Business

Kitchen Place has new owner

A longtime Wichita specialty builder is under new management.

Pat Lang, who formerly headed construction efforts for Jack DeBoer's Value Place hotel operation, has purchased the Kitchen Place, 7732 E. Central, from owner Jess Frieze. The Kitchen Place is a design and build general contractor for kitchen and other building renovations, assembling a team of architects and subcontractors to "solve the customer's problems," Frieze said. The purchase price was not disclosed.

"We do high-end kitchens, utilizing a lot of subcontractors and three active salespeople," Lang said. "We do libraries, anything involved with cabinetry, bars, outdoor kitchens, family rooms, bathrooms, master bathrooms. In a new house, we'll do all the cabinetry that goes into it. Anything involving any type of case goods."

Lang called the acquisition a "dovetailing of my enjoyment for cooking with learning all of the trade particulars of what's new in the market to adapt to people's wants." He plans no changes to the business.

"I'm more interested in learning and adding another dimension to the business," he said.

Lang brings a broad construction background to the business, including time in private business in Pittsburgh, Pa. He ran a construction operation for CMI Corp. in Oklahoma City and worked with Koch Industries' performance roads division in Wichita until Koch got out of that business.

"For the past year, I've kind of been looking around for something," Lang said. "The banking industry closed development, so I parted ways with Value Place and looked for a business here in Wichita.

"The more I looked at the quality of work this company does, the differentiation of the market for their product and the quality of product, the more I liked it. The sales and marketing effort here is based on products people really like. They don't have to do this, but they enjoy doing it. Lots of comfort for the customer, and they're happy these projects are done. So this fit really well. Jess and his team do high-quality work, and their reputation for integrity is a winner."

Frieze, 65, whose family founded the business in 1946, said he has no immediate plans to retire, instead planning to work for Lang for at least two years during the transition.

"I'm still having fun," Frieze said. "It's a great business. It's creative. You get to work with a lot of interesting people. In order to make the business continue and prosper, it's my commitment to stay with it at least another two years. It's just time."

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