Connie Hamilton sells Connie’s Cookies, which is moving east and changing to Connie’s Cookies Bakery Cafe

WICHITA — Twenty four years after opening Connie’s Cookies, Connie Hamilton has sold the business, but she’s not leaving.

That’s because she’s sold it to her son, Rob Smith, and his wife, Tanya.

“Everybody asks me if I’m really sad about that, and I’m not,” Hamilton says. “I get to go back to doing what I like.”

That’s making cookies instead of handling paperwork.

“I’m still going to be every bit as present as I’ve ever been.”

Except that won’t be in the Sweetbriar shopping center at 21st and Amidon.

The Smiths and Hamilton decided to move the shop to Reed’s Cove Plaza on East 21st Street just east of 127th Street where Knolla’s Pizza used to be.

“We have no visibility over here, and things have changed,” Hamilton says of the current location. “When we first moved in here, we didn’t need visibility.”

Though holiday sales still are strong, Hamilton says the rest of the year has become more of a challenge.

“Nowadays, everybody is opening a bakery,” she says. She says many bakers operate out of their homes.

“It has really, really eaten into our everyday sales,” she says. “We had to look at what’s wrong, and we decided what was wrong was where we were located.”

She and the Smiths initially only considered moving downtown or to Delano.

“We had every intention of staying central,” Hamilton says.

Then Craig Simon of Landmark Commercial Real Estate, who handled the deal for the Reed’s Cove space, suggested that center.

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Wink Hartman Sr. closes his Knolla’s Pizza and plans a new Jimmy’s Egg

WICHITA — Wink Hartman Sr. has closed one restaurant and is opening another.

His Knolla’s Pizza on East 21st Street just east of 127th Street East closed earlier this week.

Hartman had an agreement with Knolla’s founder Pat Knolla to open the business three years ago.

“It didn’t meet projections,” Hartman says. “Due to the lousy economy and the way Congress can’t do their job, there’s no reason to keep fighting it.”

So what would have happened if the Republican had won his bid for Congress?

“I’d be standing on the biggest soapbox I could find,” Hartman says. “How can you afford to continually spend more?”

Hartman’s Jimmy’s Egg franchises are doing well, so he can afford to do plenty more. He already has six here and one in Houston.

His latest Jimmy’s will open in front of Max Cole’s Office This development at 4031 E. Harry within three months.

Hartman also is looking to further expand in Houston and Kansas.

“I’m trying to create jobs.”

Geno & John’s Pizza owner owes taxes for previous pizza place

WICHITA — The Kansas Department of Revenue has filed a tax warrant against restaurateur John Giroux for almost $27,000, much of which he says is penalties and interest.

Giroux owns two Geno & John’s Pizza locations, but that’s not what he owes money for.

It’s for a Knolla’s Pizza Giroux used to own near Harry and Webb, which is where one of his Geno & John’s is now.

Late last year, Giroux and Pat Knolla cut ties.

The Department of Revenue is working with Giroux on a repayment plan.

“Business in the last year has been pretty difficult,” Giroux says. “I do everything I can to try and hold on.”

The economy has forced him to slash pizza prices, but Giroux says his costs are still the same.

A couple of months ago, he also opened a second Geno & John’s at 7603 W. 21st St.

“Here I go,” Giroux says, “another store, not really making it.”

He’s not giving up, though.

“I’m a hard worker,” Giroux says. “I keep battling it. I battle for the product. I think I’ve got a great product.”

A former Knolla’s Pizza is now the first of several planned Geno & John’s Pizzas

WICHITA — The former Knolla’s Pizza at Harry and Webb is now called Geno & John’s Pizza.

Owner John Giroux had to change the name.

“There were some circumstances that arose here in the last month or two that were not in any way acceptable to me as the originator of Knolla’s Pizza,” says Pat Knolla. “As a consequence, I decided to ask Mr. Giroux to get our name down off of that building.”

Giroux says, “I wanted to do other stores. They don’t want to have other stores.”

Neither Knolla nor Giroux will go into further details.

Giroux next plans Geno & John’s on West 21st between Tyler and Ridge.

He’s also looking at potential downtown sites.