Carrie Rengers

Myoptix space to be cosmetics boutique

Years ago, Michele Wheeler's dream was to open a small makeup and skin care store. Instead, the former Blockbuster Video executive bought the much larger Beau Monde Spa and Boutique (with a popular makeup bar) at Comotara Center , remodeled and expanded it, and then opened a second location at NewMarket Square .

Now, she's getting back to her first idea with a 1,300-square-foot makeup and skin care boutique in the former Myoptix space at Douglas and Oliver.

Wheeler hasn't settled on a name yet, but it will include the words Beau Monde.

"It's the try-before-you-buy concept," Wheeler says of the products she'll offer.

The store will have limited spa services, such as brow shaping and eyelash extension, but not the full range of spa services like Wheeler's other locations.

"It's really about your face," she says.

For brides who might bring their entire wedding parties in for makeovers, Wheeler says, chair massages will be an option as well.

Unlike her other businesses, which serve women and men, Wheeler says her new place will be much more girly.

"Now we get to really doll it all up for women and girls of all ages."

She loves that she'll be located between Aspen Boutique and Pink Saloon .

And Aspen owner James Smits , who also owns the center with his wife, Monica , is thrilled Beau Monde will open there.

"We thought it was the perfect fit," Smits says. "We have such women's-oriented businesses on that corner already. It just really seems to integrate perfectly with what we're doing."

This, and the opening of Mike's Wine Dive in March, brings the center to 100 percent occupancy.

"We're just pleased that we've been able to maintain a full center," Smits says.

Wheeler says her husband thinks she's crazy for opening a third store.

So will this be it?

"I think you asked me that three years ago when we opened in NewMarket Square," Wheeler says.

So she'll never say never.

"If you talk to me in a couple of years, you'll say, 'You're still crazy.' "

Wazabz, not Wasabi

This must be the week for Japanese restaurant news.

In addition to Emperor's Japanese Grill and Tsu Basa that will be opening on the east side, the Japanese steak house and sushi restaurant Wazabz will open in the former Sumo space at 3236 N. Rock Road.

That's not to be confused with the new Wasabi Japanese Restaurant , which is opening in Old Town .

Wazabz owner Evan Spicer says the Wasabi owner let him know he didn't care for his name choice, but Spicer isn't changing it.

"It's almost kind of like 'hamburger,' " Spicer says. "How are you going to patent that?"

Spicer is an owner in the Chalet , a sports bar at 3030 Penstemon, and a partner in numerous Sonic drive-ups in Kansas.

He wanted to open a Japanese steak house for personal reasons.

"We frequent them all the time, but we don't have an hour and 50 minutes," Spicer says of restaurant trips with his family.

"That's our experience."

He thinks he can offer faster service with a new kind of grill concept.

Spicer has built two grills and a 52-person bar around the grills so individuals or groups can be served.

"It's quicker," he says. "We can get people in and out."

At other Japanese steak houses, Spicer says, there's often a wait for one of the large tables around one of several grills.

Wazabz will be open for lunch and dinner seven days a week.

Eventually Spicer would like to open a Wazabz on the west side. He says it looks like he'll have room to one day expand the east-side Wazabz as well.

Though he's not sure he'll be able to swing it, Spicer hopes to be open by Valentine's Day.

Ayars gone from Key

The last week has been a challenging one for Pat Ayars , to say the least.

Friday was his mother's funeral.

"And then I had a nice little surprise on Monday, and I'm now a free agent."

After more than 11 years as the public face of Key Construction , Ayars lost his position as executive vice president.

You can tell by the shirt he's wearing.

"Everybody at Key wears white shirts... every day, all the time, and, baby, I got a blue one on today," Ayars says.

"There are some philosophical differences, let me say it that way. I shared some of my philosophies at Key pretty strongly over the last year... and I don't know if we connected. That's their choice. It's their firm."

No one at the firm returned calls for comment.

Ayars is now exploring other options and even got an offer Wednesday, though he won't say from whom.

"I'm not in an all-fire hurry," Ayars says.

He says Tuesday was the first time since he was 16 that he was unemployed, and he wants to take about a month before deciding what to do next.

Ayars says he doesn't have any ill feelings toward Key.

"There's plenty of room in the world for all of us."

You don't say

"I'm going to start a rumor about how Uptown Bistro is closing down."

—Restaurateur Melad Stephan on how his business at the east-side Sabor skyrocketed after a Have You Heard? item about how the restaurant was struggling

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