Pink Saloon to move to Waterfront addition

UPDATED — After a period of some hard consideration, Brooke Hebert has decided to move her Pink Saloon from Douglas and Oliver to the new addition of the Waterfront at the northwest corner of 13th and Webb.

“It’s been really good where we’re at, so it wasn’t an easy decision,” she says.

Pink Saloon, a women’s clothing shop, had been in El Dorado for three years before moving to Wichita five years ago to the same center where Aspen Boutique is.

Hebert says her business has grown every year she’s been in Wichita, but she says the majority of her clients are in east Wichita.

“They come from all over,” Hebert says, but “the east side’s really strong for us.”

waterfrontThe new Whole Foods Market, which is set to open at the Waterfront on Sept. 10, is part of the lure.

“Whole Foods, obviously, is a great anchor,” Hebert says.

She says she also likes other tenants at the Waterfront, which includes a more developed addition on the northeast corner.

On the northwest corner, the 51,000-square-foot first phase is nearing completion.

In the Bag Cleaners last week announced it will have a store there, and Equity Bank also will be to the north of the building that will be home to the cleaners, Pink Saloon and Whole Foods. There are spaces for several other tenants as well, and there’s another 14,000-square-foot building coming with the second phase of development. It will be between the bank and the first retail center. There also will be a smaller building in front of the second center with up to 4,000 square feet.

“We are getting ready to start Phase 2,” says the Waterfront’s Stephen Clark II.

He says Pink Saloon will make a great addition.

“You’re starting to see now how visible this center is, and I think that location will make a big difference for her,” Clark says.

Hebert says her store will have a new look.

“It’s going to be completely different, actually, as far as the aesthetic,” she says.

“The space is going to be really cool,” Clark says.

Hebert won’t share details yet, though.

“It’s going to be a surprise.”

She says the new store will be ready sometime in the fourth quarter.

At 1,800 square feet, Hebert says, her store will be smaller than her current 2,800 square feet, but “it’s not going to change our product mix.” She says she may even expand some lines.

Hebert says she’s excited about the move.

“Anytime you change and evolve, it’s just really exciting.”

Don Piros of Landmark Commercial Real Estate and Carl Hebert of InSite Real Estate Group handled the deal.

Carl Hebert is Brooke Hebert’s brother-in-law. This was the first time the two worked together.

“He really helped me through this process,” Brooke Hebert says. “It was really fun to work with him.”

Law Kingdon Architecture designed the center, and the Law Co. is the contractor.

“We’re about where we’d thought we would be,” Clark says of the center’s progress. “Things are going well.”

He says there should be more news soon.

“We’ve got some great tenants that have signed up and that we’re talking to.”

West-side Abuelo’s to open at Taft and Ridge Road in early 2015

WICHITA — In January, Have You Heard? reported that Abuelo’s was getting closer to a deal at a site near the Kellogg and Ridge Road corridor not far from where the new Twin Peaks is going to open.

East-side Abuelo’s manager Chuck Ouellette says we “nailed it.”

He confirms the Lubbock-based company will open its second Wichita Abuelo’s at the northeast corner of Taft and Ridge Road, which is south of Panera Bread and Freddy’s Frozen Custard & Steakburgers and across the street from where Twin Peaks is under construction. Among other restaurants in the area is another Mexican chain, Wichita’s Carlos O’Kelly’s.

“My philosophy has always been the more restaurants you have, the more opportunities guests have,” Ouellette says. “It’s better for everyone.”

Construction will begin on the almost 8,000-square-foot building and a 1,000-square-foot patio in late summer or early fall, and the restaurant will open in the first quarter of next year. There will be seating for about 250 people, and the restaurant will employ 80 to 100 people.

Brad Saville of Landmark Commercial Real Estate handled the deal. Read More »

Whole Foods Market will be called that instead of Bread & Circus

UPDATED — As expected, Wichita will not have to live with the Bread & Circus name that drew so many complaints.

Its new Whole Foods Market at the Waterfront at 13th and Webb Road will be called by that name, which is what most people called it anyway.

As GreenAcres Market owner Barb Hoffmann hinted last month, she negotiated with the organic food chain over the name.

GreenAcres Market owners John and Barb Hoffmann are changing the names of their three Whole Foods Association stores to GreenAcres Market and letting Whole Foods Market at the Waterfront have that name.

GreenAcres Market owners John and Barb Hoffmann are changing the names of their three Whole Foods Association stores to GreenAcres Market and letting Whole Foods Market at the Waterfront have that name.

In January, Hoffmann purchased the Wichita Whole Foods Association stores, which have no affiliation with the larger chain.

“We have great respect for what Rene Shelton and her family have built under the Whole Foods Association name, and we don’t take that lightly,” Hoffmann said in a release. “This was a very hard decision, but we feel, moving forward, it is best for our customers to have a united offering and a unified GreenAcres brand. We are glad we reached an amicable agreement with Whole Foods Market and both parties are excited to turn more and more Wichita shoppers on to natural and organic foods and the quality products both our companies stand for.”

Hoffmann says she and Whole Foods Market each agreed not to say anything beyond what was in both of their news releases.

Three Whole Foods Association stores will change their names to GreenAcres by late summer. That includes stores in Normandie at Central and Woodlawn, in the Clear Lakes shopping center near 21st and Amidon and near 21st and Maize Road. Hoffmann already was in the process of changing two Health Food Center stores in Oklahoma to the GreenAcres name.

Read More »

Wichita’s Whole Foods Market may not have to be called Bread & Circus

breadncircusWICHITA — According to a poll so informal it probably shouldn’t be called a poll, it looks like the Bread & Circus name that Wichita’s new Whole Foods Market will go by here isn’t exactly being embraced.

Or, to be blunt, no one seems to like it – or actually call the store by that name.

There’s a glimmer of hope, though, for those who prefer the Whole Foods name.

The reason the Austin-based chain chose Bread & Circus, which was the name of some stores the company bought in 1992, is Wichita’s local Whole Foods Association already had the name here.

GreenAcres Market owner Barb Hoffmann purchased the Whole Foods Association stores in January, and it appears she’s now considering letting the larger Whole Foods chain have the name.

“I’m not able to say anything right now,” Hoffmann says.

She says she’ll likely be able to talk in a couple of weeks.

Read More »

SpaRenity Nails & Organics to open in same Waterfront center as Bread & Circus

pedi1WICHITA — In keeping with the organic theme of the Waterfront’s new Whole Foods Market, which will go by Bread & Circus in Wichita, a new spa and salon featuring organic products is opening in the same center.

Wichitan Kevin Tuan and his family own four salons around Wichita, but now he’s branching out on his own for two more, including the one at the northwest corner of 13th and Webb.

His first SpaRenity Nails & Organics will have a grand opening Sunday at 3750 N. Woodlawn.

Tuan says this will be a smaller spa, offering pedicures, manicures and facials, than the one he’ll open at the Waterfront. That one also will include massage.

Tuan says he wants to see how the first one goes and make adjustments for the Waterfront site.

The Woodlawn spa is opening in the former Golden Nail space.

“Everything’s brand new,” Tuan says.

Read More »

Metro Grill owner explains departure

WICHITA — Metro Grill owner Michael Gonzalez wasn’t available last week to discuss why he abruptly left his restaurant at the Waterfront, which his landlord said he gutted on the way out.

“There was more to it than what they said, of course,” Gonzalez says.

“I’ve been so depressed for the last couple of weeks, but life goes on.”

He says there were a number of issues that caused him to leave.

“I was expecting volume like Andover,” Gonzalez says of his former restaurant there, which someone else now owns.

He says his lunch and weekend business was great, but the rest of his sales weren’t enough.

“That was just too much of a high rent to sustain,” Gonzalez says. “But I gave it a shot.”

He says parking became a bit of an issue with the new Firebirds next door to his restaurant. Also, Gonzalez says his landlords disappointed him by not putting his restaurant on a billboard near Kellogg and Rock Road as he says they promised. He says he had been working with them to lower his rent and then received a 10-day notice to leave.

Read More »

Metro Grill abruptly closes at the Waterfront; owner ‘gutted the place,’ landlord says

WICHITA — As he opens a new Metro Grill on the west side, Michael Gonzalez abruptly left his restaurant of the same name at the Waterfront.

“He just went in there and gutted the place a couple of nights ago,” says Johnny Stevens, a partner in the development at 13th and Webb Road.

“Pulled lights out of the ceiling. Pulled cabinets off the walls. Took everything he could.”

Stevens says Gonzalez didn’t leave many things behind.

“Not much. A sink. A toilet. A few odds and ends.”

Gonzalez couldn’t be reached for comment.

There’s now an eviction notice on the door, but Stevens says that came only after Gonzalez moved out.

“There’s nothing to go back in for,” he says. “But we’ve got to … go through that process.”

Read More »

Good Life Co.’s cookies go national

UPDATED — Even during the Good Life Co.’s humble beginnings – when Greg Cole was selling his Little Bits cookies at farmers markets – he knew he’d go national one day. He never thought it would be three years after starting his business, though.

“We’re actually two years ahead of our projected plan,” Cole says.

“We go national next month,” he says. “I never thought that we would get a national contract so soon.”

Cole’s specialty is seven-spice gourmet cookie. After farmers markets, he began selling to local stores, such as Green Acres MarketSpice Merchant & Co. and the local health store Whole Foods Association.

When Fresh Market opened at Bradley Fair in 2012, Cole began selling his cookies there.

“They weren’t expecting the cookie to do so well,” he says.

Then the Kansas City Fresh Market began selling the cookies.

Now, the chain is going to begin putting Little Bits in its other stores as well.

“It’s going to be a five-year project,” Cole says. “You can’t roll out to every store all at once. … That’s an ongoing process.”

Read More »

Abuelo’s inching closer to west-side deal

WICHITA — Abuelo’s, the Mexican restaurant chain that opened at the Waterfront in April 2004, is working on a deal for west-side space.

“It’s been a good market for us,” Abuelo’s director of marketing Melanie Carroll says of Wichita.

She says the Lubbock-based company is always looking for growth opportunities and believes Wichita could sustain two Abuelo’s restaurants, but she won’t share details beyond that.

Landmark Commercial Real Estate president and CEO Brad Saville, who represents Abuelo’s in Wichita, says the chain is eyeing three west-side sites and hasn’t yet determined where it will go.

Other sources, though, says Abuelo’s is getting closer to a deal at a site near the Kellogg and Ridge Road corridor not far from where the new Twin Peaks is going to open.

Earlier this month, Have You Heard? reported that Twin Peaks, which already has an east-side site, is going to open at 7325 W. Taft. It will be in a building across Ridge Road from Carlos O’Kelly’s and Panera Bread, which is south of Maple and Ridge.

The area is becoming a hot spot for restaurants such as Applebee’s, McAlister’s Deli, Chipotle Mexican Grill, IHOP and Freddy’s Frozen Custard & Steakburgers among others.

Look for more news on Abuelo’s in the months ahead.

Fox & Hound parent company files Chapter 11 bankruptcy

UPDATED — Wichita-based F&H Acquisition Group, which does business as Fox & Hound and Champps Americana, has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

“Obviously it’s a difficult decision,” says spokesman Rick Van Warner.

“Over the last several months, the company has looked at a number of different options to restructure the debt or to restructure the corporate financial structure,” he says. “We decided that the best option to most quickly and efficiently get through the turnaround plan that we’re working on is to do so under Chapter 11 protection.”

The filing lists F&H’s liabilities and assets both as somewhere between $100 million and $500 million.

Van Warner says there have been several issues that led to the company’s struggles.

“It’s been a very soft environment overall for casual dining restaurants, including our concepts,” he says. “In addition, our debt levels from the past were high, and you know, you add all that together along with the fact that real estate markets have changed a lot in the country . . . and there’s a whole number of factors that lead to a financial restructuring of this type.”

Van Warner says the bankruptcy filing will impact the corporation but not day-to-day business at the restaurants.

“It’s not going to impact anything we’re doing at the restaurants,” he says. “Most of the restaurants generate meaningful cash flow still, and our brands are making solid progress.”

There are 50 Fox & Hound restaurants, including one at Wichita’s Waterfront development, which is also where the company has its headquarters. There are 35 Champps restaurants and 16 Bailey’s restaurants, which are the same concept as Fox & Hound.

Van Warner says the bankruptcy filing is more about “a fresh start.” The company also is looking for what Van Warner calls a cash infusion, but he says he can’t be more specific about that.

“It’s hard to tell,” he says of where the money may come from. “It’s a process. It’s to be determined.”

He adds, “We really need a more sound capital structure to have a strong platform for future growth. That’s really what this is about.”

Van Warner says there have been leadership changes at the company in the last year.

Former CEO Steve Johnson left in October 2012.

“I left for personal reasons,” he says.

Read More »