You don’t say

“Of course you can. This is your building.”

Lou Heldman’s response when Tom Devlin asked if he could make a couple of statements before the start of a WSU entrepreneurship forum at Devlin Hall Tuesday

Scholfield Auto Plaza to become Wichita Luxury Collection, A Member of the Scholfield Automotive Group, and move to 13th and Greenwich

UPDATED — More than four years after first discussing a possible move, Scholfield Auto Plaza is preparing to break ground on a new luxury auto dealership near the northwest corner of 13th and Greenwich.

President and managing partner Bobby Cuillo says the new showrooms within the newly named Wichita Luxury Collection, A Member of the Scholfield Automotive Group are going on 17 acres behind Home Bank & Trust.

“They’re not going to be over-the-top or ostentatious, but there will be a tremendous amount of thoughtful touches,” Cuillo says. “No detail will be left out.”

Currently, the Lexus dealership is in 16,000 square feet at 11220 E. Kellogg. Next door, Mercedes-Benz, Acura, Porsche and Jaguar share a 30,000-square-foot showroom at 11212 E. Kellogg.

“We’ve outgrown these facilities,” Cuillo says.

The new Lexus showroom will be 26,000 square feet.

Mercedes-Benz is now going to have its own 26,000-square-foot showroom, which will be built at the same time as the Lexus showroom.

“You can see the growth that they’ve projected,” Cuillo says of Mercedes-Benz.

Within two to four years, two other new buildings will be built next to the Lexus and Mercedes-Benz showrooms. Acura most likely will have its own space, and Jaguar and Porshe will share a space.

“From an interruption standpoint … it’s easier to bite off a little at a time,” Cuillo says.

“It just makes better sense.”

Cuillo says construction may start in August, but it could be a little later. “Certainly before the year is out.”

The new showrooms will be across the intersection from Scholfield Buick GMC, which is going on the southwest corner.

At the new showrooms, there will be Starbucks outlets similar to the ones found in Dillons and Target stores.

In the Lexus dealership, there will be a putting green and a multiuse room for cooking demonstrations and salon and spa treatments. Cuillo says he’ll establish partnerships with vendors who can offer his customers diversions while they wait for their cars to be serviced. He does some of that now, but Cuillo says, “This will be on a much grander scale.”

In both dealerships, there will be glass walls at the service areas so customers can watch their cars getting serviced.

Cuillo says building separate showrooms “obviously puts the focus on one brand.”

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Darryl Starbird is selling his auto show

WICHITA — Darryl Starbird’s more than half-century old car show is getting new owners.

Five partners, including businessman Tom Devlin, are purchasing the show and are holding a news conference Wednesday to announce changes for the new Starbird-Devlin Rod & Customs Charities Car Show.

The new owners are doing business as Cars for Charities Co. and on Wednesday will announce charities that will receive proceeds from future shows.

Starbird, who is close to 80, will have some announcements of his own at the afternoon news conference, which is at Devlin Rod & Customs.

The first show of the newly named Starbird-Devlin Rod & Customs Charities Car Show is scheduled for Jan. 20-22 at Century II.

Costco would like to be in Wichita once there’s a distribution center nearby

WICHITA — There’s good news and bad news when it comes to Costco and its prospects for coming to Wichita.

The good news is that businessman and developer Tom Devlin wants to help bring the discount chain here.

He contacted a friend of his who has developed more than 50 Costcos.

The friend contacted Costco.

Costco said it wants to be in Wichita.

Here’s where the bad news comes in, though.

The retailer apparently can’t come yet because there’s not a distribution center close enough to support stores here.

Devlin was ready to help with that, too.

“I was willing to do anything because I think Costco is a terrific retail company, and they’d be terrific for Wichita,”  he says. “They’re great merchandisers, and they know they’ll do well in Wichita when they get here.”

Devlin has been told Costco believes Wichita could support two of its stores — just like competitor Sam’s Club has a store on either side of town.

Devlin suggested about four sites for the chain to consider.

“I wasn’t even trying to sell anything I owned,” he says. “I was just trying to get Costco to Wichita. I didn’t care where they went.”

If he were to take a gamble, Devlin says he’d bet Costco will be here no later than five years from now, but most likely within three.

“So, we’ll have to be patient,” he says.

“I tried.”

You don’t say

“I don’t know how in the hell they can roast me. I’m too wonderful.”

— Businessman George “Little Georgie” Ablah, whose good friends Charles Koch, Tom Devlin and Lindy Andeel will roast him Friday to benefit the American Diabetes Association

You don’t say

“I’m a bakery freak.”

– Businessman Tom Devlin, who calls Cindy Meinecke’s new Brick Street Bake Shoppe at 507 State St. in Augusta the best new bakery in the last 20 years

Connie’s Cookies to go international with a new company

WICHITA — For years, Connie Hamilton dreamed of doing something big with her Connie’s Cookies.

She moved her business to Sweetbriar at 21st and Amidon. She doubled her space there. And she entered into a licensed agreement for two women to open a Connie’s Cookie’s in Kansas City, Kan.

But she still wanted bigger.

With customers like Tom Devlin and Gayla Carney, Hamilton has always known “I have resources I probably could have called upon.”

“I just never felt confident enough to do that.”

Instead, Arthur Kerr, chief executive of Kerr Enterprises in New York, came to her. And with his help Hamilton took what she calls a “big and scary” move to form Connie’s Cookies International and take sales worldwide.

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