Woof Gang Bakery & Grooming to open at Cambridge Market at 21st and Webb

WICHITA — If you heard rumblings of a Wolfgang bringing some tasty treats to a new pink-and-brown, chandelier-lit bakery and boutique on the east side, it wouldn’t be surprising if you wondered whether international chef and restaurateur Wolfgang Puck might be bringing one of his concepts here.

Turns out, it’s Woof Gang Bakery & Grooming that will be opening in Cambridge Market at 21st and Webb.

“It’ll definitely be probably the most unique pet store that people in this market have seen,” says Lisa Chamberlain, who is opening the business with her husband, Albert Cipo.

“Most people are like, ‘This is for dogs?’ ”

The two had another Woof Gang franchise in Houston but wanted to move back home to Wichita.

The business is a combination store, bakery and grooming site.

Chamberlain says she plans to have grooming for dogs and cats.

“Hopefully, if I can find a groomer who does cats,” she says. “That’s an if.”

Chamberlain says she tries to do kennel-free grooming in a short amount of time to keep down an animal’s stress level.

“Our grooming is more of a spa-type setting,” she says.

That includes “pawdicures” and blueberry facials with natural products.

“The dogs love it,” Chamberlain says. “It’s like lick, lick, lick.”

Woof Gang also will have an all-natural bakery for special-occasion cakes and treats.

“It is a bakery for pets,” Chamberlain says. “We have all sorts of treats.”

She says Woof Gang also will sell holistic food, including dry and wet food and raw and freeze-dried food.

There also will be chews, bowls, beds, collars and leashes.

“We’re a little more of a boutique feel,” Chamberlain says.

The 2,000-square-foot store will open in October.

Don Piros of Landmark Commercial Real Estate handled the deal.

“Ideally, we’d like to do more than one,” Chamberlain says.

The plan is to open a second Woof Gang on the west side within a year after the first one opens. Then the Kansas City area is a possibility, she says.

“It’s a long-term plan.”

Knork Flatware expands Bed Bath & Beyond presence to 650 stores

WICHITA — Newton-based Knork Flatware has landed a deal to sell its products in 650 Bed Bath & Beyond stores.

“It’s obviously going to impact sales substantially for us,” Knork president Tom Carson says. “It’s probably our largest retail account for a box store.”

The company began working with the chain in 2008.

“Bed Bath & Beyond started as a test,” says Knork vice president of marketing Lacy Simon.

Initially, the flatware that features its signature knife and fork in one utensil — a Knork — was in only the Wichita Bed Bath & Beyond stores.

“It’s just built from there,” Simon says. “The product sold very well.”

The number grew to 200 before jumping to 650, though Carson notes there are many more Bed Bath & Beyond stores than that, and he’d like to be in all of them. Knork is on the chain’s bridal registry as well.

“That’s done very well for us, too,” Carson says.

“I like to get Knork anywhere there’s heavy bridal,” Simon says.

There are 200 Dillard’s stores that sell Knork.

“Right now, Dillard’s is exploring the opportunities to expand, and that might be a possibility for spring 2013,” Simon says. “Macy’s is looking at a test for next fall.”

Target and Kohl’s also carry Knork online but not in their stores. Simon says Knork’s extensive manufacturing process makes it more expensive than other flatware lines sold in those stores.

There are now about 50 Knork products and $2 million in annual sales for the company, which started in 2004 with one product that Wichita resident Mike Miller created.

“It was kind of gadgetry,” Carson says. “A fork that cuts like a knife.”

The issue was “just overcoming some of the consumer skeptics of the new kind of unfamiliar product,” Simon says.

“It was quite a struggle at the beginning.”

It sometimes still is.

“It is truly such an experiential product,” Simon says. She says the goal is always to put the product into someone’s hands.

“You’ve really got to put it in your hands to experience the functionality of it,” Carson says.

Starting out, Carson says the company sold direct to other businesses.

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Knork gets marketing help thanks to Top Chefs

WICHITA — Thanks to Bravo’sTop Chef,” Knork Flatware has an increased presence nationally. But it’s not because the flatware, which is a combination knife and fork, is used on the show.

It’s because some of the chefs that have been on the show are using or plan to use the flatware in their restaurants.

“A lot of their chefs are very forward thinking,” says Lacy Simon, Knork’s vice president of marketing and office administration.

“I’m addicted to the show myself,” she says.

So Simon tries to contact chefs she thinks might be a good match to use Knork products.

“I just kind of stalk them, to be honest. . . . I’m in kind of shock when they call back.”

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