West side's Paperback Emporium is closing

04/07/2010 6:42 AM

04/07/2010 6:42 AM

After 15 years in business in the West Central area between Tyler and Maize Road, the last 10 of which have been at 9320 W. Central, Paperback Emporium is closing.

"We've got customers here that just love us to death, and they're all sad that we're leaving," says owner Sherry Lavender . "These customers have been our friends for years."

A family obligation is forcing Lavender to free up her time and take her sales strictly online.

She'll mainly sell through Amazon .

Lavender says her store's last day is Saturday.

"I'm trying to find a good home for all my books."

Visible move

Stay-Fit Fitness Equipment, which is just across the parking lot from Paperback Emporium, is moving into the bookstore's space.

"We just feel like better visibility is going to help out tremendously," owner Dan Sharshel says.

At 2,800 square feet, Sharshel says the space is about the same size he has now, but it's in a much better location.

Sharshel won't be moving in for two or three months.

"They're going to totally update the building for us," he says of the landlords.

He's already thinking of his next move, though.

"We need to double our square footage," Sharshel says.

He doesn't want to pay what it would cost to do that right now, but Sharshel thinks he'll be ready in another couple of years.

In addition to equipment sales, he says, "Our supplement business is really taking off, too."

When he makes that move, Sharshel says he'd like to stay in the same area.

"People know where we're at."

Purposeful change

Mary's Mexico Cafe at 1930 S. Oliver is now going to be known as Ben Villar's Mexican Restaurant .

"We're changing names for legal purposes," says Kim Villar , Ben's wife.

Brent Helm and William Villar Jr. , Ben's brother, briefly owned the Villar family's former El Mexico Cafe at 2544 S. Seneca but then parted ways.

Helm sought and received a temporary restraining order that prevented William Villar Jr. from competing against El Mexico with any Mexican restaurant other than his Mexico Cafe Delano .

This came after William Villar Jr. made comments to Have You Heard? about how his mother, Mary Villar , planned to open Mary's Mexico Cafe at the former Crossroads Bistro and Steakhouse on South Oliver.

At the time William Villar Jr. said he was not involved with that restaurant, but Helm said he was.

Regardless of whether he was or wasn't, he's not now.

William Villar Jr. is running the Delano restaurant, and Kim and Ben Villar are running the South Oliver restaurant.

Kim Villar says they've added breakfast and daily specials and are "trying to kind of revive the business a little."

Cat's out

Less than a year after opening, the Yellow Cat in Delano is closing.

Ginger Jones opened the store at 613-B W. Douglas last summer to sell books, decorative items, antique collectibles, art and furniture.

She says a combination of the economy and weather hurt sales. Some new health issues convinced her that it was time to close.

The store will remain open until sometime in mid-May.

You don't say

"I'm just worried we're going to have two rhinos out here grazing on the prairie."

Bruce Huss , who owns RynoTek Media Services with his wife, Karen Ryno , on how he's concerned there may be confusion with Creative Rhino moving here and offering many of the same services

About Carrie Rengers

Carrie Rengers joined The Eagle's Business team in 2002 despite her inability to even balance a checkbook. Fortunately for her, and readers, her Have You Heard? blog is about business scoops and contains lots of news but almost no math.

A Michigan native, Carrie’s father was quite tragically transferred to Little Rock, Ark., in the middle of her sophomore year of high school. To make matters worse, her parents put her in a girls school. She recovered, though, and went on to enjoy being an English major at Hendrix College (the Harvard of the Ozarks, don’t you know). She worked for the weekly Arkansas Business and the statewide daily Arkansas Democrat-Gazette before moving to Wichita to be with her favorite writer and cook, husband Joe Stumpe.

Carrie encourages readers to contact her with tips, questions, behind-the-scenes business news and even funny quotes from business people. Reach her at 316-268-6340 or crengers@wichitaeagle.com

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