New Midwest Kia site grows by 2 1/2 acres

WICHITA — Les Eck is already needing a little extra space for his Midwest Kia, which he moved to 4.5 acres at Kellogg and Tyler earlier this month.

“We had about two and a half acres to the east that we were going to keep open,” Eck says.

He says he thought he could one day use the land for another franchise, such as an Audi or Land Rover dealership.

Now, though, he’s refinishing the surface of the extra acres – partly in concrete and partly in gravel – because he needs the extra parking.

Eck says when he bought the Kia franchise from Steven Auto Group last year, the dealership had been selling about 25 or 30 Kias a month.

“That’s why they sold it.”

Eck says over time, he quadrupled those sales, and now it appears the new site will allow him to double his best numbers.

“We started doing even better.”

Eck says the extra space will allow him to hold events as well.

He’s still keeping his eye out for another franchise. If it’s small enough, he could possibly put it next to the Kia dealership. Most likely, he’d need new space, though.

“I’m always interested in something if it’s out there.”

Nathan and Nick Blasi are buying their uncle Les Eck’s Marine World

Nathan (left) and Nick Blasi, who are buying their uncle Les Eck’s Marine World.

WICHITA — In 2010, Marine World owner Les Eck issued a challenge to his nephews Nathan and Nick Blasi, who began running the business for him in late 2008.

“I said, ‘The only way you’ll be a success at running this store is if you treat every dollar … as if you own the place,’” Eck says.

“We took that to heart,” Nathan Blasi says. “From there on, that set the stage.”

Now, the two are going to own the place. Their purchase of the business will be finalized soon.

Eck says he’s selling “because it’s family. Because everybody needs a break in life.”

“They’re very hard workers,” Eck says. “They’ve done a nice job. They’ve complemented each other well.”

Nathan Blasi worked for Eck’s Rusty Eck Ford for five years before moving to Marine World. Nick Blasi played professional baseball. He uses a sports analogy to explain the difference between him and his brother, who used to play football.

“So he played one day a week and got all jacked up,” Nick Blasi says. “I played every day of the week and had to be the same person.”

Nick Blasi is over Marine World’s service department and says he’s good at organization. Nathan Blasi is more outgoing and handles sales and finance.

“We fight just as much as we get along, but I think we’ve always known that we complement each other really well,” Nick Blasi says.

The brothers say they always knew they wanted to own a business together.

“It was just like a dream from when we were little,” Nathan Blasi says. “You need people that you can count on and trust. I know one person I can count on.”

They didn’t immediately know they wanted to own Marine World, which sells new and used boats, three-wheel motorcycles, ATVs, Sea-Doos, skis and life jackets.

“And then we fell in love with the business,” Nathan Blasi says. “There’s something about making people happy … with their toys.”

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Midwest Kia to break ground on new dealership at Kellogg and Tyler

WICHITA — Les Eck is now happy to discuss plans for a new Midwest Kia dealership, which Have You Heard? reported was a possibility a couple of weeks ago.

That’s because Eck is having a groundbreaking today at the southeast corner of Kellogg and Tyler.

“I looked at several locations, and I like the easy access that that corner has,” he says.

“You can literally get from the east side of town to that place without hitting one stoplight. You take the little Texas turnaround — woo, right in. It’s so easy. And easy access is the key.”

The Kia dealership currently is at 6401 E. Kellogg, just across and a few blocks west of Eck’s Rusty Eck Ford at 7310 E. Kellogg.

He bought the dealership from Steven Auto Group, which still owns the building the dealership currently is in.

A Steven representative previously said the company was interested in selling because Kia wanted a new facility, possibly at a different location.

“Kia recognized the facility issues that Wichita had,” Eck says. “Go look at where we’re at. We share a service drive with Mitsubishi.”

Sales, service and parts will all be in one 30,000-square-foot building at the new dealership, which will be on almost seven acres.

“It’s not that way now,” Eck says. “Kellogg and Woodlawn just didn’t have the space that we needed to grow.”

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Midwest Kia franchise may move to the southeast corner of Kellogg and Tyler

UPDATED — When Ford dealer Les Eck announced he was buying Wichita’s Midwest Kia franchise this summer, he said the dealership would “stay at its current location for now.”

“We’ll be doing something new in the future, the next year,” he said.

It looks like that time may be now.

The Oct. 4 agenda for the area planning board has a platting item for something called the KIA addition at the southeast corner of Kellogg and Tyler. The property is 6.71 acres.

The Kia dealership currently is at 6401 E. Kellogg, just across and a few blocks west of Eck’s Rusty Eck Ford at 7310 E. Kellogg.

When Steven Auto Group announced it was selling the Kia dealership to Eck, Steven CEO Harold Johnson told The Eagle his company was interested in selling because Kia wanted a new facility, possibly at a different location.

“After doing (a new) Toyota building, and Infiniti and Volkswagen before that, we said, ‘Let somebody else have that fun.’”

No one is commenting yet about possible new Kia space. We’ll keep you posted.

Les Eck sells Rusty Eck Ford of Omaha

WICHITA — The opportunity to make money is what led Les Eck to open Rusty Eck Ford of Omaha three years ago, and it’s the same reason he decided to sell the business recently.

Eck was in the middle of remodeling and expanding his service department in Omaha, Neb., when another Omaha dealer approached him about buying the business.

“How does that phrase go?” Eck says. “He made me an offer I couldn’t refuse.”

Eck, who has four dealerships, is still looking for more.

“I’m looking at it as I speak,” he says.

Where?

“Where I can make money. I’m not picky.”

 

Marine World to move to its own site on West Kellogg

WICHITA — Les Eck is moving his Marine World from Rusty Eck Ford on East Kellogg to its own space at 7979 W. Kellogg.

“You know the ironic thing about 7979 West Kellogg?” Eck says. “I used to wash cars there in the 1970s.”

His father, Rusty, had a used car lot there.

“That same damn building was there till I razed it last week,” Eck says.

He says he didn’t even do a walk-through before razing it because it was a junky building even in the 1970s.

Eck is moving Marine World, which sells new and used boats, wakeboards and accessories, for two reasons.

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