Carrie Rengers

Bankruptcy helps bird supply shop 'start fresh'

Leftover bills from a former west-side store have forced the owners of the east-side Wild Bird Center to declare bankruptcy.

The store, which sells bird supplies but not birds, will remain open at the Shops at Tallgrass under a new name: Backyard Nature Center .

"It's a little bit of an embarrassment, but it's also a business tool, and I have to think of it that way," co-owner Cathy Clausen says of declaring bankruptcy. "It's totally a business tool that offers relief."

Clausen started the business on the east side with her husband, Nick , 19 years ago.

In 2000, they opened a second store on the west side at Reflection Ridge . Then, because the business was struggling, they moved it to NewMarket Square .

"It just was a big snowball," Clausen says of bills that piled up. "We went five years and said, 'That's it. We can't sink any more money into the west-side store.' "

Since that store closed in 2005, the Clausens have still been paying its bills.

For a long time, they've been contemplating bankruptcy.

"We didn't want to drag the east store down," Clausen says.

Also, the Wild Bird franchise nationally now uses only one vendor, and the Clausens wanted the freedom to use multiple vendors.

"It was a very timely thing for us," Clausen says.

The franchise break wasn't the reason for the bankruptcy, but Clausen says, "It's a good result."

It wasn't an easy break, though. Clausen says her store had been the 14th of almost 100 Wild Bird stores.

"We were one of the pioneers."

Still, Clausen says because of the bankruptcy, things "came together in such a way that we were able to start fresh."

Super move

Laura's Super Tortas owner Jose Barrera is relocating one of his restaurants and changing its name — slightly.

The new restaurant will be at 527 W. 13th St. across from North High School (and just down from Jack's North Hi Carryout ).

Barrera is closing the Laura's near 25th and Arkansas in the Plaza Mexico building.

"The business was OK, but it gets more attractive when the people see your face," Barrera says of owning his own stand-alone building.

His original Laura's, which will remain at 1425 E. Central, has always been more visible.

There has been a string of restaurants — mostly Mexican and Asian — across from North High.

Barrera wants to emphasize that he serves Mexican food by changing his restaurant's name to Laura's Super Tortas Authentic Mexican Food .

He says a lot of people don't know that tortas are Mexican sandwiches.

"They don't associate the concept with Mexican food."

He'll also sell Mexican groceries as he does on East Central.

The new location opens Monday.

Drake drubbing No. 2

Wichita State's 61-38 trouncing of Drake on Friday had to be painful for any Drake University alum, but perhaps particularly so for Wichita City Manager Bob Layton .

Layton took some ribbing for wearing a Drake sweatshirt to the WSU home game.

"I have gone all season without seeing Eric Sexton except for that game," Layton says of the WSU athletic director.

Sexton helpfully suggested where Layton might find some WSU clothing options.

"He told me where I could go look at them, yes."

Layton informed Sexton that he has a WSU sweatshirt that he really does wear.

And Layton wants Wichitans to know he is a loyal WSU fan.

"I talked to Coach (Gregg ) Marshall this summer, and I said I will be a loyal fan except for two games this season."

And to those who tease or criticize him for sporting Drake's logo instead of WSU's, Layton says, "It's hard to give somebody grief whose team is suffering as bad as ours was."

Tweet of the week

"I want Chick-fil-a and I want it NOW! Why don't we have one easily accessible to us here in ICT? I say PETITION! #chickfila."

—Wichitan and rabid Chick-fil-A fan Carrie Robison's (@carriemrobison) Monday tweet on Twitter