Dining With Denise Neil

Wichita is losing one of its frozen treat purveyors

All local Rita’s Italian Ice stores are closing for good.
All local Rita’s Italian Ice stores are closing for good. The Wichita Eagle

Wichita’s two Rita’s Italian Ice stores are not going to reopen after all, franchisee Jay Miller said today.

Miller, along with his brother and partner Jeff, will instead close the stores at 2929 N. Rock Road and 1021 E. Douglas permanently. They’re also closing their store at 2221 N. Lorraine in Hutchinson.

“It was not an easy decision,” said Jay Miller. “We just aren’t’ making enough money on them. In fact, we are losing money.”

All three stores have been closed for the winter since late November, but the Millers, who also own the local Five Guys franchises, had planned to reopen them on March 1. About a month ago, they changed their minds. It’s been hard, Jay Miller said, to know what to say to frozen ice fans who ask when the stores will reopen.

“We had every intention to reopen on March 1, but we reviewed everything and just decided it wasn’t going to fly,” Jay Miller said. “We did have some die-hard fans. We just didn’t have enough of them.”

The first Rita’s opened in March 2014 on North Rock Road, followed by the Douglas store in May 2015. Hutchinson opened shortly after that.

The spaces will be put up for lease, Jay Miller said.

“We’re bummed,” he said. “But we want to thank all of our supporters.”