Lawrence’s loss is downtown Wichita’s gain.
Brian Helmer and a business partner planned to open their Smarts Doughnut in Lawrence last year but it didn’t work out.
They also planned to work with the University of Kansas to raise money, which is what’s behind the “Smarts” name.
“We were trying to come up with a name that would go along with education, too,” Helmer says.
Now, he’s working to open the business in the former Cero’s Candies space at 1108 E. Douglas, which is just east of Douglas and Washington.
“That intersection … is, like, the busiest intersection in Wichita,” Helmer says, excluding major highways. “There’s a lot of different-type clientele that that location has the potential of bringing in.”
He says there are area residents, business people going to and from work, and Old Town revelers who might need to “sober up some.”
Smarts Doughnut will serve what Helmer calls classic doughnuts, “glorified doughnuts,” which have fancy toppings and fillings, and hot breakfast items. Eventually, the business may offer lunch items as well.
Helmer hoped to have a drive-through, but he says it would have taken away too many parking spots.
The almost 3,000-square-foot space will be divided into a dining area and a recreation area, which will have pool tables and other games. There also will be Wi-Fi and lots of outlets so customers can plug in and hang out.
Helmer has a background in what he calls “the supply chain world,” including warehouse and transportation management. He says his partner, who prefers not to be named, has been in the bar and restaurant business for 35 years.
They hope to open the business by May 1, Helmer says.
“If we can open a little sooner, we will.”