Ninza Sushi Bar to open at Northwest Centre at 13th and Tyler

WICHITA — Lots of college students work in restaurants while going to school, but Ada Yang is taking it one big step farther.

The Wichita State University economics student is opening Ninza Sushi Bar at the end of the month.

The restaurant will be next to National American University in Occidental Management’s Northwest Centre at 13th and Tyler.

Occidental chairman and CEO Gary Oborny handled the deal for the 60-seat restaurant.

This is Yang’s first restaurant, which she’s opening with boyfriend Seong Han. Han was a sushi chef and head chef in California for years.

“He has a lot of experience,” Yang says.

Han and Yang plan to serve Japanese and Korean food, including traditional sushi as well as other kinds. They’ll also have a full bar.

The word “ninja” is the inspiration for the Ninza name, substituting “z” for “j.”

“Just like Krispy Kreme, they change the ‘c’ to ‘k,’” Yang says.

Though Yang is still working on her degree, with opening a restaurant she’s decided to take this semester off.

“This semester I’m too busy.”

Michael Monteferrante named Envision CEO

WICHITA — The fixer is back.

Michael Monteferrante, the turnaround specialist who first came to Wichita in 2003 as CEO of Optima Bus, is returning as the new president and CEO of Envision.

“It’s a nonprofit, and we didn’t know if someone with as entrepreneurial spirit as Michael has would want to make the leap to the nonprofit world,” says Sam Williams, chairman of Envision’s board.

“This opportunity I’m looking at completely different than I have at previous opportunities of employment,” Monteferrante says. “I can’t be more excited than to take all the things I’ve learned over the years and apply it to a company that helps people.”

In addition to serving the blind and low-vision community through services and education, Envision is the second-largest employer of blind and low-vision people nationally. Envision Industries has a number of production and distribution divisions.

“I’ve always been extremely passionate about the mission of Envision,” Monteferrante says.

He still remembers his first tour of the Envision plant on Water Street years ago.

“I could not tell who was blind and who wasn’t, and I just said, ‘Wow. I want to be a part of this. This is one of the most inspirational plant tours I’ve had.’”

Monteferrante sees bigger things for Envision, though.

“While it has grown – it’s grown tremendously over the years – I believe that the boundaries of growth for the mission of Envision … are endless,” he says. “I’ve always felt that the mission at Envision could be more than a Wichita-based, Kansas-based situation.”

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Urban Oasis Yoga Studio to open in Delano

WICHITA — A new yoga studio is going in the former Siva Power Yoga space at 535 W. Douglas in Delano.

Lori Morton is opening Urban Oasis Yoga Studio in 2,326 square feet on Jan. 1.

“We’re doing our first class at four o’clock,” Morton says.

It’ll be free to introduce people to the studio.

Morton says she’s made a number of changes to the space, such as adding mirrors.

Stephanie Wiens and Shannon Palmer of Occidental Management handled the deal for the space.

In addition to the studio space, Morton says there will be a relaxation area with spa water, a boutique and “some different, fun things.”

She plans on offering a variety of yoga classes, such as hot yoga, a dance fusion class, yoga for beginners and praise and worship yoga classes during which she says she’ll take donations for World Impact.

Morton also will offer stand-up paddle yoga at the Wichita Swim Club in the winter and various lakes and other water in the summer.

“I’m just hoping that people will be able to find a class that serves them well.”

Sources: Occidental Management signs letter of intent to buy Union Station

WICHITA — After about five years of courtship with various suitors, it looks like Union Station finally may be engaged again.

Sources say Occidental Management has signed a letter of intent to buy the downtown property that Cox Communications owns and where it previously had its Kansas headquarters.

“We continue to have discussions with interested parties,” says Jay Allbaugh, Cox’s vice president of government and public affairs for the Cox Central Region.

Allbaugh won’t say anything further, and Occidental chairman and CEO Gary Oborny says he can’t comment on the situation.

Union Station and its 111,000-square-foot campus first went on the market in spring 2008, about a year after Cox left for bigger offices at 901 George Washington Blvd.

The list price for the former train station at 701 E. Douglas is $6.4 million.

Clay Center businessman Phil Frigon’s $5.5 million, 2009 deal to buy the campus to create a mixed-use development collapsed when he failed to reach an agreement for the city to lease parking from him for Intrust Bank Arena.

A mixed-use development that potentially would include retail, office and residential space and would help further revitalize downtown has been the top hope of potential uses for Union Station.

Oborny and Occidental have a history of converting older properties into new developments, most notably with the former Northrock 6 Theater at 32nd Street and North Rock Road. They converted the theater into an 80,000-square-foot, Class A office complex where Occidental now has its headquarters.

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Empower Martial Arts to open at Auburn Pointe at 135th and Maple

WICHITA — A new martial arts school is opening in Occidental Management’s Auburn Pointe development at 135th and Maple.

Chief Master Stephen Westbrook, an eighth-degree black belt, is opening Empower Martial Arts in early October.

He also has a school in Overland Park, as does Noeu Chan, who manages the schools.

“Our main base is teaching Songahm taekwondo,” Chan says.

That’s a traditional form. Chan says the goal is to teach attitude, discipline and confidence.

He says students “can go anywhere and learn punching and kicking.”

“Our school takes it one step further. We want to be leaders of today.”

There are 1,200 Empower Martial Arts schools nationally.

Matt Hahn, one of Chan’s students, will run the Wichita school.

“We want to offer a state-of-the-art training facility,” Chan says.

He says he likes Auburn Pointe for its visibility and cleanliness. Chan says he wants to get away from the image of a martial arts studio being in a less-than-desirable neighborhood.

Occidental president Gary Oborny handled the deal.

The school has classes for all ages, starting at age 3.

Chan says the Auburn Pointe site won’t be the only Empower Martial Arts in Wichita.

“We’re planning on opening a few more in the Wichita area.”

 

Premier Martial Arts to open in Derby

WICHITA — Mark Philbrick left his job at Law Kingdon Architecture a week ago, but not because he didn’t like it.

“Working for an architect was a good job, but it wasn’t my true calling.”

Martial arts is, so Philbrick is opening a school called Premier Martial Arts in Derby.

“I like the quote, ‘It’s never too late to be what you might have been,’” Philbrick says. “I’ve always been passionate about the martial arts.”

His passion began as a child.

“I was bullied in school,” Philbrick says. “I found a release in comic books and martial art movies.”

At age 11, he started doing martial arts.

“It really just helped me, I guess, develop myself more and build confidence.”

Now his own children are 11 and 8 and are inspiring his new career.

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Former d’Sozo chef Miguel Larcher to open Garden Grill Cafe at Occidental Plaza

WICHITA — Former d’Sozo chef Miguel Larcher is preparing to open his own restaurant.

Larcher plans Garden Grill Cafe for 1,675 square feet on the first floor of Occidental Plaza at 300 N. Main St. There also will be an outdoor patio.

“It will be all vegan,” Larcher says of his menu.

Larcher grew up in Martinique, where he attended culinary school at age 16. Eventually he attended another culinary school in Nice, France, before coming to the United States 20 years ago.

Initially, the Garden Grill will be open for lunch from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily except Saturdays, when it will be closed.

There also will be brunch on Sunday and dinner by reservation only on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.

Larcher hopes to open by late September or early October at the latest. A month after opening, he says he’ll add breakfasts to his daily servings.

He also plans a smoothie and juice bar.

Entrees will rotate each week, but Larcher says each day of the week will offer a different theme, such as Creole, Italian or French cuisine, among others.

Stephanie Wiens of Occidental Management and Jad Wolf and Shannon Palmer of KW Commercial Hometown Partners handled the deal for the space.

This leaves only one 2,400-square-foot vacancy within Occidental Plaza.

 

Material Girls Quilt Shoppe to expand

WICHITA — Material Girls Quilt Shoppe is expanding in the Travel Air Building at 535 W. Douglas in Delano.

The shop currently has 3,175 square feet. Co-owner Jo Degner says there’s a front door, which she says has a great wow factor, and a back door. That area doesn’t have as much of a wow, she says, because it’s now used to hold classes.

A new 700 square feet will allow the classes to move, which will free space by the back door. Degner says it will feature more beautiful fabric to sell.

“That’s what we like to do is buy fabric to sell,” she says.

Cherisse Taylor of Occidental Management, which owns the Travel Air Building, handled the deal.

Degner is looking forward to the addition because of what it means for the back door area.

“It’ll be just as inviting coming in the back as it is the front.”

 

Pennsylvania-based Benco Dental to open office at Travel Air Building in Delano

WICHITA — Benco Dental, the third-largest dental dealer in the nation, will be moving to Delano in April.

“We sell everything that a dentist uses in his office,” says Dennis Doyle, a territory representative for the Pennsylvania-based company.

Benco, which arrived in Wichita about seven months ago, is taking 2,600 square feet in Occidental Management’s Travel Air Building at 535 W. Douglas.

The company has been in temporary Occidental space at Northwest Centre at 13th and Tyler while the new space is prepared.

“We’re going to keep the space very open to … show the old architecture of the building,” Doyle says.

There are brick walls and exposed timbers in the ceiling.

“We wanted someplace that wasn’t kind of sterile or an industrial park area,” Doyle says. He says the company wanted “a more relaxed setting.”

“Plus, it’s very centrally located for us as well.”

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Computer Troubleshooters to open second office at Historic Occidental Plaza

WICHITA — Sarah and Alex Nivison are expanding their Computer Troubleshooters with a second, more centralized location.

The couple has been working out of its Rose Hill home since getting the franchise a year ago.

Now, they’re opening a second site in the Historic Occidental Plaza at 300 N. Main in downtown Wichita.

“We love the beauty of the building, we love the location (and) the office space was a great fit because we have literally no work to do,” Sarah Nivison says. “It was set up exactly as we needed it.”

She says 90 percent of their business is at customers’ offices, which is why they want a centralized location in addition to their Rose Hill office.

“We want to be able to get to them as quick as we can,” Nivison says.

Computer Troubleshooters, an Atlanta-based franchise, caters to small businesses and individuals.

“Basically, we like to call ourselves the IT department for small businesses,” Nivison says.

They offer help with technology issues, problem prevention and website development. The company also offers managed service plans.

Stephanie Wiens of Occidental Management handled the deal for the new space.

Nivison says the office will open March 1.

“We’re going to take it to the next level downtown,” she says. “We see that there’s a lot of opportunity in downtown Wichita.”