Carrie Rengers

Veranda Senior Living centers to close

Wichita businessman Max Cole says he’s learned an important lesson from his Veranda Senior Living centers.

“Don’t go into any business you don’t know.”

Cole is closing the business, which he opened on the east and west sides of Wichita as Gracious Senior Living in 2010.

“Just one fiasco after another kept us from being full,” Cole says.

“If we were full, we still couldn’t make any money, and I’m tired of losing money.”

Cole says his business has “home plus” centers.

“It’s kind of between a full-scale nursing home and assisted living.”

The centers have four homes with eight bedrooms each around central kitchen and living areas.

Cole had many more planned.

“I did buy sites for them in several areas of the country.”

That includes properties in Kansas City and San Antonio.

“Then I just decided to get out of the business,” Cole says.

He says these days, “There’s so much competition out there.”

Cole says a lot of nonprofits – including big hospital systems – are going into the business and building much larger centers than what he had.

That’s good news for the people who now have to leave Veranda, he says.

“There’s plenty of places right now, so that’s not an issue,” Cole says. “We’re moving them out now.”

He’s clearly disappointed.

“We had a beautiful product. Beautiful.”

Cole says he’s now working on selling the properties and is close to at least one deal.

Though he says he’s serious about not going into businesses you don’t know, Cole admits that’s advice he doesn’t take himself.

“I go into businesses all the time that I don’t know anything about.”

Apparently, he’ll continue to.

“Absolutely.”

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

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