Carrie Rengers

Auntie Mae’s Cafes and Port of Wichita have closed

The west-side Auntie Mae’s near Central and Tyler.
The west-side Auntie Mae’s near Central and Tyler. The Wichita Eagle

A few months after reopening the Port of Wichita, and a few years after opening their first Auntie Mae’s Cafe, Albert and Michael Conrad have closed both concepts.

That includes an east-side Auntie Mae’s at Harry and Webb Road and a west-side one near Central and Tyler. The Port, which has gone through a couple of ownership changes in the past couple of years, shared a parking lot with Auntie Mae’s on the east side.

“Summer business has changed a lot,” Michael Conrad says. “After we opened the Port, it just seemed like the support on the east side died off.”

He says problems followed on the west side as well.

With rising food costs and then a death in the family, Conrad says they “just decided it … was time for us to move on.”

“We’re just going to take a little time and try to rediscover ourselves,” he says.

“We’ve dedicated the last four and a half years to this. We’re just going to take some us time and take it slow.”

The Conrads are working on an auction with Equip-Bid Auctions. A date hasn’t been set yet.

Michael Conrad says he doubts they would ever reopen another restaurant or bar.

“Probably not.”

For their next venture, he says they’ll look for something “more self sustainable.”

Conrad says small business in general is a challenge.

“You know, the environment … it’s not conducive for small businesses anymore. It’s all geared towards corporate. There’s no real programs to support the small business people anymore,” he says. “If you’re really wealthy and you own a big corporation, you get all kinds of tax breaks and that stuff, but there’s really not anything for the little guys.”

Reach Carrie Rengers at 316-268-6340 or crengers@wichitaeagle.com. Follow her on Twitter: @CarrieRengers.

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