The Wichita City Hall Cafe is going to reopen Jan. 3 under new management. The same group that manages the Petroleum Club , the Walkway Cafe at the Bank of America Center and the Atrium Cafe at the Ruffin Building is going to provide food service at City Hall.
"We just kind of have a concept going that's fairly easy to duplicate," says general manager Kathy Latham .
She wasn't looking to expand her food service.
City Council member Jeff Longwell happened to be at the Bank of America Center for an event and had some of her group's food.
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"I thought their food was delicious," he says.
City Hall had just lost its food provider, so Longwell suggested Latham submit a proposal.
"It's all about timing I suppose," he says.
Longwell says Latham's group has a great track record.
"It should be a natural to have a cafe that people can rely on," he says.
Latham says her staff does an excellent job, though she thinks City Hall will be it for expansions.
"I don't want to go past my limit of what we can do successfully and good," she says. "I don't want to stretch ourselves to where we're just slinging food."
Longwell is thrilled the City Hall deal with Latham worked out.
"Trust me," he says, "when you weigh as much as I do, you know good food."
Count Helen Thomas as another laid-off worker who is using the opportunity to follow her dream. Except in her case, she didn't know her dream could be her job.
Thomas is best known as the longtime marketing director for Wesley Medical Center . She then became marketing director for Wichita Area Technical College , where she was laid off more than a year ago.
"While looking for a job, I decided I was going to make a quilt for our bed," Thomas says.
That led to an epiphany.
"I should stop looking for a job and employ myself doing this," she thought.
So she's opening Tallgrass Quiltworks at 629 Walnut in Augusta.
"I've always been crazy about quilts," Thomas says. "It's like I had this ah-ha moment. I was like, 'Whoa, wait a minute. I should be doing this.' "
She's been working on opening for about nine months.
"I did the usual things that small-business people are supposed to do and don't always do," Thomas says. She met with a small-business advisor, she did a cash-flow analysis, investigated her competition "and decided that I actually could make it work."
Thomas will do longarm quilting. Her machine is supposed to arrive next week, and she'll be in business in about a month.
She'll offer a range of services including repairs and commissions. Thomas also will finish quilts for customers and teach beginning quilting classes.
"This is a way to be able to do what I love and actually have an income as well."
Bugs taking off
After decades in business, Fashion Bug at Westgate Market on West Kellogg is closing.
"In the process of renegotiation, they decided to close it down," assistant manager Vickie Krehbiel says.
The Twin Lakes and Derby Fashion Bugs will remain open.
Fashion Bug sells women's clothing and is offering merchandise at 30 to 50 percent off until the store closes in late January.
You don't say
"In my opinion, it's just adding to our juju."
—Mort's general manager Emma Russell on how a new patio cover will enhance the bar (making it warmer in the winter, cooler in the summer and open during inclement weather) and not mess with its juju