Heroes Sports Bar and Grill has sold, but former managing partner Ryan Gates wants to reassure fans of the 24-year-old Old Town business.
“Nothing is changing – just the ownership,” he says.
“Wichita will not be without Sweet Pepper Bacon Cheeseburgers and Ultimate Bloody Marys.”
Gates’ father, Bud, was an initial investor in Heroes in 1991 and then purchased it outright.
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On Wednesday, the family sold the business to a Wichita buyer who prefers to remain anonymous.
“I’d be lying if I didn’t say it’s an emotional time,” Ryan Gates says. “Obviously, I’m sad to sell Heroes.”
He says he and his father need to focus on their Easyhome rent-to-own business.
In January, Bud Gates purchased all of the U.S. division of the company.
Previously, he’d been the master franchisor for Canada-based Easyhome. He also has operating agreements for 17 of the 48 Easyhome stores – including two in Wichita – in the United States.
“We are growing this company and building it up and supporting multiple franchisees over 50 cities,” says Ryan Gates, who is senior director of marketing.
“We’re focused on the success of Easyhome, and we needed to find a way to make sure we were putting the right amount of focus on Heroes.”
Ryan Gates will help with the transition to the new owner at least through the end of the year.
He says Heroes employees and the memorabilia at the business are “all still in place and will remain in place.”
Gates says he’s happy that someone who can devote attention to the business and keep the same employees and values is who bought Heroes.
“It would be a shame for this to transpire any other way,” he says. “I like the fact that Heroes will go on.”
However, he adds that “it’s odd not to be able to say this is my restaurant.”
“It’ll be an odd shift to go down and become a patron.”
That’s what he’ll do, though, Gates says, because he says Heroes has some of his favorite dishes and is the best place to watch sports.
“That is something I cannot stop doing.”