Dining With Denise Neil

Downtown Wichita doughnut shop closes three weeks after opening

Smarts Doughnut is closed after about three weeks in business.
Smarts Doughnut is closed after about three weeks in business. The Wichita Eagle

Smarts Doughnut is already closed.

The shop, which opened at 3238 E. Douglas in late May, was in business for only about three weeks before it closed. Owners did not return calls on Monday and have not returned them since the shop’s signs went up at the former Lizzie’s Delights Catering space.

Craig Simon of Landmark Commercial Real Estate, who is the leasing agent on the space, confirmed that the owners had closed the business and said he wasn’t sure exactly what their plan was next. He said it’s possible they will turn it into some other kind of business.

Meanwhile, the Smarts v. Hurts lawsuit continues in the courts. Court documents show that a judge in Missouri, where Hurts owners live and filed their suit, has set a trial date for April of next year.

In July 2015, Hurts Donut franchise owners Tim and Kas Klegg, who are based in Springfield and have a Wichita franchise at 7010 W. 21st St., filed a lawsuit against Smarts Doughnut owner Brian Helmer, manager Evan Spicer and business partner Gloria Medrano, contending that Helmer and Spicer were in talks with them in early 2015 to open a Hurts Donut franchise in Lawrence and that they spent several days in their stores gathering information about the business before backing out and making plans to open their own shop in Wichita. The suit alleged that Smarts was using trade secrets from Hurts and asked that the owner be prohibited from opening a business that employs those secrets. It also asks for compensatory and punitive damages.

In March of this year, Helmer and his partners filed a counter claim that said Kas Clegg defamed the Smarts Doughnut owners by knowingly making false allegations against them on Facebook and when speaking to The Wichita Eagle about the dispute. It also said that Kas Clegg disparaged the Smarts’ owners names with vendors, potential vendors and Wichita-area residents, and it alleges that the Cleggs’ motive in filing suit was to slow down the opening of Smarts Doughnut and to run up legal bills so Helmer and his partners could not afford to open. The suit asked for more than $75,000 in damages from both Kas Clegg and T&C, the Cleggs’ company.

I’ll update you on developments at the Smarts space.

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