A&W to open in front of Lowe’s near 29th and Maize Road in June

WICHITA — As Eric Estes is getting ready to build his first Wichita Qdoba Mexican Grill where Yen Ching Chinese Restaurant & Club will close at Central and Rock, his first Wichita A&W is getting closer to opening.

“I think it’s the longest lasting restaurant brand since 1919,” Estes says. “It’s the granddaddy of all restaurant brands as far as heritage and age.”

The restaurant is opening in front of Lowe’s near 29th and Maize Road.

“It’s a neat concept,” Estes says. “We’ll be making the root beer fresh … every day.”

There will be frosted mugs, too.

Estes says lots of people seem to remember the “family” of burgers the chain once was known for, with a Mama, Papa and Baby burger.

“They were really famous for that.”

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Twin Peaks has west-side space, and it isn’t where anyone suspected

The west-side Twin Peaks will be on the north end of this building across Ridge Road from Carlos O'Kelly's and Panera Bread.

The west-side Twin Peaks will be on the north end of this building across Ridge Road from Carlos O’Kelly’s and Panera Bread.

WICHITA — There’s been a popular guessing game of where the west-side Twin Peaks might go. As it turns out, it’s not opening at any of the spots most people thought it might.

Franchisee Rusty Rathbun considered most of those sites, but he’s settled on 7325 W. Taft instead.

“It’s been overlooked from a retail perspective,” says Dan Unruh of InSite Real Estate Group.

The building, which is across Ridge Road from Carlos O’Kelly’s and Panera Bread, was built as office space that most recently was home to American Family Insurance.

Gallery Expressions will be Twin Peaks’ neighbor to the northwest across a parking lot, and the Lowe’s at Maple and Ridge Road is just north of that.

“This one kept coming up as a great site if we could just make the building work,” Unruh says.

InSite is part of South Ridge LLC, a group that purchased the 16,800-square-foot center where Twin Peaks is going.

Rathbun says he seriously considered about 15 properties before deciding on the Taft site.

“It works because of the traffic count and all the number one restaurants in the area,” he says.

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Echo Hills developer Mike Loveland tells Park City chamber he’ll have “something of significance” to announce soon

WICHITA — Mike Loveland is quiet to the point of silent about his deals, and it wasn’t much different Wednesday when he agreed to speak to the Park City Chamber of Commerce about his Echo Hills project.

“You said a whole bunch of stuff without saying anything,” one attendee said to Loveland on his way out the door.

Loveland did share one little-known detail about the 80-acre project northwest of Interstate 135 and 53rd Street North in Park City.

“I was looking for a site for a nighttime golf course,” he said of how he first started looking at the land around 2000.

He said it then occurred to him what an incredible retail site it would make. Loveland says it took a while, but he closed on the land in 2010, which he says wasn’t a great time to start attracting interest.

“I wish I could have made it go faster,” he said.

“In ’12 they started talking again,” he said of potential retail tenants.

Loveland said he’d been close to a big deal for an anchor tenant.

“I‘m not saying who it was,” he said. But he added that “Cabela’s beat ’em to the punch” when it announced it would open at Regency Lakes in Wichita.

Loveland said he’s now close on another possible anchor tenant, which he thinks he has an almost 90 percent chance of landing, along with another one that he thinks is a 50-50 chance.

“Those anchors have such an effect,” he said of attracting smaller tenants.

He expects to announce “something of significance” within a month.

“We’re really close. I wish I could tell you who they are.”

Loveland said attracting major retailers to that area is a battle similar to what Derby once faced.

“You had to beg people to come down to Derby, Kansas,” he said.

That, of course, changed in a big way with retailers such as Lowe’s, Target and Kohl’s opening there.

“That’s what I’m in hopes of here in Echo Hills,” Loveland said.

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Knolla’s Pizza Maize to open this fall

WICHITA — Several years after first considering a restaurant in Maize, pizza proprietors Dan and Ruth Knolla are opening a restaurant there.

“Over the last few years, it’s been built up quite a bit,” Dan Knolla says of the area. “There’s quite a bit … more traffic.”

Their Knolla’s Pizza Maize will open in late October or early November in the Hampton Lakes Retail Center at 4041 N. Maize Road.

The Knollas already have Knolla’s Pizza Cafe on West Central between Ridge Road and Tyler. Other relatives own other Knolla’s restaurants.

Several Knolla children now work for their parents’ business, and that’s the Knollas’ inspiration for a second restaurant.

Dan Knolla says he hopes to attract potential diners from the NewMarket Square and Lowe’s area closer to 21st and Maize Road.

“There’s so much that’s been built there in the last few years.”

Knolla’s will be on the south end of the 11,500-square-foot center, which Dan Knolla says has a tower on it.

“It’s a nice little design.”

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Absolute Natural Stones to move farther east on East Kellogg and expand

Nazir (left) and Ammar Jesri in the field on East Kellogg where they’re moving their Absolute Natural Stones.

WICHITA — A decade after opening Absolute Natural Stones, Ammar and Nazir Jesri are going to quit leasing and move their business to property they own.

“Finally,” Nazir Jesri says.

The business, along with sister company BidKansas.com, currently is on about two and a half acres they lease at 10909 E. Kellogg. The city is buying half the property for further Kellogg expansion.

The Jesris will keep prime Kellogg frontage by moving to more than 10 acres at 12225 E. Kellogg, which is just east of Lowe’s and next door to Public Storage.

In addition to more room, Ammar Jesri says the new property will allow more options.

“We can introduce more … businesses,” he says.

The Jesris have a master plan that they’re going to introduce in phases.

“We’re not going to be able to do it all at once,” Ammar Jesri says.

They hope to buy stone and other materials that aren’t completely processed so they can finish them themselves with cutting and light fabrication.

“We want to be able to produce it ourselves,” Ammar Jesri says.

“There’s opportunities for a lot of different things,” Nazir Jesri says.

That potentially includes granite countertops.

“It complements our business,” Nazir Jesri says. “Hopefully it is something we will be able to add.”

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Menards finalizes deal for Derby store

UPDATED — Menards, the Wisconsin-based home improvement chain, has finalized its deal for a store near the southwest corner of East Patriot Avenue and Buckner Street in Derby.

“It’s been a long time coming,” says Grant Glasgow of Grubb & Ellis/Martens Commercial Group.

Glasgow and colleague Jeff Englert represented North Derby Investments, which sold 46.13 acres to Menards.

Marty Gilchrist and Grant Tidemann of J.P. Weigand & Sons represented Menards

The deal, which was in the works for a couple of years, closed Sept. 28 for an undisclosed amount.

“We recently purchased 50.63 acres in Derby, KS and if everything goes as planned, we hope to build a new Menards store on this property some day,” Menards spokesman Jeff Abbott said through an e-mail. “We are still in the initial planning stages and no final decisions have been made just yet.”

The total number of acres includes a residential property Menards purchased as well.

Glasgow says he’s not sure when construction will start or when to expect the store to open.

“They weren’t able to share that with us yet.”

This makes the third Menards that will open in the greater Wichita area.

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American Bikes 4 You to move to Wichita

UPDATED — Andover-based American Bikes 4 You, which sells pre-owned Harley-Davidsons, is moving to Wichita and almost doubling its space.

“Right now we average just over 300 bikes a year that we sell,” says LoRisa Fouch. “We’re hoping to double that. We’ll be able to have more motorcycles.”

Fouch owns the business with her husband, Larry, who has sold pre-owned Harleys for more than 25 years.

The 6-year-old company is moving to 8,500 square feet at 12345 E. Kellogg, which is east of Lowe’s and Walmart where Suburban Equipment used to be.

Currently, the Fouches rent two buildings, which are about 2,300 square feet each, at 13916 U.S. 54.

LoRisa says in addition to getting more space, the move will allow them to own their building, which she says makes more sense.

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Academy Sports & Outdoors to open by Lowe’s near 29th and Maize Road

UPDATED — The east side has the new Cabela’s store at 21st and Greenwich, but the west side will have another sports and outdoor retail shop of its own.

Academy Sports & Outdoors finalized a deal Thursday to locate in more than 73,000 square feet just north of the Lowe’s near 29th and Maize Road.

That’s just under the 80,000 square feet Cabela’s has.

“We consider ourselves to be a sports, outdoors and lifestyle retailer,” says spokeswoman Elise Hasbrook.

It was summer 2010 when Have You Heard? first reported that the Texas-based chain was looking to possibly come to Wichita.

The store will have a range of hunting, fishing and camping equipment in addition to sports and leisure products, including footwear and apparel among other things.

Cabela’s is just one of Academy Sports & Outdoors’ competitors. Hasbrook says the store will compete with smaller retailers as well.

“What’s great about Academy is you can get all those (products) in one place.”

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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.’ ”

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Latest Freddy’s Frozen Custard & Steakburgers and Panera Bread to open in mid-February

WICHITA — Construction is coming along at the Freddy’s Frozen Custard & Steakburgers and Panera Bread at the southeast corner of Ridge Road and University (between Maple and Kellogg) across from Lowe’s.

“We’re skin tight,” says Randy Simon.

That’s what business partner Scott Redler told him Friday, which Simon understands to mean the frame is up along with a layer of insulation, among other developments.

“I’m not much of a construction guy as you can tell.”

Simon says the partners recently purchased another nearby house.

“When we got to looking at it, it just looked like we could stand a little extra parking — we hope. We hope the volume’s good enough that it will warrant it.”

Look for the restaurants to open in mid-February.