Food For Thought to close after 42 years

UPDATED — More than four decades after opening, Food For Thought is closing.

“It probably should have been done before now,” owner Melinda Foley says. “The competition in town is just getting tougher and tougher.”

Foley says her store is Wichita’s only full-service independent natural foods market left in the area.

She says big-box competitors are an issue. The Natural Grocers by Vitamin Cottage chain opened in 2011.

“We kind of started seeing our numbers slip then,” Foley says. “And Bread and Circus is looming next year.”

That’s the Whole Foods chain that’s opening at the Waterfront.

“We are in a location where not as many people are shopping in this area as used to be,” Foley says.

The store has been at 2929 E. Central for the last 20 of its 42 years in business.

“It’s time for us to go out gracefully.”

The store has started a liquidation sale. Foley expects to close within a month.

“There’s going to be some awesome people out there looking for employment,” she says.

Foley says she didn’t try to sell the store.

“We just felt like it was time to just let it go,” she says. “We have so enjoyed serving this community, and we have made so many friends with our customers. That’s going to be really sad to let go.”

 

 

Irvin Jacks Mens Barber Spa to open at the Shops at Tallgrass at 21st and Rock Road

UPDATED — Irvin Jacks Mens Barber Spa is moving from temporary space to the Shops at Tallgrass at the northeast corner of 21st and Rock Road.

Previously, Irvin Jacks was at the Waterfront at 13th and Webb Road in the almost 3,300 square feet where Craig Allen’s Men’s Fine Grooming once was.

“We basically trimmed off the fat,” owner Felicia DeSpain says.

“The space was definitely a very large size, even for a women’s facility,” she says. “We needed to be able to utilize the space.”

The new spa will be in almost 2,000 square feet of part of the former Nelson Designs space. Nelson is now in the former Norwalk Furniture & Design space at Shops. Norwalk is now in a warehouse at 8630 E. 32nd Court North.

Irvin Jacks offers haircuts for men and boys along with other salon services, such as massage, facials and nail care.

“We are still offering the same services,” DeSpain says.

The new space will have a lounge and patio.

“Our clients consider us the premier barber salon and social club for men,” DeSpain says. “It’s a place for guys to relax and take a break from their daily stresses.”

April Reed of Slawson Cos. handled the deal for the new space.

Look for Irvin Jacks to open in August.

Waterfront development to get new office park; Whole Foods to break ground in July

The nine lots on the lower right of this aerial map show where the newest development at the Waterfront will go.

WICHITA — Another new area of development is coming to the Waterfront at 13th and Webb Road.

“We’ve got a small office park going in east of Bonefish,” says Stephen Clark II.

There will be up to nine lots on eight acres.

“It’s all office use,” Clark says.

Primarily, those offices will be medical, but there will be some service-type offices as well, such as financial services.

The lots are for sale, and the buyers will be the builders, though each building will be in what Clark calls the upscale Waterfront style.

“We have one so far and are talking to others,” Clark says of buyers.

He says the first deal will be announced in August.

Construction will start next week.

There’s still room for retail between Bonefish Grill and the new office park, but that will come later, Clark says.

There are several other areas in development at the Waterfront.

Planning is still underway for a new Class A, high-end apartment complex across the lake from Homewood Suites by Hilton at the Waterfront. Clark says schematics are now complete.

Also, the new 5,000-square-foot home for his father’s Clark Investment Group should be ready in two months.

The company currently is in 2,500 square feet near 13th and Rock Road in the Polo Club Office Park. The new office is off of Webb Road and across from Ciao Italian Kitchen on the Waterfront’s lake.

Over at Waterfront Plaza, which is on the northwest corner of 13th and Webb Road, construction is close to starting on the new Whole Foods grocery that will anchor the development.

“That starts in one month,” Clark says.

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Two east-side business offices to move

WICHITA — A couple of businessmen are moving their east-side offices, but not far.

Bud Gates is moving his Easygates office from the Tallgrass Executive Park at 22nd and Rock Road to the Polo Club Office Park near 13th and Rock Road.

“We just ran out of space,” Gates says. “We’ve got people in closets over here.”

He says he had been looking to lease another space. In the process, he came across a Tallgrass building to buy.

The Easygates office currently is about 2,900 square feet and is moving to about 4,600 square feet next month. Gates says the new office will offer a lot more storage room in addition to more office space.

Gates is the master franchisor for Easyhome lease-to-own stores in 36 states. He says there are 38 stores under his umbrella – 17 stores that he operates and 21 that are franchises.

“We’re just kind of clicking along,” Gates says. “We probably would like to grow 10 stores per year.”

He says he’ll lease about 900 square feet of his new building to a tenant.

“I can’t reveal that one yet.”

Further east, Paul Jackson is moving his Vantage Point Properties within the Waterfront.

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Mike Lewis moves Newton gym, opens training center in Wichita

UPDATED — Mike Lewis has moved his Newton-based gym and is opening a personal training center in Wichita.

Mike Lewis Fitness is now in about 6,000 square feet at the Chisholm Trail Center-Outlet & Retail Shops in Newton.

“Basically, I’m growing,” Lewis says of his business, which opened in 2009.

The gym offers a variety of workout options, such as spin classes, boot camps and personal training.

The new business, Fitness on the Waterfront, is opening at the Waterfront development at 13th and Webb Road exclusively for personal training.

“The clientele up there around the Waterfront is the main reason I want to do the Waterfront one,” Lewis says.

Don Piros of Landmark Commercial Real Estate handled the deal.

Personal training that he received, along with a sports background, inspired Lewis to open the gym.

“I’ve played every sport known to man,” he says. “I always wanted to open my own gym.”

You don’t say

“If it was any kind of confusion, they would have never gave us that name.”

David Foster, who says he wouldn’t have been able to get a permit for his new Waterfront Cafe and Catering near I-235 and Seneca if it would be confused with the Waterfront development at 13th and Webb Road

Massage Envy Spa to open at the Waterfront in May in space that Irvin Jacks is vacating

WICHITA — East Wichita no longer has a reason to be envious of west Wichita, at least when it comes to Massage Envy Spa.

The first Wichita Massage Envy opened in NewMarket Square at 21st and Maize Road in 2010.

Now, one is moving into the Irvin Jacks space at the Waterfront in early May.

It’s not clear what’s happening with Irvin Jacks, a “barber spa” for men. Owner Felicia DeSpain didn’t return calls for comment.

Massage Envy franchisee Amy Gilliland, who also owns the Lawrence Massage Envy, says she’d actually hoped to open on the east side first.

“There was just no place to go that we wanted to go,” she says of when she looked previously.

She says she’s excited about the 3,290 square feet that’s coming open at the Waterfront.

“I love how upscale it is. I love the aesthetic. I like the tenant mix. I like the landlords a lot. They’re really great.”

Don Piros of Landmark Commercial Real Estate handled the deal.

Gilliland says Massage Envy is an affordable, approachable business that offers therapeutic massage and healthy skin facials.

The chain, which started in 2002, now has 854 stores.

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Former Wichitans Dennis Thompson and Doug Glendenning to bring Firebirds Wood Fired Grill to the Waterfront

The Waterfront’s Stephen Clark II stands in front of the future home of Firebirds Wood Fired Grill.

WICHITA — A visit home to his native Wichita is what’s leading Lone Star Steakhouse founder Dennis Thompson to bring his latest restaurant concept to the Waterfront.

Thompson and former Wichitan Doug Glendenning and a private New York equity firm own 23 Firebirds Wood Fired Grills and have six more under construction.

Thompson, who founded the company in 2000 in Charlotte, N.C., planned to go to Oklahoma City and Tulsa next but changed his mind.

“I happened to be in Wichita for a class reunion,” he says.

While here, Thompson toured the former Brooks Brothers store at the Waterfront development at 13th and Webb Road.

The 7,650-square-foot space is on the corner of the retail section of the Waterfront and is known for its decorative domed roof.

“It’s the most prominent spot in the retail center,” says the Waterfront’s Stephen Clark II.

Glendenning, the former president of Lone Star, calls the Waterfront “one of the best areas in the greater Wichita area for sure.”

“I used to live just a couple of blocks from there, so I know that area very well,” he says.

Glendenning is a founder of Firebirds, too, but he says Thompson really created it.

Thompson’s Aspen home inspired what initially was a Colorado lodge theme.

“Over time … it’s evolved,” Glendenning says. “It’s a lot less Colorado feel and more just kind of upscale casual.”

Thompson says he wanted to start a concept that was more upscale than an Outback or similar restaurants but not quite as high end as a Morton’s or a Ruth’s Chris.

“The theme is based around steaks, but we’re not perceived necessarily as a steakhouse,” Thompson says.

There are lots of wood-fired dishes, many of which have a southwestern flair.

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Metro Grill IV a possibility for downtown

WICHITA — At long last, Michael Gonzalez is looking to bring his Metro Grill downtown.

“Since Day 1 at the mall, they’ve been asking me to come downtown,” he says of customers from his Metro Grill stand at Towne East Square. “They’re dying for us to go downtown.”

In addition to the mall location, Gonzalez has a sit-down Metro Grill at the Waterfront at 13th and Webb Road, and another restaurateur has Gonzalez’s former Metro Grill in Andover.

The downtown location, which would be close to Cafe Bel Ami near South Broadway and East William, isn’t official yet.

“This is not 100 percent,” Gonzalez says.

He says he’s only in talks with a developer, who approached him.

“If it’s a sweet deal, I’ll take it.”

Ciao Italian Kitchen to open in former Tommy’s Restaurant space Nov. 12

WICHITA — It took longer than expected, as most restaurant deals do, but Guillermo Perez-Munoz has finalized plans to open his second Ciao Italian Kitchen on the west side in the former Tommy’s Restaurant and Lounge space at 2121 N. Tyler.

“We are looking at opening November 12,” says COO Matt Tompkins.

In June, Have You Heard? reported that Perez-Munoz was working on the west-side deal less than a year after opening his first Ciao at the Waterfront on the east side where Piztros, Sabor and Press once were.

Tompkins says the former Tommy’s space makes sense for a number of reasons.

First, there’s the amount of traffic in the area, though Tompkins says it’s not as busy as the 21st and Maize Road area, which he says is a good thing.

“We’re not in the congestion of all the other restaurants.”

Also, Tompkins says there’s not another mom-and-pop Italian restaurant nearby.

“We think we have a really good opportunity to be successful there,” he says.

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