Carrie Rengers

Layoffs get Jajo back to 'fighting weight'

Jajo laid off seven of its employees Friday, which leaves 10 people at the advertising agency. "We made some hard choices along with some rough decisions today, and we feel we're back down to our fighting weight," managing partner Steve Randa says.

"We had a considerable decrease in our billings in the last year. We made some adjustments last year, but we tried to retain as much of a team as possible for as long as we could. We had to correct harder today."

Billings are at $6.8 million. At its peak, Jajo had about 23 employees and $14.1 million in billings.

Randa says there are a number of potential new deals for the agency, but he says, "You can't run a business on maybes."

Jajo formed in 2003 and quickly became focused on aircraft work. At one time, that accounted for as much as about 60 percent of its business, with clients such as Hawker Beechcraft , for which the agency now does "very, very little" work.

"That was something when you're young and starting out, you're just glad to be getting work," Randa says. "There was a lot of time when we could have been looking for new business and we chose to... just continue working on the clients that we had with not a lot of searching for growth.

"In retrospect, yeah, we should have been selling right along with doing."

Diversification is now the agency's top priority.

"It's tough right now," Randa says.

The remaining employees have taken 10 percent pay cuts.

The layoffs were distributed evenly across account services and creative, Randa says.

"We love our team like a family, and it's really hard to get rid of any of them."

Office treats

Bethel House is known for the new senior living centers it's building in Wichita, but the health care company is now preparing to start a new cooking studio, too.

"The whole focus and our thought is that we are thinking health-conscious, very tasty food," says Christine Bacci , Bethel House's director of operations.

Taste & See Everyday Gourmet will offer classes to show "how to prepare that heart-healthy, diet-conscious cuisine that is delicious."

It will open in 1,700 square feet at Office This , where Bethel House's headquarters is, on East Harry.

Bacci says Taste & See also will deliver hot, prepared food around Wichita and open its doors for parties and corporate events.

She says there will be date night cooking classes for couples and other special cooking classes, such as for children.

"Oh, my gosh, everybody loves to eat," Bacci says. "You know, good times. Family times. Friend times. It's something that brings people together.

"It's just a great option."

You don't say

"... before hearings one prominent defense lawyer used to take a Valium, which he called 'the Judge Brown pill.' "

—An excerpt from a Thursday New York Times story on 103-year-old U.S. District Court Judge Wesley Brown , who used to be known for his temper but these days is considered a softie

  Comments