Carrie Rengers

KC franchisee buys Wichita's Smashburgers

The Smashburger restaurants in Wichita and Derby have changed from corporate-owned stores to franchises.

"We weren't operating them there as well as we could corporately," says Smashburger Chairman and CEO David Prokupek . "They weren't performing up to our standards."

Kansas City franchisee Ron Chaulk is the new owner.

Chaulk grew up in Salina and is a Wichita State University graduate.

"I have a little bit closer connection with the community and the city," Chaulk says. "We both agreed that I might be able to have a little bit more luck getting things going in the right direction."

Chaulk owns six Smashburgers counting the ones here.

Prokupek says the stores here were profitable for corporate but weren't doing as well as they could.

"Ron's going to continue to... add to the marketplace there and keep growing," he says.

Chaulk says he'll look to west Wichita for a possible second Wichita Smashburger — the first opened in late 2008 near 35th and Woodlawn — but not for at least a year.

"We're going to see how things work out with the two that we have."

Bank on it

It was early August when Have You Heard? first reported that Wink Hartman Sr. was mulling a bank purchase in Butler County.

A confidentiality agreement prevented him from talking.

"I wouldn't look pretty in jail," Hartman said, joking.

He's still not talking, but it looks like that bank is the State Bank of Leon .

On Monday, the legal classifieds in the El Dorado Times published a notice that Hartman, Elizabeth Hartman and Steven Worrell filed a notice of change in bank control with the FDIC .

The parties want to acquire 100 percent of the outstanding shares of the bank, which has $9.6 million in assets as of June 30.

The State Bank of Leon ranks 53rd for deposits out of 57 banks in the Wichita area.

Neither Hartman nor bank representatives could be reached for comment.

Bigger Hissyfits

Hugs & Hissyfits is moving within Shops at Tallgrass at 21st and Rock to part of the former Marshmallow Kisses space.

"We just need to get bigger," owner Lexi Bruner says.

Her 3-year-old shop, which sells clothing and gifts for babies and toddlers, currently is in 1,850 square feet.

Late next week, the store will move to 3,000 square feet of Marshmallow Kisses' former 4,300 square feet.

"There is a portion of the space that we're going to use for a party room," Bruner says.

She's planning themed parties for little boys and girls, such as tea parties and pirate parties.

"We hope that having something to offer for little boys will be something different," Bruner says.

She says her own family life —"having nine children and not wanting to do things at the house" — served as her inspiration.

"It'd be nice to go someplace else and have somebody clean it up for you," Bruner says.

April Reed of Slawson & Co. , the Tallgrass developer, handled the deal.

Hugs & Hissyfits is now more focused on babies than it was when it first opened.

"Baby is what sells," Bruner says. "There's always someone having a baby. Always someone having a shower."

She's not entirely sure why business is up just now — strong customer service by the family members she employs could be the reason, Bruner says — but she's enjoying it.

"We feel really good about it."

You don't say

"Unfortunately, we are nice to our patties and do not smash them, so I could not use their services."

Ben Arnold of Corporate Caterers of Wichita , who was contacted by some former corporate Smashburger employees looking for work

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