Carrie Rengers

Eck's Marine World relocates to west side

Les Eck is moving his Marine World from Rusty Eck Ford on East Kellogg to its own space at 7979 W. Kellogg.

"You know the ironic thing about 7979 West Kellogg?" Eck says. "I used to wash cars there in the 1970s."

His father, Rusty , had a used car lot there.

"That same damn building was there till I razed it last week," Eck says.

He says he didn't even do a walk-through before razing it because it was a junky building even in the 1970s.

Eck is moving Marine World, which sells new and used boats, wakeboards and accessories, for two reasons.

"My current Marine World service is taking up half of my Quick Lane ," he says of the no-appointment-necessary service center.

"I'm not giving fast enough turn time in my Quick Lane with the growth that we've had," Eck says.

He says half the cars that come there for things such as tire replacements and oil changes aren't even Fords.

"To take care of my customers better, I am going to double the capacity of my Quick Lane," Eck says.

He also says Marine World will improve in its own space.

"The boats will be 60 feet from the door," Eck says.

He says boats aren't like cars that can simply be brought up from a back lot.

Marine World's size will double and allow for more boats to be displayed.

The business recently added Malibu to its line, which already included brands such as MasterCraft and Sea-doo .

In addition to being roomier, Eck also likes the West Kellogg space for its visibility and easy access.

"It'll make boat service much more efficient."

New BG president

BG Products is getting a new president, but the company's current president isn't going anywhere.

Galen Myers has been president of the company, which manufactures automotive chemicals, since 1993 and chairman and CEO since 2000.

Myers will remain chairman and CEO, and Michigan businessman Darin Greseth will become the new president as of April.

The 68-year-old Myers says he once "was younger, and I could do it all."

Now, though, "It's time to bring some young, energetic people in."

Greseth owns Premaco Michigan , which distributes BG Products. He will remain an owner in the company in addition to being president at BG Products.

In only 13 years in business, Premaco Michigan has become No. 7 in sales for all BG distributors.

"So we've grown very rapidly," Greseth says.

He's never previously worked for BG Products but Greseth has spent his more than 25-year career working at places that distribute the company's products.

Three years ago, Greseth joined the board for BG Products. He's been in charge of the company's marketing committee.

Other than that corporate experience, Greseth says, "I'm pretty much going to be the first (president) that ever had completely a field background."

In addition to building the best products, Greseth says, "Our focus from here on out is growth."

Myers says a couple of years ago, the company identified five initiatives to help grow BG Products.

They include building the company's new facility in El Dorado, international development, future technologies, diversification and strategic alliances with other companies.

Those are still goals, Myers says, and the company has seen growth year to year, "which is exciting."

BG Products sells worldwide in more than 50 countries. International business accounts for 15 percent of sales.

The company has 185 employees, which is down from 200 due to attrition.

"We've worked on efficiencies also in our plan," Myers says.

He uses "work" in a loose sense.

"You know, I don't even work today," Myers says of his love for his job. "I still have the passion."

But he says it's great that Greseth is coming on board, too, because even though he has the desire and passion, "A horse wears out after so many races."

Pizza, pizza office

Little Caesars franchisees Austin Morris and his father, Brian , are preparing to expand in Wichita and now have their first office.

Previously, they were working out of their homes.

Now, they've leased 1,600 square feet at Market Centre at First and Market.

Adam Clements of Grubb & Ellis/Martens Commercial Group handled the deal.

There are several Little Caesars franchisees in the Wichita area.

The Morrises have restaurants at 4100 E. Harry and 2548 S. Seneca.

"We're just looking to sign a deal with corporate right now to start expanding," Austin Morris says.

He plans to bring another five to six Little Caesars sites, with the first one coming in about six months.

"Southeast is where we're focusing on right now," Morris says.

His new neighbors at Market Centre may be disappointed to learn he isn't planning to sell pizza there.

Clements laughs and says, "We'll work on that, though."

'What did you do?!'

A good PR executive has to be ready for any situation, but Kansas Masonic Home director of marketing Jill Laffoon was still a little stunned by a call from executive director Shawn Sullivan on Tuesday.

"How do I apologize to the Washington Post ?" Sullivan asked.

"I'm like, 'Oh, my god, what did you do?' " Laffoon says.

Sullivan and the Masonic Home's Matthew Bogner were at the U.S. Capitol with Larksfield Place CEO Valerie McGhee to lobby for health care on behalf of seniors.

During a break from one of their meetings, Laffoon says, they wandered into a hearing where "they quickly realize it's the Toyota CEO speaking."

And they were in a press-only area. Specifically, they were in seats designated for the Washington Post.

Laffoon says a security guard informed them of this "in maybe not as friendly of terms as we're used to hearing in Kansas."

Laffoon didn't think a formal apology was necessary. Instead, she used Twitter to tweet on behalf of Sullivan:

Sorry. We didn't know these seats were taken.

You don't say

"But then again, I'm blindly optimistic about just about anything.... I can sell ice to Eskimos. I just have to have people to talk to."

Elizabeth Barker , who just joined Prudential Dinning-Beard in her first real estate job, on how she isn't daunted to enter the field during such a trying economy