Carrie Rengers

New stores planned for Blockbuster locations

Blockbuster stores around the Wichita area continue to close — and more closings are planned — but neither the local owner nor anyone with corporate will discuss it.

"Legally as per our franchise agreement with Blockbuster Corporate I am not allowed to comment on any issues regarding Blockbuster," Ryan Wasinger of Major Video of Kansas said in an e-mail.

Major Video is part of Fugate Enterprises .

Patty Sullivan, a spokeswoman for Blockbuster nationally, said in an e-mail: "Blockbuster does not comment on any individual store closings. We have previously stated that we are in the process of recapitalizing the company, and reducing the number of stores in the U.S. is part of that effort."

There are several new stores planned for various Blockbuster spaces.

It looks like Cindy Warren is planning to bring two shoe stores to the former Blockbuster space near 21st and Maize Road.

Warren owns Heads Village Shoe Store at Douglas and Oliver, Fair Village Shoe Store at 2407 W. 13th St., the New Balance shoe store at 1720 N. Webb, and the Little Feet Boutique children's shoe store adjoining Heads.

It sounds like the store at 21st and Maize Road will be divided into a New Balance and possibly a Heads store. It does not look like any of Warren's current stores will be closing.

Across town at Kellogg and Rock Road, the Blockbuster on the southeast corner apparently will be closing, and Mattress Firm is negotiating to take the space.

One of Mattress Firm's current Wichita stores is in Eastgate Plaza just east of the Blockbuster at Kellogg and Rock.

It appears that the Mattress Firm deal isn't done yet, but the New Balance and Heads deal is.

The Blockbuster at 21st and Amidon in the Twin Lakes Shopping Center and one near Maple and West Street also are closing, though there's no word yet on what may replace those stores.

The Blockbuster on East Harry closed earlier this year. It was a lease, and it looks like the store simply closed when the lease was up.

Employees at the dozen or so Blockbusters in the area have been instructed not to discuss anything related to the closings.

Look for more news on the shoe stores and Mattress Firm soon.

More BBQ

At a time when a lot of businesses are downsizing or even closing, All Things BBQ in Delano is going to double its space.

That's after barely over a year in business.

"We just see a real strong following of people who are interested in having a place where they can come to get all of the barbecue supplies," says owner Don Cary .

He and his wife, Kathy , opened the business in 1,700 square feet at 615 W. Douglas west of the Delano clock tower in July 2009.

Now, they're taking another 1,700 square feet at 617 W. Douglas.

Part of the expanded space will be for the Carys' Yoder Smokers . That's their company that manufactures barbecue smokers and pellet grills.

"We need more space on the floor ... for people to be able to see them," Don Cary says.

All Things BBQ also sells items such as seasonings, rubs, marinades, fuel and barbecue accessories.

At his wife's insistence, Cary says, he's adding a gift-wrapping station, which he agrees is probably a smart idea.

Cary says when he's talked with other people in the barbecue business, he's found that "when the economy tightens, their barbecue business has always gone up."

He says he found it "just interesting to hear that."

Cary feels good about his future business.

"I think it's going to continue to grow for us nicely."

On the move — again

Maharaja owner Raj Singh is looking to leave 3008 W. Central where the restaurant moved early this year.

Singh says he thinks the east side might be a better area for him.

"I'm thinking about that, if we can improve there."

He first opened in late 2008 at 1701 N. Broadway, which Singh also says was not ideal to attract diners.

His lease on Central is through February, so Maharaja will remain open until then.

We'll let you know when he finds east-side space.

You don't say

"I don't know how in the hell they can roast me. I'm too wonderful."

—Businessman George "Little Georgie" Ablah , whose good friends Charles Koch , Tom Devlin and Lindy Andeel will roast him Friday to benefit the American Diabetes Association