Carrie Rengers

Jack DeBoer talks life after Value Place and WoodSpring Suites

The Gander Mountain building has been vacant since 2017 when the outdoor products retailer went bankrupt.
The Gander Mountain building has been vacant since 2017 when the outdoor products retailer went bankrupt. File photo

As Nationwide Hotel Management re-establishes a Wichita headquarters to manage 115 WoodSpring Suites and grow the business, Jack DeBoer is about to be completely out of the chain he founded.

“Because I want out, and that’s the deal. I just have enough going on,” DeBoer says.

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“They’re doing a good job. It’s in good hands,” he says. “We built a great base, and I think they’ll be successful.”

One thing DeBoer, who turns 88 in January, is focusing on is WaterWalk International.

That’s his combination apartment and upper-end extended-stay hotel concept. He has eight in various stages of development.

Then, of course, there’s his WaterWalk development downtown, which seems to be confounding him a bit.

“It’s a business I don’t know anything about,” DeBoer says.

A Bass Pro Shop once was planned for the mixed-use development and a Gander Mountain opened instead and then closed last year.

“I’ve had opportunities to do, you know, a restaurant or something, and I’ve said, ‘No.’ ”

DeBoer says he’s willing to take more time to be sure he makes the right decisions.

“It’s the key piece of land in all of Wichita,” he says. “I don’t want to spend my life screwing it up.”

Reach Carrie Rengers at 316-268-6340 or crengers@wichitaeagle.com.
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