Last month, Have You Heard? reported that after three decades, Craig Burns left First American Title and had plans to open a new company.
He's now formed Security 1st Title and, with partners, has purchased First American operations in six metropolitan Wichita counties.
Burns says that creates the largest title insurance company in Kansas.
"I've always dreamed of having ownership in a company," says Burns, whose title will be chief executive.
"My mid-life crisis was quit my job and follow my dream," says Burns, who just turned 50.
He isn't disclosing terms of his purchase.
The 115 employees currently with First American Title will keep their jobs.
Officers include: David Armagost , president; Jennifer Weast , executive vice president and secretary and treasurer; and senior vice presidents Brandon Knowles , Glenn Edwards and Michael Brown .
Myoptix to close
Word first started circulating weeks ago that Myoptix Fashion Eyewear may close, and now it's happening.
"I'd been sick for a long time, and of course they tore up the road," says owner Jon Herrscher of his space at the northwest corner of Douglas and Oliver.
The economy, though, probably has been the biggest factor.
"I just have to close up," Herrscher says. "There's no traffic anymore."
He'll stay open for another week or two to sell his inventory, which Herrscher says he's reduced to his cost or below.
He's owned the shop for more than seven of its approximately 10 years in business.
Part of the problem is his space is too large, Herrscher says. So he may reopen somewhere else at some point.
If "we just found a little smaller place, more quaint would be better."
There's also a chance Herrscher could just sell wholesale or partner with an eye doctor.
"I'm not quite sure what my plans are," he says. But there's "no use keeping it open."
Myoptix isn't the only business closing on that corner.
As Have You Heard? previously reported, Caffe Posto's last day in business is Sunday, and Barrier's will close early in the new year.
When to fold 'em
After losing its legal battle to keep its Kandu Challenge card game and facing ensuing financial struggles, Highlands Gastropub and Cardroom has closed.
"At some point, you gotta know when you're beat," says operations coordinator Shane McCullough .
Last month, Highlands representatives said they hoped to fight a Sedgwick County District Court ruling that Kandu is a game of chance and thus prohibited by Kansas law. They are still planning to appeal the decision.
In the meantime, though, financial problems have been mounting.
McCullough says he doesn't blame the media, but he says news reports made it sound like when Highlands lost Kandu, the business closed.
"And so people, understandably so, thought we were out of business," he says.
And those who knew it was still open may have been afraid to come.
"Are they putting themselves in any kind of legal jeopardy or turmoil just by walking through the door?" McCullough says they wondered.
In the middle of trying to weigh what to do, he says a couple of payroll checks bounced this week, including that of the head chef's. That was the breaking point.
"The odds of overcoming the obstacles in front of us were diminishing," McCullough says. "There was no longer much hope for a positive future."
He says Highlands could reopen in another location if there's a successful court ruling, but that's potentially a ways off.
"We did not really anticipate them coming after us like they did in the end," McCullough says of legal authorities. Before Highlands opened in November 2008, he says, "We'd had multiple conversations with the D.A. and A.G. and were routinely told they didn't have a problem with the game."
The landlord for the Highlands building, which is at 3731 N. Rock Road, is already showing the space.
You don't say
"My crystal ball is completely murky."
—Berry Cos. president Walter Berry's comment to a group of people commiserating about the economy during the Wichita Aero Club mixer Thursday