Marty Johnson to return to radio with ‘Mondays with Marty’

WICHITA — When Marty Johnson of Johnson’s Garden Centers announced he was ending his radio show in early 2013, he said, “It’s time to do something else, like ride my bike on Saturday mornings!”

Now, he’s figured out a way to do both.

Johnson and his son, Jeremy, will be on KQAM, 1480-AM, from 5 to 6 p.m. on Mondays.

The previous show was on KNSS, 1330-AM, for the better part of three decades.

The new show will be called “Mondays with Marty.”

“It’ll be kind of the same format as before,” Johnson says. “It’ll draw a different audience than the Saturday morning audience.”

Johnson says he and customers missed the show.

“We heard comments,” he says.

Johnson, an avid bicyclist, does not think the new show should interfere with his riding.

“No, in fact … I’ll be able to ride to the station.”

Marty Johnson debuts Marty’s Acre

WICHITA — With the end of his Saturday morning radio show after 25 years, Marty Johnson has been looking for a way to keep his Johnson’s Garden Centers top of mind for customers.

He’s decided Marty’s Acre is it.

That’s a plot of ground, though it’s more like a quarter of an acre, on Edwards Street near his garden center on 13th Street in Indian Hills.

“I’ve lived on Edwards my whole life basically, and it’s always been an empty lot,” Johnson says.

He bought it about a decade ago. Five years ago, he tilled it and began planting on it. Now, Johnson is wanting to involve customers there in a variety of ways.

He’s looking at it as “more of an informal way to reach out to people.”

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You don’t say

“It’s time to do something else, like ride my bike on Saturday mornings!”

– A Facebook message from Johnson’s Garden Centers owner Marty Johnson on why he’s giving up the “Johnson’s Garden Show” on KNSS, 1330-AM, after 25 years

Kokopelli Kafe to open in former Betta Burger space on West 13th Street

WICHITA — Former Betta Burger owner David Schanbacher is opening a new restaurant at 3090 W. 13th St. near Johnson’s Garden Centers.

That’s where he closed his burger place about two months ago.

“There’s a lot of competition in the burger business,” Schanbacher says.

Now, he hopes to open Kokopelli Kafe, a coffee shop, by late next week.

“We’re going to be doing gourmet artisan coffees.”

He’ll also have tea, smoothies and pastries, including some savory ones.

Schanbacher gutted and remodeled the space. He’s hoping for better luck in the coffee business, as he says the Kokopelli Kafe name indicates. He says it means good fortune, among other things.

In addition to this business, Schanbacher also owns Nilla’s, a poker room on East Kellogg, and works full time supervising the electrical department for the Wichita school district.

“It’ll wear on you after a little while,” he says of doing so much, “but we try to make it work.”

Johnson’s Legacy Landscapes is moving, which may necessitate a move for the Ridge Road Johnson’s Garden Center

Linden Johnson is preparing to move his Johnson's Legacy Landscapes.

WICHITA — Digging up plants and dividing and replanting them is a regular process for gardeners and landscapers. That’s what Johnson’s Legacy Landscapes and Johnson’s Garden Centers are doing again – only with their businesses.

“It’s kind of corny … but some things you just have to give a little space to grow,” says Linden Johnson, who owns the landscape business.

He and his brother Marty, who owns the retail garden centers, split their businesses five years ago. Since then, Marty Johnson has leased space from his brother for his west-side garden center at 802 N. Ridge Road. Now, Linden Johnson is moving his landscape business from there and is selling the property.

Marty Johnson has first right of refusal, but he’s passing on it.

“At the price he would like to get for it, I’m not interested,” he says. “If he can sell it to someone else, that’s great.”

Marty Johnson says he’s interested in continuing to lease space there but will make other arrangements if that doesn’t work out.

“We’ll continue to have three stores whether it’s there or someplace else.”

He says his current lease is up at the end of the year, but he’ll write a new one with his brother.

“That will protect us,” Marty Johnson says. “We don’t want to vacate during the busy season.”

Linden Johnson is moving his business to 4.6 acres at the southwest corner of 61st Street and North Ridge Road.

“Part of it is we’re a little bit landlocked,” Linden Johnson says of his current 3.6 acres.

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Betta Burger to open in former Speedy Burger space on West 13th Street

WICHITA — Nilla’s owner David Schanbacher has had so much success selling food at his poker room next to Club Rodeo, he’s now opening a restaurant.

“Everybody’s just liked our food out there so much,” Schanbacher says.

So he’s opening Betta Burger, which is slang for better burger, in the former Speedy Burger space at 3090 W. 13th.

That’s just down from Johnson’s Garden Centers. Nilla’s is across town at 10001 E. Kellogg.

Schanbacher expects to have a soft opening for Betta Burger this weekend.

He’ll serve third-pound burgers on large, sweet buns with deli bacon.

“Just a little bit bigger and better than your average grease pit,” he says.

If this works well, it could be the start of several Betta Burgers.

“That would be great,” Schanbacher says. “I hope so.”


McDonald’s on West 13th Street gets facelift in preparation for possible new occupant

WICHITA — There’s been a lot of activity at the former McDonald’s on West 13th Street near Johnson’s Garden Centers, but there’s not yet a new business for the space.

“I’m just fixing it up for somebody that wants to rent it or buy it,” says owner Romualdo Lopez.

He says he’s put about $75,000 into the space.

That includes a new roof, facade and a general cleaning of the space.