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Monday, July 28, 2014

Dondlingers expand hardware business

By Carrie Rengers
The Wichita Eagle

The Dondlinger family may best be known for its construction company, but now it’s expanding its hardware store business, too.

Dondlinger and Sons Construction is opening two Williams Ace Hardware stores in coming months.

The first will have a March 30 grand opening, with a soft opening about a week before, in the former White’s Foodliner building in Goddard.

The family bought the former grocery at 199th and U.S. 54 in November. At the time, Raymond Dondlinger, who is in operations and business development for the construction and hardware companies, told Have You Heard? he wasn’t ready to share plans.

The Dondlingers also are working on a second store in the former Ace Hardware in Andover at 642 N. Andover Road. That store should open about a month after the one in Goddard.

This is in addition to the Williams Ace Hardware the Dondlingers bought at Central and Woodlawn in May.

The business was started by the family’s maternal grandfather, Jim Williams, in 1958 and most recently owned by his namesake son.

“It’s still a family-owned business,” Raymond Dondlinger says. It’s one he says the family would like to grow.

“We saw … a need out in Goddard,” he says. “Being in Goddard, it will probably be … more agricultural based.”

That means it will sell more pet food, agricultural feed and large-quantity fertilizer than the Wichita Williams Ace Hardware.

Dondlinger says just because the family is in the construction business doesn’t mean its stores are geared to that business.

“We’re not trying to sell to other commercial contractors,” he says. “We’re gearing more towards the homeowner and maybe the independent.”

Still, Dondlinger says there are a few benefits, though not many, to a construction company having a hardware business as well. He says the company has always purchased its nails through Williams Ace Hardware and gets a few other things, such as shovels and wheelbarrows, there also.

“It’s just very, very small,” Dondlinger says. “We’re trying to keep things as separate as we can. They’re quite different worlds.”

More Williams Ace Hardware stores are a possibility, though probably not anytime soon.

“We’re going to get these two stores opened, get them moving forward, and we’ll see where we go from there.”

Rent dispute

BRIC Development, the group that owned the former Feist Publications building near K-96 and Webb until December, is suing former tenant Yellowbook.

“It’s just a failure to pay rent,” says Eric Metz, BRIC’s attorney.

Metz says in 2001, Feist signed a lease with BRIC, which built the building for the company. In 2004, Yellowbook acquired Feist and eventually took over the lease.

“Basically, there’s unpaid rent for approximately 16 months,” Metz says.

No one with Yellowbook could be reached for comment, though in the past the company has said it doesn’t comment on pending litigation.

This isn’t the first time BRIC sued Yellowbook. In 2007, BRIC filed a lawsuit over what it claimed was Yellowbook’s failure to pay almost $200,000 in property taxes, which the group said was holding up refinancing of its loan on the property.

Yellowbook also faced a lawsuit from Feist in 2009 for what Feist claimed was a violation of the purchase agreement that set a five-year period allowing Yellowbook to use the Feist name.

You don’t say

“If the motley crew of patrons is any indication, the draw of the perfect donut is universal.”

– A AAA lodging and restaurant inspector’s review this week of Wichita’s Donut Whole, which she says makes the world “a happier, more joyful place”

Carrie Rengers first reported these items on her blog. Be among the first to get her business scoops at blogs.kansas.com/haveyouheard.

Got a hot tip or a quirky story? Call Carrie Rengers at 316-268-6340 or e-mail crengers@wichitaeagle.com.

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