Royalty Barber & Beauty Shop to open at Oxford Square in July

WICHITA — After years of working for others, Paris and Mark Walker are opening their own business.

Their Royalty Barber & Beauty Shop will open next month in Oxford Square at 21st and Woodlawn.

Paris Walker says “just the independence” of having their own place appealed to them.

“That motivated us,” she says.

She’s a cosmetologist, and Mark Walker is a barber. The shop will employ at least two other stylists and two other barbers as well.

Paris Walker says where she works now is not particularly kid friendly.

“I’m a very family oriented person,” she says.

She says she’ll welcome children of employees at the shop.

Don Piros of Landmark Commercial Real Estate handled the deal.

Walker says she and her husband like the traffic in the area and that it’s close to dining and a beauty supply store. She also thinks there’s a lot of people near there who can benefit from the shop’s services.

“It was just a really good area as far as the neighborhood.”

Loony Bin closes deal for downtown space

UPDATED — As expected, the owners of the Loony Bin closed a deal this week to buy the 13,000-square-foot building between First and Second streets on St. Francis across from the urban park on the southeast corner of Second and St. Francis.

“We hope to get open probably early fall, September or October at the latest, I would say,” says partner Jeff Jones.

The Loony Bin had been at 21st and Woodlawn in Oxford Square from 1999 until it closed in late March.

The new space is two buildings — one a single story and one that’s two stories — that are attached.

The 3,400-square-foot single-story space is where the comedy club will be. It will hold about 150, which is down from the 299 that the previous space held.

“Although that was pretty optimistic,” Jones says.

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Loony Bin likely to open this fall on St. Francis in greater Old Town area

UPDATED — The Loony Bin, which closed in late March, could reopen in the Old Town area by fall.

“We have a contract out on a building on St. Francis downtown,” says co-owner Larry Marks.

“That part’s real encouraging.”

In September, Have You Heard? reported that the club was looking to leave Oxford Square at the northwest corner of 21st and Woodlawn.

Marks, who lives in Oklahoma City, and co-owner Jeff Jones, who lives in Little Rock, still have a few things to iron out before the downtown deal is done.

“It’s just a matter of completing the financing process, which probably isn’t going to be no problem,” Marks says. “In today’s economy, you never know.”

The 13,000-square-foot building is between First and Second streets on St. Francis across from the urban park on the southeast corner of Second and St. Francis.

The Loony Bin had been in Oxford Square since 1999.

“That club was very special to us,” Marks says.

He and Jones also own Loony Bins in their hometowns and Tulsa, but Wichita was the best-performing one for a long time.

“That was the premier club for a good nine, 10 years,” Marks says.

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Liberty Tax Service to open at Oxford Square at 21st and Woodlawn

WICHITA — Liberty Tax Service franchisees Darrell and Kathie Phipps are opening a new location in time for tax season.

The new site will be at Oxford Square, which is at the northwest corner of 21st and Woodlawn.

Darrell Phipps says they already have locations in Newton and at Central and Hillside in Wichita. They closed a Valley Center office at the end of last tax season.

“It just wasn’t performing … to our expectations,” he says. “We’re moving everything basically from that store into this location.”

Don Piros of Landmark Commercial Real Estate handled the deal.

Phipps says when he started the business six tax seasons ago, his goal was to have three or four locations. He says there’s a chance he could open more.

“It’s always a possibility.”

Loony Bin owners look to buy new space

WICHITA — Loony Bin owners Jeffrey Jones and Larry Marks are looking for a new site for their Wichita comedy club.

The club has been in Oxford Square at 21st and Woodlawn since it opened in 1999.

“When we opened in ’99, that was kind of a happening part of town,” Jones says.

He says growth is now much further east in addition to west.

“There was nothing going on out west when we opened.”

Now, Jones would like to split the difference.

“We’d just kind of like to be in a little more central location.”

A couple of weeks ago, Jones and Marks bid on property near Old Town but weren’t able to get it. Currently, they lease space, but now they’d like to own their own building.

“The difficulty is finding a location that has enough parking,” Jones says.

Parking combined with the high cost of property in Old Town, he says, “is just a real challenge.”

Jones and Marks also own clubs in Little Rock, Tulsa and Oklahoma City.

The Oxford Square lease is up in January. Jones says if he hasn’t found new space before then, he’ll try to get an extension where he is, but only for less rent.

If that doesn’t work, there’s a possibility the Loony Bin will temporarily close.

“Obviously,” Jones says, “we hope to find something.”

Empire Barber Salon to move to Oxford Square near 21st and Woodlawn

WICHITA — Tyron Bowen is returning to Oxford Square near 21st and Woodlawn to do hair, but this time he’ll own the barber shop and salon instead of working for someone else.

Bowen is moving his Empire Barber Salon from 13th and Pershing to where Tangles Unlimited once was near the northwest corner of 21st and Woodlawn.

“I know the potential of it,” he says of the space, where he’s knocking down walls to open it up.

He already has five people, including himself, on staff, and he has four more who will be joining. The shop will offer barber and salon services.

Bowen has been working professionally for a dozen years, but he’s been cutting hair since he was 9 out of necessity.

“I got tired of my mom letting our uncle cut our hair bald,” he says. “I had her get me some clippers for Christmas.”

He started by cutting hair for family members. Eventually, he went to barber school.

Bowen’s former shop at 13th and Pershing has been closed for three weeks, so he’s hoping to have his new site open as soon as possible.

Don Piros of Landmark Commercial Real Estate handled the deal.

Lava Hookah Lounge to open at 21st and Woodlawn

WICHITA — There’s a new hookah lounge coming to Oxford Square on the northwest corner of 21st and Woodlawn.

Muhammad Akram will open Lava Hookah Lounge within a month or so.

Don Piros of Landmark Commercial Real Estate and Mahbub Khan of Realty Executives handled the lease.

The almost 3,000-square-foot lounge will have music, TV, WiFi and possibly some snacks at some point, but no alcohol.

Akram calls it “a nice place to smoke and socialize with no fear of a DUI.”

Jan and Mon Wong are back with Dragon Express

WICHITA — Jan and Mon Wong are returning to Oxford Square with a new restaurant.

From 1988 to 2005, the Wongs had Golden Dragon at the shopping center at 6100 E. 21st near Woodlawn.

They sold the restaurant to people who then closed it a couple of years later.

Now, the Wongs are opening Dragon Express in the space next to their old restaurant.

Tony Utter of Utter Commercial Real Estate handled the deal.

Dragon Express opens Thursday with carry-out service and seating for about 20.