’s likely to hire 10 to 15 people over the next couple of years.

“We’re just kicking it up a notch,” McGinty says.

That includes likely developing a sheet metal fabrication shop that will do table-top assemblies to serve aircraft companies.

“In the future, they’re going to want (us) to build the small assemblies, maybe to go into the bigger assemblies,” McGinty says.

His father and uncle started the company in the 1940s by making small aircraft parts.

“Now we go up to 40-foot long,” McGinty says.

More and more, he says, aircraft companies want their machine shop vendors to be one-stop shops for all their parts needs.

“That’s the direction we’re moving,” McGinty says.

To make that possible, his first choice is to expand into the Big Dog space. If he doesn’t get the abatements, though, McGinty says he might have to look elsewhere.

“It’s not really my desire,” he says.

McGinty thinks abatements make sense for Wichita for a couple of reasons.

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Part of the former Big Dog Motorcycles space downtown is under contract

WICHITA — Part of the former Big Dog Motorcycles space at 1520 E. Douglas is now under contract.

No one involved in the deal is talking, but it looks like there’s a contract on the 20,000-square-foot warehouse space near Douglas and Hydraulic. That’s to the east of where Big Dog’s 60,000-square-foot showroom was.

The tract under contract includes an almost 2,000-square-foot office building in front of the warehouse and the land up to the corner of Douglas and Hydraulic. The list price is $850,000.

The deal has not closed yet, but it may soon.

Intrust Bank foreclosed on Big Dog in April, and founder Sheldon Coleman Jr. dissolved the corporation.

He then started a new company, BDM Performance Products, to supply parts, accessories and gear for more than 25,000 Big Dog motorcycles.

The operation is based in Big Dog’s former service and research and development buildings and the former Johnstone Supply building next to where the company’s headquarters was. That property is not for sale.

Jeff Walenta and Scott Salome of Grubb & Ellis/Martens Commercial Group have the listing on the former Big Dog campus, which they’ll sell or lease.

That includes 101,000 square feet and is listed for $4,020,000, though it now looks like there won’t be a package deal.

 

 

Caterer and restaurateur Ben Arnold adds another cafe to his menu

WICHITA — Apparently a catering business, five hotel and military base banquet operations, two cafes and a restaurant aren’t quite enough to keep Ben Arnold busy.

So, as of Monday, he’s adding another cafe to the lineup.

Arnold will now operate Intrust Cafe at the Intrust Bank building downtown. It’s a private cafe that mostly serves bank employees along with some tenants in the building.

The approximately 3,000-square-foot cafe is a bit bigger than Cafe 151, which Arnold runs at the Cargill building downtown. That’s open to the public, as is Cafe Comotara, which Arnold has at Comotara Center at 29th and Rock Road.

“I won’t put any kids through college with the money I make off of these cafes,” he says. “It’s all about the partnership of just two great organizations that are based here in Wichita.”

There are many more partnership opportunities he receives, Arnold says.

“I get approached constantly.”

Arnold says he tries to be strategic about which deals he accepts. He thinks the Intrust Bank connection potentially can lead to more catering for his Corporate Caterers of Wichita.

Isn’t it all a bit much, especially since his new A.V.I. Seabar & Chophouse at the Drury Plaza Broadview just opened Monday?

“No, not at all,” Arnold says. “You surround yourself with great people, and you can do anything.”

Former Big Dog Motorcycles space downtown now on the market

WICHITA — Just down from where the new Ferguson Bath, Kitchen and Lighting Gallery will be, the former Big Dog Motorcycles space is now on the market.

Intrust Bank foreclosed on the company at 1520 E. Douglas in April, and founder Sheldon Coleman Jr. dissolved the corporation.

He then started a new company, BDM Performance Products, to supply parts, accessories and gear for more than 25,000 Big Dog motorcycles.

The operation is based in Big Dog’s former service and research and development buildings and the former Johnstone Supply building next to where the company’s headquarters was.

Jeff Walenta and Scott Salome of Grubb & Ellis/Martens Commercial Group have the listing for the other former Big Dog property, which they’ll sell or lease.

The list price is $4,020,000.

The property includes an approximately 80,000-square-foot building, part of which was used for Big Dog’s showroom, and a 20,000-square-foot warehouse.

The properties can be sold separately.

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You don’t say

“No, WWE.”

Intrust Bank president and CEO Charlie Chandler, joking about wrestling when a reporter teasingly asked if Barney was his favorite act so far at the Intrust Bank Arena