Wichitan Klaus Viljanmaa grew up in Finland in a family that was crazy for cars and motorcycles, but his father issued an edict that no Mercedes-Benz would ever be found in his driveway.
He told his children those cars are for "better people," meaning uppity ones.
His father relented, though, which is good for Viljanmaa, who this week bought his fourth Mercedes — a 2011 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG , for $240,000.
"The cars are half price," Viljanmaa says of what cars cost in the United States versus Finland. "So I wouldn't complain here."
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Scholfield Auto Plaza general manager Bobby Cuillo isn't complaining, either.
"He's an unbelievable repeat customer of mine," Cuillo says of Viljanmaa.
Just to be able to sell the car was a coup for Cuillo.
There are only 475 of them that will be built this year, and there are 355 Mercedes-Benz dealerships nationally. The ones in bigger metro areas, particularly on the coasts, are the dealerships that generally get the exclusive cars.
"We had to go to bat with Mercedes," Cuillo says.
Ordinarily, he wouldn't have gotten to sell the car for another two or three years.
Cuillo, though, could show Mercedes his dealership's market penetration and industry-leading customer satisfaction.
"It's a real success," he says. "It's great for Wichita, too."
Cuillo says he has a "phenomenal relationship" with Mercedes-Benz, but still the company wanted to know who was going to get the car.
"They want it in the hands of Mercedes aficionados."
Viljanmaa is a car and motorcycle aficionado — period.
Cuillo says he appreciates Viljanmaa's love of vehicles, but he also likes his personal story.
Viljanmaa's family was involved with Lions Clubs International in Finland, and he came here as part of an exchange program.
Wichitan Traci Hutchings' family was a host family. She saw about 15 potential exchange students in pictures.
"She claims she saw me and chose me from that picture," Viljanmaa says.
Years later, the two married and now have three children.
"She calls me the mail-order boy."
Viljanmaa's family had a company in Finland that sold military and safety shoes. He was the fourth generation in the business, but the family sold it in 2008.
Viljanmaa is still on the board and travels to Finland regularly for meetings.
He's also investing in Finnish companies that likely will go international and could bring business to Wichita.
In his downtime, he spends a lot of time racing his cars.
Viljanmaa's twin brother, Kyosti , has a $1.7 million Bugatti Veyron that Viljanmaa says is the kind of car where you try to keep the mileage low.
"I don't see the sense of keeping something in the garage," Viljanmaa says.
"I like to drive the cars that I have almost every day."
Case in point: Viljanmaa was driving his rarest car, a Porsche Carrera GT , when the previous owner called. He asked where Viljanmaa was, which was Walmart .
"He didn't believe me."
Viljanmaa has 17 motorcycles and eight cars with another, a Porsche 911 GT2 RS , on the way.
If you ask him how many cars he's bought from Scholfield, the answer is just what Cuillo would want to hear:
"Seven so far."
His garage can hold 14 cars. "So I guess that's the limit today in the house."
His foyer has one area in the center with a circular glass floor to see down to his custom Kris Krome bike.
He wanted to add the new Mercedes to his collection because "it's a cool, retro car."
It's designed to be a modern revival of the Gullwing models of the past, with winged doors that swing open upwards.
The aluminum frame is painted Monza gray with a distinctive matte finish.
Viljanmaa wants other Wichitans to know they can get exceptional cars here.
"There's a lot of nice cars in Wichita."
Cuillo also is quick to add that for anyone who might like the same Mercedes-Benz Viljanmaa bought, "There's an excellent chance that we can get another one."
Viljanmaa says his wife teases him that he's a shopaholic. He often simply shows up at home with a new vehicle.
"Sometimes I'm not too good about asking things."
A few businesses that Have You Heard? previously reported on are in various stages of opening or reopening.
* The newly remodeled Toys "R" Us store at 8011 E. Kellogg is having a grand reopening this weekend as it debuts the new Babies "R" Us store at the same site.
"This store format provides an exceptional shopping convenience for time-strapped parents, who are shopping for children of various ages," spokeswoman Katelyn DeRogatis said when first telling us the news in May.
* The official grand opening won't be until the weekend of Sept. 11, but Personally Yours reopened Friday at NewMarket Square at 21st and Maize Road.
Previously, the shop was at 21st and Tyler.
Linda Webb's boutique for women and babies specializes in personalization of gifts through embroidery.
* Ron and Bonnie Fehr are opening the second Wichita PostNet on Sept. 1 at Auburn Pointe at 135th West and Maple.
Jim and Liz Anderson opened the first PostNet, a FedEx Office competitor, at the Village at Greenwich at 21st and Greenwich in late 2008.
* Finally, Jan Munroe and her sister-in-law, Jo Degner , have opened their Material Girls Quilt Shoppe in the Travel Air Building in Delano .
In addition to retail sales, Material Girls will offer a range of classes as well.
You don't say
"Man, they get paid to work out and sleep? I was like, I'm there."
—Firefighter Brad Gregory , joking in the interview portion of a firefighters calendar contest Thursday about what inspired his career choice