Bud Gates announces three new Easygates franchises nationally

WICHITA — Three new Easygates lease-to-own franchises have opened nationally this month.

Bud Gates, who is chairman and CEO of the company, announced the new Easyhome stores for Roanoke, Va., Aurora, Ill., and Essex, Md.

“The owners of these franchises are experienced and successful business men,” Gates said in a release. “We are pleased to
partner with them. They will bring their commitment to customer service and overall business savvy to their stores, and
be a major plus to our U.S. franchise community, offering our unique services to even more customers in Virginia, Illinois and Maryland.”

This makes 44 Easyhome stores nationally. Gates is the master franchisor for Easyhome in 36 states. He operates some of the stores and franchisees have others.

Gates started Easygates in 2007. Previously, he was chairman and CEO at Rent-A-Center and THORN Americas.

Aaron’s takes its rent-to-own business from Wichita but plans to return one day

WICHITA — Atlanta-based Aaron’s has closed its three rent-to-own stores in Wichita.

“We elected to exit the market,” COO Ken Butler says. “Now, that doesn’t mean that we won’t come back.”

Butler says about this time every year, the company analyzes what leases are ending and what stores might be underperforming. That’s what happened here.

“It just means it was kind of pulling some weeds.”

Butler doesn’t blame the market.

“Nine times out of 10, it’s never the market. It’s the management.”

The former Aaron’s space on Pawnee is going to become a Rent-A-Center store.

Butler says Aaron’s will “rethink a strategy and come back later.”

“We will definitely come back. There’s just no question.”

Bedtime Mattress Outlet to open at Harry and Rock

UPDATED — Craig Peterson acknowledges that there are already some good mattress stores in Wichita, but that’s not stopping him from opening Bedtime Mattress Outlet later this month.

“I believe that there’s a need for it here,” he says of a mattress store that sells quality mattresses at discount prices.

“I’m just the alternative to what’s out there right now.”

Competitors such as Mattress Hub are “good companies, and they are selling great beds . . . but they are on a higher-end scale.”

Mark Barrientos of Mattress Hub takes exception to that.

“We have mattresses that start at $59 and go all the way up,” he says.

Peterson is a former Rent-A-Center district manager who most recently has been operating two discount mattress stores in Oklahoma City.

He wanted “to be able to bring that back to my hometown.”

His first store is set to open by Jan. 27 at the northwest corner of Harry and Rock.

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