Bruce Haase named Value Place CEO

bruceWICHITA — There’s a new CEO at Value Place, and founder Jack DeBoer calls him “a superstar.”

Bruce Haase spent a dozen years with Choice Hotels International, one of the world’s largest franchise organizations with brands such as Comfort Inn, Sleep Inn and Clarion.

“I think Value Place quite honestly is the best opportunity in hospitality right now,” Haase says.

He says it’s “a very uniquely positioned brand” with “tremendous growth opportunities.”

Haase started with Choice Hotels as treasurer and six months later was given the international division.

“It was actually quite troubled at that point.”

He says he spent a lot of time overseas making the division stronger.

“That’s really where I learned franchising,” Haase says.

He says during that time, he became more of a generalist instead of focusing strictly on numbers.

“It was quite a fascinating journey.”

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Value Place to expand with a couple of dozen more employees

WICHITA — As the number of Value Place properties continue to grow, so does the need for more employees at the company’s corporate headquarters on East 21st Street between Rock and Webb roads.

“We’re definitely … hiring a lot of people,” says president and COO Kyle Rogg.

The company opened a property in Jacksonville, Fla., this week and has three more under construction.

“Franchisees are building as well,” Rogg says.

He says Value Place’s properties, a number of which are under renovation, are performing solidly.

“We’re pretty much on plan with where we expected to be,” he says.

“It just takes more people to continue to grow.”

The Wichita office has about 65 employees, not counting the ones at the company’s three properties here.

Rogg says the company likely will add about 25 employees this year.

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Dan Weber is out as Value Place CEO

WICHITA — Two and a half years after taking over at Value Place, Dan Weber is out as CEO.

“It really was Dan coming to the conclusion of the things he set out to do,” says Kyle Rogg, president and COO.

“He really came in with a lot of structured finance background with the goal of getting a lot of capital in the company and completing some big acquisitions,” Rogg says.

He says Weber and Value Place’s board decided it was time to move to “less of a financial-based CEO and more of a hotel-oriented CEO.”

“It was a joint decision,” Rogg says. He says Weber has “had such a dramatic and positive impact on the standing of the company. I just don’t want it to be perceived as anything other than that.”

Rogg says Weber negotiated the acquisition of Perry Capital minority interest in Value Place, which positioned the company to attract capital from a new partner.

That happened late last year when Value Place founder Jack DeBoer did a deal with New York-based private equity firm Lindsay Goldberg, which is investing more than $100 million in the chain of extended-stay properties and short-term apartments.

“Dan was very, very instrumental … given his background,” Rogg says.

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Private equity firm invests $100 million in Jack DeBoer’s Value Place

UPDATED — How hard is it to get a $100 million investment in a company?

If you’re Jack DeBoer, apparently not that hard. At least it wasn’t in a recent deal with New York-based private equity firm Lindsay Goldberg LLC, which is going to invest $100 million in DeBoer’s Value Place chain of extended-stay properties and short-term apartments.

“It was sort of a …hit the bull’s-eye on the first shot,” says Value Place president and COO Kyle Rogg. “Jack knew somebody who knew somebody who knew somebody, and it worked out from the very first meeting.”

Extensive due diligence “became a contract, became a hundred million.”

“It was relatively fast and extraordinarily cordial,” Rogg says. “It was a little bit of love at first sight. … They like Jack’s vision and like the team.”

The infusion from Lindsay Goldberg, which manages $10 billion in total capital, will allow Value Place to expand more quickly than it otherwise would have.

“It’s going to allow us to do, really, three main things,” Rogg says.

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You don’t say

“We’re not out of business. I can tell you that right now.”

Steve Lindsey, property manager at the west Wichita Value Place, who fielded a reporter’s calls when the chain’s Wichita corporate phones were temporarily down Friday afternoon

Huddle House franchise coming to Kansas

huddlehouseWICHITA — The almost 50-year-old Huddle House chain of 24-hour restaurants is coming to Kansas for the first time.

Franchisee David Key, who is partnering with Ron C. Lee on several Huddle Houses here, was familiar with the brand from growing up in the South.

“There’s everything from breakfast foods to comfort foods,” he says of the diner concept.

Key is best known for trying to build a downtown arena when he operated the former Wichita Stealth indoor football team. He announced his plans in 2003, but financial problems prevented it from happening.

More recently, Key has been involved in franchising Value Place hotels.

Key likes the idea of having a franchise restaurant instead of starting one from scratch.

“There’s some safety in the franchising,” he says. “They’ve had 46 years to, you know, get it right.”

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