Plans are on schedule for the new Kobe Steak House of Japan to open in the former Tokyo Steakhouse at 1221 N. Rock Road in Derby in early March.
With the opening, the original Kobe at 650 N. Carriage Parkway will close in late February. It's been in business for 30 years.
"We have a great following at the old Kobe," says Jim Hamlin , who owns the restaurant chain with Jim West .
Diners increasingly requested a sushi bar, though.
"There's a lot of people that request it every day," Hamlin says. "There was not a good place (for one) in that building, and it was dated, so we decided to move and open up a new spot for them."
He's been renting the space, and the lease is up.
There's also a Kobe in North Maize Place near 21st and Maize Road.
Hamlin and West would like an east Wichita Kobe as well but haven't had luck finding a 6,000-square-foot building in a good area with great traffic.
Before opening on the east side here, Hamlin says, he plans to move the company's Omaha restaurant to a new spot (there's also one in St. Louis) and add a sushi bar there as well.
"And then we'll probably come back and focus on Wichita," he says.
In the meantime, Hamlin says, he thinks he can reach new customers in Derby and retain his longtime customers here.
"It'll be a little bit of a drive, but I think it'll be worth the drive."
PR is Key
Key Construction's Fort Worth office has hired a public relations firm, but it's not related to Pat Ayars 'departure from the company.
Ayars, formerly the public face of Key, lost his job as executive vice president last week.
Dallas and Fort Worth-based News Release Pro is an online PR firm that focuses on construction, development, design and real estate markets.
"What they're doing is just meeting with them on more of a consulting basis," says Dave Wells , Key's president.
"They must have figured they needed some input."
In tough times, he says, it's not a bad idea to look at ways to increase company visibility. Fort Worth is the only market where Key is hiring a PR firm.
No one specific person will replace Ayars here, Wells says. Instead, a number of people will be more visible.
"You'll see a lot more of everybody."
You don't say
"They've actually trained a monkey, and he's sitting at my desk right now."
—Tim Brown , the new director of development for Via Christi Foundation , joking about who has his old job at the Salvation Army