When Don’s TV & Video closes, Wichita will lose a popular sign

donsignWICHITA — Lots of people who have been customers at Don’s TV & Video over the past almost seven decades have expressed disappointment since learning the store will close.

Some people who have never been in the store are sad to see it close, too, because they like the store’s ever-changing sign out front that has featured jokes, witticisms and truisms for passers-by.

The Eagle did a story about the sign and it’s “folksy, philosophical tone” in 1997.

Sayings have included, “Those who stare at the past have their backs turned to the future” and “Happiness is not a station you arrive at but a manner of traveling” and “Lottery – a tax on people who don’t understand statistics.”

At the time, co-owner Ron Zerbe said the sign was so popular that customers sometimes stopped in with suggestions for it.

Lately, co-owner Steve Eilert says they’ve not been great about changing it.

“We did start slacking off,” he says.

Currently, the sign says, “A hometown business proud to serve a great hometown since 1946,” and that’s probably what will remain until the business closes in the next month or two.

“It’s probably appropriate for the moment,” Eilert says.

He says he and Zerbe have been hearing nice comments from a lot of customers and friends, even from some who were customers years and years ago.

“It’s a little bit like being awake at your own funeral, probably,” Eilert says. “As they file past, you just say goodbye.”

He says it’s too bad it doesn’t work that way in real life.

“That would be nice, wouldn’t it?”

You don’t say

“We would hope that they’ve got the message and we don’t show up in the show.”

– Haysville Mayor Bruce Armstrong, who led the charge for residents who feel bullied by Gridiron, which starts Thursday

“As much as Gridiron would love to stop being bullied by Haysville, the reports I’m getting from rehearsal sound like we were not able to keep them out of the script this year.”

Denise Neil, a features writer for The Eagle who also is producing the journalists’ show that spoofs local news

PR News takes ‘cheap shot’ at the Shockers

scoreUPDATED — In a bid for more subscribers through a national e-mail blast on Wednesday, PR News touted its “expert opinions” on communications and crisis management, among other things, through what a Wichita State University spokesman calls a “cheap shot” at the Shockers.

The PR group now needs a little crisis management help of its own.

The e-mail, which was about how to “score big” in the business, has a subject line that says “Don’t be like Wichita State.”

“Really, that’s the approach you’re going to take to generate business?” asks WSU spokesman Joe Kleinsasser. “It’s just a marketing attempt gone awry. Is it the end of the world? No. But it’s unfortunate.”

His day began with a couple of e-mails from his counterparts at Wake Forest University and Princeton University alerting him to the slam against the school and its beloved Shockers.

“And, yes, I am unsubscribing from their distribution list,” one said after saying how much the slam annoyed him.

It’s a sentiment others locally and nationally are echoing.

“We think this approach is mean-spirited and beneath contempt,” wrote Barth Hague, WSU’s associate vice president for university relations and chief marketing officer, in an e-mail to PR News about playing on the Shockers’ “heartbreaking loss.”

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A 1,500-square-foot Scooter’s is second tenant for Union Station

WICHITA — Occidental Management now has its second tenant in its new development at Union Station, which it is planning to transform into a multi-use destination in the heart of the city.

“We’re going to be putting in a Scooter’s coffee cafe,” says Occidental president Chad Stafford, who handled the deal with chairman and CEO Gary Oborny.

Wichita businessman Tad Fugate will open the Scooter’s in 1,500 square feet on the east end of what was the Grand Hotel immediately to the west of The Wichita Eagle. The businesses are across from the entrance to Old Town.

“So they’ll have great presence along Douglas,” Stafford says.

“To have them in this with their coffee brand is pretty exciting,” he says of Fugate and his company.

This won’t be a typical Scooter’s kiosk.

“This is a little bit different for them in that they’re getting into a little cafe style.”

There are similar Scooter’s cafes on the Plaza in Kansas City and in Overland Park.

There will be a drive-through at the cafe.

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You don’t say

“I don’t know why we have so much crime. All they have to do is pick up the paper and see what’s going to happen to them.”

– Wichita resident Joan Neugent on the “pretty stupid people” who she thinks must not be reading crime stories in The Wichita Eagle

IFurn.com CEO says company going out of business due to Internet competition

WICHITA — IFurn.com, a company that CEO Tracy Norris last year said was poised for growth, is going out of business.

“iFurn has proudly served customers across the nation for 17 years and delivered quality home and office furniture right to your door,” Norris wrote in an e-mailed response to Have You Heard?

In that e-mail and in one he sent to customers on Feb. 27, Norris wrote:

“Regrettably, iFurn.com, Inc. has been forced to cease day-to-day business activity. This has been caused by deteriorating sales activity and increased competition within the internet.”

Norris started iFurn.com in 1998 to sell home and office furniture. Last year, he told The Eagle the company had sales of more than $12.5 million in 2012.

Norris also reported sales of about $2.5 million for his other main company, PainReliever.com, which sells a variety of medical products to consumers and businesses.

It’s not clear if or how that company may be affected by iFurn’s struggles.

A former chiropractor, Norris sold his practice and began devoting his work full time to Internet companies in 2007.

Both of Norris’ companies have been named to Inc’s 5,000 fastest-growing companies list: iFurn.com in 2008 and Pain Reliever in 2010.

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You don’t say

Wichita State’s #31, Ron Baker, scores career-high 31 points as Shockers go 31-0 on 3-1.”

Angie Elliott of the Wichita Metro Chamber of Commerce, sharing with colleagues what headline she dreams of seeing in The Wichita Eagle on Sunday

The almost 100-year-old Brick’s to close at Bradley Fair

UPDATED — A Wichita shopping tradition is coming to an end.

Brick’s, once a downtown staple and more recently a shop at Bradley Fair, is going out of business.

“It is a store that’s been around Wichita for a long, long time,” says Cathy Erickson, vice president of Laham Development.

Herman Brick started the store in 1916. His son, Adolph, took over the business upon his father’s death in 1940. Two years later, Adolph Brick married Ellen Gordon. She asked her brother, Russ Gordon, to help with the business in 1944. Gordon took it over in 1960, and his namesake son owns it today.

“They’ve been a great addition at Bradley Fair for almost 10 years, adding to the local flavor,” Erickson says.

Now, she says, “They want to focus on family and some other things.”

A 1992 story in The Wichita Eagle said the men’s and women’s clothing store was the last major retailer to leave downtown. It once stood where Century II is now. The store was at Piccadilly Square at Central and Rock Road before moving to Bradley Fair.

Erickson says she’s not sure of a closing date yet.

She says the store will leave 4,200 square feet when it departs.

“We always have a list of people that want to be (at Bradley Fair), and we have already started conversations with those people,” she says.

Today, though, is about saying goodbye, Erickson says.

“We wish them well, and they’ll be missed. It’s a sad day.”

You don’t say: Our favorites from 2013

Some were newsy, some were shocking, but most were simply fun or funny. Here are some of our favorite “You don’t say” quotes from 2013.

- – -

“I said, ‘You must know a lot of angry people.’ (They) said, ‘I work at Spirit.’”

Best of Times owner Nancy Robinson on a person who bought 10 Dammit Dolls, the soft dolls angry people can safely slam on any surface to blow off steam on bad days

- – -

“My first place that I am not going to get married at is the Grand Chapel.”

– Sedgwick County Chairman Jim Skelton, whose upcoming marriage to Stacy Luke won’t take place at the facility he sued over his daughter’s wedding

“That’s correct, he’s not.”

– Grand Chapel owner Dennis Wilkie, who says Skelton is “a troublemaker, and I just don’t want to deal with troublemakers.”

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“Women pilots don’t land at the wrong airport. We ask for directions!”

– A tweet from Seattle-based pilot Karlene Petitt (‏@KarlenePetitt) about the Dreamlifter incident at Colonel James Jabara Airport

- – -

“Be aware, Boeing, ‘this route has tolls.’ Bring some change.”

– An NPR story that acknowledged a stranded Dreamlifter likely couldn’t be towed from Colonel James Jabara Airport to McConnell Air Force Base but offered a Google map and driving directions anyway

- – -

“I thought I’d get in line right behind him.”

– Outgoing Chamber chairwoman Debbie Gann, who “about choked” at the group’s annual dinner Tuesday when possible mayoral candidate Jeff Turner suggested she would make a great mayor

- – -

“I’m going to drop off a baked bean can and a string tomorrow … so we can chat later in the day.”

Freddy’s Frozen Custard & Steakburgers co-owner Scott Redler teasing City Council member Pete Meitzner about his antiquated BlackBerry

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“With all the crying and whining in Washington, I’m feeling ready to be a new father come November.”

– Expectant father U.S. Rep. Kevin Yoder speaking Friday at the 2013 Congressional Summit at the Hotel at Old Town

- – -

“We know you’re a Democrat.”

– Park City administrator Jack Whitson, teasing the city’s chamber president, registered Republican Dean Frankenbery, about a misprint that said Rep. Mike Pompom, not Pompeo, would be the group’s next speaker

- – -

“I know you are all wondering if that beautiful new red car parked over there is a door prize. It’s not. It’s the speaker’s gift.”

Delta Dental of Kansas vice president of human resources Kara Hunt, speaking at the Chamber’s Sunrise Scrambler about a car that Davis-Moore had at the event

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“I thought that Davis-Moore . . . has been hurting so bad that they needed a sale, so I thought I’d help them out.”

– Car dealer Brandon Steven, joking about why he bought a Viper at his competitor’s dealership

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“I think it’s awesome that he bought himself a nice car.”

– Davis-Moore’s Dawson Grimsley, retorting with a teasing implication that Steven couldn’t find a nice car at his own lot

- – -

“The @WichitaOrpheum could use a little Jesus after @RealTracyMorgan’s performance there. #itwaspurefilth”

— A tweet from comedian Ron Shively, aka @FunnyMrBiggs, after hearing City Life Church is going to rent the Orpheum Theatre every Sunday morning for services

- – -

“Puppies and people all over town are sad today.”

—Accountant David Jabara on the death of Doggy Day Care owner Marilyn Walk

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You don’t say

“That’s for sure a venial sin, and it might possibly elevate to a mortal sin depending on how many figs he tossed.”

Koch Industries spokeswoman Melissa Cohlmia on someone who threw away figs from a shoot of her family’s prized fig tree, which was recently profiled in The Eagle