Healy Biodiesel, a 5-year-old Sedgwick company, is a few weeks away from moving into new space that will allow it to triple its production.
“We make biodiesel from oils – used cooking oil primarily,” president Ben Healy says. “We are producing probably … about a quarter-million gallons a year currently.”
The biodiesel can be used in cars and trucks.
With a new plant in a Sedgwick industrial park at 250 Industrial Drive, Healy says he expects to be able to produce a million gallons of biodiesel a year.
So what’s that mean for the company?
“A lot more headaches,” he says, perhaps only half joking.
“We’re going to need to add employees,” Healy says.
He’ll also need to add more used cooking oil clients, “which is the backbone of our business.”
Healy particularly will look to Wichita restaurants for help with that.
The expansion also “means we’re going to distribute more fuel to the local market.”
Healy says he’d love to make a deal with QuikTrip or Kwik Shop.
“That would be a goal of ours.”
For now, all of Healy Biodiesel’s product is sold out of Sedgwick.
Healy says he’ll have one half of a new 12,000-square-foot building while partner and fabricator W.B. Services takes the other.
“We fabricate custom-made oil collection tanks for restaurants,” Healy says.
He says the product allows restaurants to directly pump their oil into the tanks “so that they don’t ever have to dump grease again.”
Healy says there also are anti-theft valves and locks on the tanks.
“Our systems have never been stolen from,” he says. “That’s a pretty exciting thing.”
Dueling in Wichita
The deal is still somewhat in the works, but it looks like Ernie Biggs Dueling Piano Bar is coming to the former Gaslamp Grille & Lounge near Central and Rock Road.
“We were divided on that spot or something downtown,” says Jay Hickman.
Hickman and Daniel Bryant are partners in the chain.
There are three Ernie Biggs locations in Missouri — Branson, Kansas City and Springfield — and one in Little Rock, Ark.
The Wichita Ernie Biggs will open May 9.
Gaslamp owner Whitney VinZant, who couldn’t be reached for comment, may or may not be a partner in Ernie Biggs.
“We don’t have all that finalized yet,” Hickman says. “We’re trying to work out a deal right now with him and that spot.”
Hickman says there’s no question Ernie Biggs will happen, though. A new sign went up Thursday.
Initially, the bar will be open Wednesday through Saturday.
“We’ll probably add a Tuesday night on down the road,” Hickman says.
Eventually, he’ll also probably add burgers, sandwiches and appetizers.
Hickman says the east side’s demographics are what determined the final location. He says he expects to attract an older crowd early and a more college-age crowd later in the evening.
“We did a lot of research on the market,” Hickman says. “People have been telling us to go there for years. … It just seems like this was our natural progression to go to Wichita next.”
You don’t say
“I notice as I get closer to retirement, they keep saying he will make short comments or brief comments.”
– Wichita State University president Don Beggs after being introduced at Thursday’s Cooperative Education breakfast
Carrie Rengers first reported these items on her blog. Be among the first to get her business scoops at blogs.kansas.com/haveyouheard.