Monarch owner Jennifer Ray’s Tuesday started with a 6 a.m. call from her alarm company.
“You know, the horrible pit in your stomach when the alarm company calls is the worst part,” she says.
Ray says she was relieved to hear it was a motion detector that set off the alarm.
“I thought it was a false alarm.”
It wasn’t, though.
Someone had broken in her glass door at her bar and restaurant, which is at the roundabout in Delano, and made off with a couple of bottles of liquor. So Ray headed to the bar to meet police with her toothbrush, makeup and hair straightener “so I could get ready in the bathroom.”
Things did not improve from there.
First, she broke her favorite Wade Hampton-designed coffee mug, which shattered when she dropped it.
Then, while attempting to pull something out of a drawer, Ray knocked an entire container full of clear push-pins to the floor.
“At that point, I’m crawling on my hands and knees on the floor trying to collect all these clear push-pins that I can’t quite find.”
Later in the day, she stepped on one.
A while later, one of Ray’s waitresses “turns around with a pot of coffee and just slings it across my middriff, across my shirt. At that point, I’m covered in scalding hot coffee.”
She used a dish sprayer to hose off the coffee.
“I literally wrung my shirt out and said, ‘I’m done, I’m going home.’ ”
The next day’s a new day, right?
Except it was Groundhog Day for Ray.
“Five o’clock in the morning, it started all over again.”
Her alarm company called to say her new glass door was broken into once again.
Except that day the thirsty visitor “made himself a nice little to-go beverage” in addition to taking a backpack full of bottles.
“The police were there by the time he was ready to go,” Ray says. “I am thoroughly impressed with the Wichita Police Department.”
She called her glass company again.
“I said, ‘This is Jen from the Monarch. Do you have a frequent-flier discount?’”
Fortunately for Ray, her graphics company hadn’t replaced the graphics on her door yet because the business had a trailer stolen from its property and was running behind.
Ray’s neighbor, Curt Melzer at the Vagabond, says the same man who was arrested at the Monarch also is on video at his place taking bottles a couple of times over a three-week period.
“It was pretty frustrating,” he says.
Then again, Melzer says, “It’s part of being in business.”
He’s owned a number of bars through the years.
“I’ve never had a bar that hasn’t been broken into at least once,” he says. “The irony is there’s only three hours of the day that the building’s not occupied.”
He says having someone there for those three hours might be cheaper than an alarm system and replacing broken items, “but you gotta sleep sometime.”
Melzer says he’s made some changes to improve security.
Ray is considering some changes but not others. For instance, she isn’t giving up coffee.
“Listen, lady, we can not afford to ban coffee from the restaurant – ever,” she says. “Push pins, maybe. Scotch tape from here on out.”