Ambassador Hotel’s restaurant offers a front seat to . . . Wichita’s sidewalks?

WICHITA — There’s a description on the Ambassador Hotel’s website touting the view at its new restaurant.

Siena Tuscan Steakhouse Restaurant offers a signature dining experience in a vibrant atmosphere overlooking the sidewalks of Wichita.”

The sidewalks of Wichita? That’s the view?

Though it sounds kind of funny to describe it that way, Bruce Rowley says it makes perfect sense.

Rowley, whose Rowley Snyder Ablah handles marketing for the hotel, recently dined there.

“Come on,” he says. “The two people I just met walked here. How often does that happen?”

There’s also a lot happening around the hotel in what’s become known as Block 1, where the former Henry’s building is under development and the new Kansas Leadership Center and the Kansas Health Foundation Conference Center are under construction.

So while the sidewalk description may inspire a few chuckles, Rowley says, “I refuse to make fun of it.”

Jeff Ablah leaves Rowley Snyder Ablah

Ablah

WICHITA — As its second anniversary approaches, Rowley Snyder Ablah will celebrate without one of its founding principals.

Jeff Ablah has returned to his father George Ablah’s real estate firm, Ablah Enterprises.

“They asked him if he wanted to come back over there and help them with the huge volume of projects,” Bruce Rowley says.

He says the departure doesn’t mean the relationship — personally or professionally — didn’t work with Ablah.

“You know, it worked great,” Rowley says. “Jeff’s walking out on a high note.”

Ablah is selling his stake in the agency, but he says he’ll still support it.

“I’m going to continue to be an ambassador and a consultant.”

Rowley says the agency “had a stellar first year.”

“The first year was crazy wild,” he says. “The second year, certainly, we’ve had some turnover of staff. … People who couldn’t or didn’t feel like keeping up. … It certainly is a high-turnover business anyway.”

Rowley says the agency, which has 15 employees including the principals, is doing well, though.

“We’ve had actually great growth in our second year. A lot of that has been attributed to Jeff. The partnership, having three (principals), has been phenomenal.”

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You don’t say

“The good is you get to do something different every day. … The bad is you’re not ultimately in charge of what gets picked. … And the ugly is as soon as you’re done with it (it’s) like so yesterday.”

Rowley Snyder Ablah’s Bruce Rowley, who has written a foreword about the good, the bad and the ugly of advertising for the latest edition of Vault Career Guide

Rowley Snyder Ablah buys former Big Dog Motorcycle building it’s occupied for a year

Part of the upgrades to Rowley Snyder Ablah's newly purchased building include glass blocks in an area that used to have a nonworking door.

WICHITA — When the new Rowley Snyder Ablah ad agency signed a lease for former Big Dog Motorcycle space at 145 N. Hydraulic in the spring of 2011, CEO Bruce Rowley said, “You know there’s something happening down here. This is kind of a vibrant little area with lots of cool stuff going on.”

He and his partners like it so much, they’ve now bought the building from Sheldon Coleman Jr.

“We love the size of it,” Rowley says. “We love the flexibility of it.”

Most of the 3,000 square feet is an open area that Rowley says allows for easy reconfiguration of space depending on what a project might need.

“That was a huge part,” he says. “We’ve already moved ourselves probably four or five times in the year we’ve been in it.”

The agency is making a few upgrades at the building, such as getting rid of a nonworking door that Rowley says “made it sort of look like an abandoned building from the street.”

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You don’t say

“I do go drive over and visit it.”

Bruce Rowley of Rowley Snyder Ablah, talking about his new LED billboard on the northeast corner of Kellogg and Rock, which means he now owns an advertising outlet in addition to an ad agency

Jay Ablah to open first Coffee Bug, a potential franchise, on North Rock Road

WICHITA — Anyone with a coffee addiction understands the all-consuming desire for the drink, and now Jay Ablah hopes to capitalize on that with a new business called the Coffee Bug.

“The coffee bug is that itch, that urge you’ve got for that cup of coffee,” he says.

His first Coffee Bug will be in front of his and his father George Ablah’s office at 3101 N. Rock Road.

That’s between Jimmie’s Diner and where the new Popeyes Chicken & Biscuits is opening in the former Taco Tico space.

“It’s somewhere between a Starbucks and a Scooter’s,” Ablah says of the concept.

He’s been conducting focus groups to see what people might want.

This Coffee Bug will be similar to Scooter’s in that it mainly will be a drive-through, though it will have a few outdoor seats.

Ablah already is working on a second east-side site, which is even further east, and that Coffee Bug will have indoor seating.

The concept will include some food items, which Ablah says a team is still working on, along with coffee, lattes, espresso and smoothies.

“We’re working hard to come up with some designer coffees that aren’t … as sharp tasting,” he says.

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You don’t say

“I think Coleman has realized how much I spend each year at their truckload sale!”

– An e-mail from Bruce Rowley of Rowley Snyder Ablah on how Coleman’s annual sale was across from his east-side office last year, and now that he’s moved near the former Big Dog Motorcycles space on East Douglas, so has the sale (which starts Thursday)

Atomic Enterprises building its first billboard

WICHITA — Before Mike Snyder officially joined the Rowley Snyder Ablah advertising agency in February, he started another company, Atomic Enterprises, in November.

Now, Atomic is showing its first physical signs of activity.

The billboard management and sales company is building its first billboard.

The digital board is under construction on Washington between Lewis and Waterman.

Atomic will help independent billboard owners manage and operate their billboards, says managing member Brandon Shuey.

He says he and Snyder hope to have six to 10 billboards by end of the year.

“We’re using new techniques that will bring in far more advertisers than they had in the past,” Shuey says.

They hope to help clients convert their static billboards to digital in order to attract new advertisers looking for increased placement options.

“We’re flipping that on its head,” Shuey says.

They plan to find new digital sites here and outside of Wichita as well.

Shuey says to look for more news from the company soon.

Rowley Snyder Ablah moves agency office downtown

WICHITA — Despite extensive east-side searches for a new office, Rowley Snyder Ablah has moved downtown to former Big Dog Motorcycle space at 145 N. Hydraulic.

“I’ve got to tell you, we’ve looked at almost everything on the east side,” Bruce Rowley says.

When he opened the agency late last year, it temporarily was located in the Terra-Cotta Tower at 29th North and Rock Road. Rowley liked the amenities on the east side.

“I finally got dragged by my leasing agent down to this building that he wanted to show me,” Rowley says of Classic Real Estate’s Craig Ablah, who is agency partner Jeff Ablah’s cousin.

Rowley likes the openness of the 3,000-square-foot space, but he particularly likes the area around the building.

“You know there’s something happening down here,” he says. “This is kind of a vibrant little area with lots of cool stuff going on.”

He’s impressed with what Chris Ruffin has done with the nearby Sunburst Plaza at 1725 on East Douglas, which is where Tanya’s Soup Kitchen will soon reopen.

Tanya’s and the Donut Whole across the street helped seal the deal.

Rowley says his office has already done taste tests to determine favorite doughnuts.

“I thought that maple bacon was going to be winning, but Neapolitan appears to be quite a hit, and the one with Fruity Pebbles on it.”

Rowley says he knows his 12-person agency isn’t going to have a huge impact on the area, but he hopes his “little, tiny presence” adds to the movement there.