Subaru of Wichita responds to ‘Shame on Subaru’ sign with one of its own

suburuWICHITA — Labor dispute signs have been popping up at all kinds of businesses and nonprofits in the last couple of years, but Subaru of Wichita appears to be the first business to fight back.

“To be accused of desecrating the American way of life, we’re going to take a little bit of exception to that,” says Aaron Wirtz, who handles marketing and media for Subaru.

Earlier this week, the United Brotherhood Of Carpenters And Joiners Of America Local 201 began a protest in front of the dealership, which is on East Kellogg between Greenwich and 127th Street.

Subaru is in the process of a $1.5 million update to transform the property to the Subaru brand from the previous Suzuki brand that was there.

Wirtz says in addition to hiring a local architect on the project, Subaru hired Wichita’s Key Construction as its contractor. He says Key then hired Hi-Tech Interiors, a local nonunion firm, to do a small portion of drywall work.

In response, the Carpenters union now has people manning a “Shame on Subaru of Wichita” sign on an easement in front of the dealership.

“While we’re certainly not happy to see that, we were kind of unsurprised,” Wirtz says.

In response, Subaru now has a sign that plays off the “Shame” by saying, “For having unbeatable prices.” It also says “indisputable” in a couple of places on the sign.

Wirtz says Subaru respects the union’s right to protest.

“We’ve actually given them lunch. We’ve invited them to visit our facilities.”

Wirtz says he’s convinced the people with the sign are simply hired by the union to stand there.

“It doesn’t really look like they want to be here anymore than we want them to be here, to be quite frank.”

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You don’t say

“Everybody that looks at me knows I haven’t been to the Y.”

Joe Johnson of Schaefer Johnson Cox Frey, who helped build the new downtown YMCA but hasn’t been there to work out yet


You don’t say

“This is like ‘Extreme Makeover — Gym Style.’”

– A comment that YMCA board member Marilyn Pauly heard while giving tours of the new downtown Y recently

AMP CrossFit Box to move to South Rock Road area next week

WICHITA — AMP CrossFit Box has been in the former YMCA near Douglas and Rock Road where a church is now locating, but AMP co-owner Noah Morford doesn’t mind having to move.

“We actually found a bigger and better facility,” he says.

On Monday, AMP will open at 8021 E. Marion, which is a couple of miles south of Kellogg off Rock Road in a warehouse area.

“It’s a easier access off Rock,” Morford says.

He also likes that it’s not far from McConnell Air Force Base and is convenient to Derby, Rose Hill, Mulvane and Wichita.

Carl Hebert with InSite Real Estate Group handled the deal for the more than 5,000 square feet.

AMP offers an array of personal training, boot camp-type classes and CrossFit exercises for all ages along with sports-specific training.

Morford describes CrossFit as a well-rounded exercise that helps with endurance, strength and flexibility.

“Basically it’s not trying to make somebody good at one single thing,” he says. “The biggest thing is we scale (exercises) to fit the needs of the client.”

Inside Out Fitness opens at Brush Creek shopping center at 37th and Woodlawn

WICHITA — Caleb Schroeder was a popular personal trainer with the YMCA, but when he refused to sign a noncompete agreement last month, he says he lost his job.

Since then, he’s been planning his own training business. Now, it’s happening.

Inside Out Fitness is taking the final piece of former Blockbuster property in the Brush Creek shopping center near the southeast corner of 37th and Woodlawn.

“I’m planning to change people’s lives one at a time,” Schroeder says.

He says a lot of people have desires such as looking better or losing weight.

“Basically, a lot of people show up,” he says. “They just think it’s what they’re supposed to do.”

He says it takes more than that.

“Wellness and fitness comes from the inside out,” he says. “You must be tenacious.”

For now, he’ll offer a variety of group and personal training and some sport-specific training.

“We’re in the process of possibly doing a cardio (program),” he says.

Inside Out Fitness is in 1,400 square feet. Leisa Lowry with J.P. Weigand & Sons handled the deal.

Since he left the Y, Schroeder has been holding small boot camps to keep in touch with customers. Now, they can work out with him and two other trainers at Brush Creek.

In addition to trying to help people from the inside out, Schroeder says he particularly wants to help people who don’t enjoy working out.

“I’m trying to show people we can make it fun.”

Optimal Performance to move into new 12,000-square-foot facility near Central and Greenwich

WICHITA — Bethany and Landon Langston are building a new facility for their Optimal Performance personal training business that will outperform their existing space in several ways.

The five-year-old business currently is in 3,000 square feet near 32nd Street North and Rock Road. The new facility will be in 12,000 square feet east of Central and Greenwich at 11444 E. Central.

The property is almost 1 1/2 acres.

“We’re actually only taking up not even half of it, really, so we have room to expand,” Bethany Langston says. “One thing that we really want to do is add a lap pool.”

They’d also like a therapy hot tub eventually.

Initially, the facility will have an area for equipment that clients can access 24 hours a day. The other half of the downstairs will be open for training.

CrossFit is pretty big right now, and we incorporate a lot of that in our training … and so we use a lot of open space,” Bethany Langston says.

“Our main business is one-on-one training or small-group training,” says Landon Langston, who has been training for 10 years.

There will be several training areas within the new facility and outdoors as well.

“We’re going to have double the training space,” Bethany Langston says.

Upstairs, there’s a loft area with room for group classes, such as Pilates and yoga.

Outside, there will be basketball courts and an area for training in a sand pit.

The Langstons also are expanding their massage therapy rooms from two to five. The rooms will be sound proof.

“We want to create more of a relaxing atmosphere if that’s what people are coming in for,” Bethany Langston says.

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Robert Eyster purchases the former Protection One building with plans for new residential and commercial development

WICHITA — It’s getting to the point you can’t call Robert Eyster and Michael Ramsey nascent developers any longer.

Eyster has purchased the former Protection One building at the northwest corner of First and Market, which makes the sixth downtown property he’s bought to redevelop in less than a year.

“In the process of looking for buildings that have kind of been neglected or buildings that are too big or too small for people . . . we’ve looked at probably all the buildings downtown,” Ramsey said.

That’s how they found the 7-story, 171,000-square-foot Protection One building, which the former Kansas Gas and Electric Co. built in 1953.

“That building has got some very dynamic bones to it,” Ramsey said. “It just spoke to us.”

He and Eyster are renaming the building the Lux and creating luxury apartments and possible condos along with commercial on the first two floors.

“It sounds like a really exciting development,” said Patrick Ahern of Grubb & Ellis/Martens Commercial Group, who was one of the agents who handled the deal.

Ahern, who specializes in downtown properties, said, “More people living downtown will attract more retail and give more vibrance to downtown and that area in particular.”

He said the sale of that much Class B downtown property “potentially helps the market because it’s less space for other buildings to compete with.”

Ahern and Steve Martens represented Protection One, and Marty Gilchrist and Grant Tidemann of J.P. Weigand & Sons represented Eyster.

Eyster has already purchased and is redeveloping the former Zelman building, the Board of Trade building, Victoria Park Apartments, the two-story building at 100 S. Market and Kelly Donham’s former property on Douglas between Main and Market.

With the help of Kansas City, Mo., architect El Dorado Inc., which designed the Finn Lofts on Commerce Street, Eyster and Ramsey hope to use a lot of the 1950s architectural elements already in the mid-century modern building. That includes light fixtures, door knobs and railings.

“They have actually cataloged everything they could in the KGE building in the hopes we . . . could repurpose those elements,” Ramsey said.

Farha Construction is the contractor and Builders Inc. is managing the building.

“This is really going to be a unique facility,” said Larry Weber of Builders Inc.

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Anytime Fitness at Village at Greenwich closes

WICHITA — The Anytime Fitness at the Village at Greenwich at 21st and Greenwich has closed.

“We couldn’t hang in there anymore unfortunately,” says owner Lance McReynolds.

“We closed because we’re losing too much money.”

He opened in November 2007.

“The economy was bad right after we opened especially,” he says.

That wasn’t the main problem, McReynolds says.

“Wichita’s awful tough for small health clubs to begin with,” he says. “The YMCA’s just so powerful.”

He hoped to have more corporate memberships.

“That would have maybe pushed us through.”

McReynolds is reimbursing members who paid in advance.

“I think we’ve got everybody covered.”

McReynolds has another Anytime Fitness in St. Joseph, Mo., that he says does very well. He says that’s what enabled him to keep his Wichita club open as long as he did.

“It’s really depressing,” McReynolds says. “It was a really nice club.”

Shops at MarketPlace lands four tenants

WICHITA — In today’s economy, it’s a gamble to build a speculative shopping center and hope to find tenants for it, but it’s a move that’s paying off for Paul Jackson.

The Vantage Point Properties developer has Andover MarketPlace, a 140-acre development on the southeast corner of Kellogg and Andover Road in Andover.

In May, Jackson began building the Shops at MarketPlace, a 14,000-square-foot center next to Dillons Marketplace.

He now has four tenants to announce:

Scooter’s Coffeehouse, which will have 1,400 square feet and a drive-through on the north end of the center.

H&R Block, which will have 1,400 square feet.

Martinizing Dry Cleaning, which will have 1,400 square feet.

Spa Pedicure, which will have 1,200 square feet.

“We have a nice amount of interest in the remaining space,” Jackson says. “We feel like it’s been a good decision to build that.”

When Jackson first bought the property several years ago, his plan was to hold it for the long term.

“We weren’t looking to develop it immediately.”

Dillons wanted to expand with a Marketplace concept, though, and the YMCA decided to build a new branch about the same time.

“They just came into play a lot earlier than we expected them,” Jackson says. “Once those started, we started full speed into the development process.”

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Lee’s Bike Shop to open at Auburn Pointe

WICHITA — Lee Engler has been a bike fanatic for a long time, and now he’s making his hobby his business.

Engler, a former landscape architect for WDM Architects, is opening Lee’s Bike Shop at 135th West and Maple.

That’s at Auburn Pointe, an Occidental Management property.

“It’s a really good location because of the neighborhood that’s there,” Engler says.

It’s also close to a lot of bike paths, he says.

Plus, Engler says, there’s not another specialty bike shop west of Interstate 235.

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