Mathematics men’s shop to open downtown

WICHITA — Some college students in their final year of school are simply trying to make it through. Wichita State University business marketing major Andy Kim, who graduates in May, is already opening a business.

“A lot of people don’t see the potential in your education until you use it,” he says. “It’s kind of nice to … actually be able to use what you’ve learned in the classroom, that you’ve spent all this time and money on.”

Kim and his brother, Minh Ho, are opening Mathematics, a men’s clothing shop, downtown next month.

“It’s a men’s streetwear boutique,” Kim says.

Think young, hip styles. Kim says there aren’t any streetwear shops here similar to what shoppers can find in big cities.

“A lot of people go online to shop,” he says of Wichitans looking for those styles.

Mathematics will be at 630 E. Douglas, which is a few doors down from the Old Mill Tasty Shop.

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Renfro apartments ready to debut

UPDATED — There will be more than art on display downtown for the Oct. 26 Final Friday.

Developers Robert Eyster and Michael Ramsey, in collaboration with Farha Construction, also are introducing their new Renfro apartments, including some gallery space in the first floor hallway of the historic building.

The property was built at 612 E. Douglas in 1908 and once was home to the Renfro hotel. Most recently, it was Victoria Park Apartments.

“It’s a building that needed a lot of love,” Ramsey says.

He applied for the building to be on the National Register of Historic Places and was able to use historic tax credits in renovating it.

“We love being part of giving a building another 100 years of life,” says contractor Ted Farha. “There’s something pretty special about that.

“When it comes to sustainability or green building, really, I don’t think there’s anything greener than taking an existing building and bringing it up to date.”

There are 20 units, including a few live-work units with metal spiral staircases between the work and living spaces. There also are two commercial spaces in the front of the building. Those spaces are still available. Four of the apartments, including one live-work space, are leased.

There are unique touches throughout the building, such as original ceiling tins in some apartments, a garage door in one back unit and glass brick where another garage door once was.

Ramsey says he, Eyster and Farha Construction incorporated a lot of what they learned from renovating the Zelman Lofts building just down the street.

“The things that worked we tried to keep,” he says.

That includes open areas and ambient light.

“People will put up with smaller living space if we give them lots of storage, lots of shared light, lots of open area … and we give them nice kitchens and nice bathrooms.”

They found substantial savings by having Farha build cabinets in each of the units instead of buying them.

There are further savings for renters with high efficiency heating and air and LED lighting.

“We employed all the current technology that’s available to make this building as green as possible without going through . . . all the LEED Certification stuff,” Farha says. “It’s really satisfying to be able to do that. To create great living spaces for people.”

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You don’t say

“I’ve almost cried. … It’s been very, very nice.”

Old Mill Tasty Shop owner Mary Wright on the sentimental community response to the restaurant’s 80th anniversary this week

You don’t say

“Who has Otto’s recipe? … I’ve never had anything like it.”

Old Mill Tasty Shop owner Mary Wright, who is on the hunt to find the recipe for Old Mill founder Otto Woermke’s famous chili to celebrate the restaurant’s 80th anniversary

You don’t say

“I thought, well, maybe I ought to get on it myself.”

Old Mill Tasty Shop owner Mary Wright, who initially waited to see what others on her block of Douglas Avenue were going to do for the first Intrust Bank Arena concert Saturday but decided to make a decision first and stay open until 7 p.m.

Gale Cowan is surprised — and relieved

WICHITA — So now that the surprise is out, we thought we’d check in with Old Mill Tasty Shop waitress Gale Cowan to see how her 25th anniversary celebration went today.

When she saw the window display at the downtown restaurant and the fuss over her inside, Cowan says, “I thought, am I going to die, and nobody told me about it?”

She wasn’t expecting a celebration because her actual 25th anniversary of working there came in August, but neither Cowan nor owner Mary Wright thought about it then.

In all her years there, Cowan says she never thought about working somewhere else.

“Not for a second,” she says. “It’s just fun here.”

Nor did she think about opening her own place.

“No, because when I walk out the door, I don’t have anything to think about.”

The secret to enjoying herself, Cowan says, is positive thinking.

If someone at the restaurant asks her to sweep the floor, her thought is, “I’m glad they didn’t ask me to mop it.”

Old Mill Tasty Shop to celebrate waitress Gale Cowan’s 25 years

galeWICHITA — Not everyone necessarily knows her by name, but if you’ve ever been in the Old Mill Tasty Shop, you’ve no doubt noticed the friendly, funny, always-smiling Gale Cowan.

The restaurant is surprising her today by celebrating her 25th anniversary of being a waitress there.

“It’ll be a thank you to her,” owner Mary Wright says.

She says Cowan has served generations of customers.

“She remembers everything about them,”  Wright says. “She’s definitely our little fixture here.”

You don’t say

“We call it the flu chaser.”

Mary Wright of the Old Mill Tasty Shop on her restaurant’s famous green chili, which this year is extra spicy

Mix It Up Frozen Yogurt & Deli to open downtown

WICHITA — Nationally, yogurt chains like Tutti Frutti and Pinkberry are growing in popularity.

Locally, Kim Huynh hopes her Mix It Up Frozen Yogurt & Deli will quickly grow to include several sites across Wichita.

The first will open in early September at 630 E. Douglas just down from Old Mill Tasty Shop.

“Right now we’re just fixing up the place,” says Huynh, a software tester for LSI.

Mix It Up will offer healthy varieties of yogurt and toppings, shaved ice and coffee.

“I’m trying to make this into a lounge area as well,” Huynh says.

She plans to stay open late to attract customers after clubs close.

There also will be a deli of sorts, “just in case they get hungry.”

Huynh will serve Vietnamese and American sandwiches, Asian wraps, Korean sushi and spring rolls.

The menu will be limited because there isn’t a full kitchen.

Next, Huynh plans to find an east-side location, and then one on the west side.

“We are hoping to expand here pretty soon.”

Ballroom comes to Old Town


Old Town already had Rhythm, but now it has a ballroom named in its honor.

Josiah Ryan (shown here with his dog Prix) is opening Old Town Ballroom Friday in the former Rhythm Ballroom space at 630 E. Douglas just down from Old Mill Tasty Shop.

“I just thought it would be a good opportunity to take it over and start my own business,” says Ryan, who rented space from the previous owner.

He changed the name to encompass all kinds of dancing.

“We’ll be teaching pretty much anything you’ve seen on ‘Dancing With the Stars,’ ” Ryan says.

That could be belly dancing, the Charleston or the Lindy Hop.

Ryan will give private lessons to groups and individuals seven days a week.