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7 P. M . S AT U R D AY, F E B . 1 7, 2 0 1 8 T O P E K A P E R F O R M I N G A R T S C E N T E R , 2 1 4 S . E . 8 T H AV E . T I C K E T S : C J O N L I N E . C O M / T O P TA N K


2  Sunday, February 11, 2018 

2 Scoops Saloon combines speak-easy and ice cream for a sweet, sassy venture Ice cream sweet facts

By Morgan Chilson morgan.chilson@cjonline.com

2 Scoops Saloon is an intriguing combination of family-friendly ice cream parlor and speak-easystyle saloon. Allyson Shove-Chard is hopeful her business would fill a hole in the downtown Topeka business landscape, offering families something fun to do during the day and adults an evening entertainment option. "Our mission is to provide Topekans and visitors with a memorable experience through updated twists on classic concoctions in a relaxed, sophisticated, fun atmosphere with a hint of mystery and unexpected," she said. "By day, 2 Scoops saloon is an ice cream parlor. The second retail area is a speak-easy bar with limited, hidden access." Shove brings a master’s degree in business administration, and she’ll work with her husband, Jeremy Chard, and friend Sarah Elsen, who will do the day-to-day running of the store. She and Chard have been experimenting with ice cream flavors at home, creating unique combinations that are enjoyed by family and friends. It will be challenging to shift those smaller batches to the large quantities necessary to supply an ice cream parlor, Shove-Chard said. Before opening doors to a brick-and-mortar location downtown, 2 Scoops will build its name in the marketplace by operating

• The average American consumes more than 23 pounds of ice cream per year. • U.S. ice cream companies made more than 898 million gallons of regular ice cream in 2015. • The ice cream industry in the United States contributes more than $39 billion to the national economy and creates more than 188,000 jobs in communities across the country. SOURCE: INTERNATIONAL DAIRY FOOD ASSOCIATION

Sarah Elsen, left, Jeremy Chard and Allyson Shove-Chard hope their idea for 2 Scoops Saloon, a combination ice cream parlor and speak-easy, will win the Top Tank competition. [CHRIS NEAL/THE CAPITAL-JOURNAL]

as a catering business that will help the Topeka market become familiar with their ice cream, she said. “We’ll utilize a portable ice cream cart, redone into more of a saloon old-time feel,” Shove-Chard said. With the cart, they’ll be able to bring their ice cream to businesses, weddings and other events. Shove-Chard said the experience of going through the Top Tank competition helped her transform 2 Scoops Saloon from the idea stage to a business with potential. The ability to receive input from local entrepreneurs, whom she called “titans of industry,” was invaluable.

Ice cream with a grown-up twist WHO: Allyson Shove-Chard WHAT: 2 Scoops Saloon will combine an up-front ice cream parlor, featuring cold creamy treats — some infused with alcohol — and a private entrance to a speak-easy style saloon. The familyfriendly ice cream parlor will offer twists on classic ice cream concoctions during the day. At night, customers can access a hidden door to enter the speak-easy bar that caters to adults.

Allyson Shove-Chard, the creator of 2 Scoops Saloon, has been working on ice cream flavors, many infused with alcohol, as part of her plan to open a combined ice cream parlor and speak-easy. [CHRIS NEAL/THE CAPITAL-JOURNAL]


4  Sunday, February 11, 2018 

Flying high with drones

From left: Austin Wright, right, is excited about the future of aDronealine Racing and the drone industry. He is with, from left, employees Christopher Bush, CJ Watson and Kyle Anderson. [CHRIS NEAL/THE CAPITAL-JOURNAL]

Drones taking to the skies

Businessman plans to embark on ‘carnival or circus’ tour By Morgan Chilson morgan.chilson@cjonline.com

In just a couple of years, the drone industry has gone from a little-known hobbyist market to being featured on ESPN and becoming a sport. Online groups that aDronealine Racing owner Austin Wright joined in the past couple of years had 5,000 members — and today they have 25,000.

The rapid growth of the industry has propelled Wright forward. He jumped into the business after watching an online video about drone racing in 2016. Since then, he has popularized the sport of drone racing locally, working in a variety of fields from real estate photography to race events. He plans to travel the country with mobile racing units and hopes to expand downtown with a

large indoor and outdoor drone racing track. The industry is rife with what Wright called “endless opportunities,” and he’s quick to list and tackle the possibilities those offer his fledgling business. The newness of everything surrounding drones is not without its concerns. “It’s an industry in its infancy, which is another huge risk because nobody knows where it’s going to go,” Wright said.

Wright plans to be right there, promoting this sport that stirs his passion. In summer 2018, he’ll travel with what he called a “carnival or circus” approach, driving a tour bus or two to 14 cities promoting drones and racing. “I’ve been able to solidify my foothold in this entire drone racing industry,” he said. “I know all the CEOs and the founders of these drone racing

organizations. We’ve become buddies. I’ve got their support. Somebody needed to do this tour.” Although he’s reaching out nationwide, Wright is hopeful he’ll have a downtown location, courtesy of Top Tank dollars. “The excitement that’s going down around the hotel and the new Pennants and all the stuff that we’re doing down there — it’s going to draw a crowd,” he said.

• “Wild and Weird, Drone Racing May Be the Sport of the Future” — a Time magazine 2016 headline. • Personal and commercial drone revenue was expected to grow by 35 percent in 2016 and 2017, according to Gartner stats. Revenue by 2020 is expected to be $11.2 billion. • The top industries adopting drone usage are 1) photography; 2) real estate; and 3) utilities, according to businessinsider.com. • The hobbyist fleet — those folks flying drones for fun — is projected to hit 3.55 million drone units in 2021, according to the Federal Aviation Administration. WHO: Austin Wright WHAT: The excitement and fun of flying is available to all ages through aDronealine Racing, a new Topeka business finding its place in a growing market. Business owner Austin Wright hopes to make downtown Topeka his business home, with a large indoor and outdoor track to promote the business of drone racing.


6  Sunday, February 11, 2018 

A La Carrot: A juice bar with a California flair Are you eating right?

By Morgan Chilson morgan.chilson@cjonline.com

Heather Graves settled in Topeka eight years ago, launching a hair salon and blending into a community of what she calls “amazing, kind-hearted people.” But her California roots and a commitment to healthful living and eating made her aware that Topeka’s community has a lack of restaurants where customers can buy juices, smoothies and make other good food choices. She’s particularly passionate about healthy eating because she once struggled with her weight. By high school, she was nearing 300 pounds. “When I was 21, I just really started researching food and learning about it. I wound up losing 140 pounds through diet and exercise,” Graves said. “It took me 2 1/2 years and it changed my life. I’m so passionate about changing other people’s lives, helping other people understand what I didn’t understand.” She plans to create a warm, friendly environment in A La Carrot, hopeful that people will feel comfortable asking questions about health and nutrition. Education will be a part of the business, with nutritional classes and other events to support lifestyle changes. “I’m a total food nerd,” she said. “I’ve been everything. I’ve been paleo. I’ve been vegan. I’ve been vegetarian. I have really good knowledge about how to make these foods and what they do for your body.” Graves has business experience through running her salon. Her boyfriend, Pedro Concepcion, a well-known chef in the Topeka area, will help support her in learning about the business side of

• Only 21 percent of adults consumed the recommended amount of fruits a day, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. • Only 33 percent of American adults ate the recommended amounts of vegetables a day. • Eighty percent of all cases of heart disease, stroke and Type 2 diabetes could be prevented if people ate healthier, were more physically active and stopped using tobacco, according to the World Health Organization. •Reducing the sodium Americans eat by 1,200 milligrams per day could save up to $20 billion a year in medical costs, according to the U.S. Health and Human Services Administration.

Heather Graves, A La Carrot, talks about her passion for nutrition and educating people about how to live healthier lives durig her Top Tank presentation. [CHRIS NEAL/THE CAPITAL-JOURNAL]

the food industry. “I have the kind of health background and the food knowledge and love to cook,” she said. “He knows about the food cost and the business side of it, as far as what restaurant equipment I need.” Graves plans to reach out to other area businesses, locally sourcing as many products as she possibly can. Honey, bee pollen, yogurt — all can be found in the area. “I’d even like to have a little area where people from the farmers market can come in and sell that day,” she said, adding that local small businesses working together can build success.

Good food with a healthy kick WHO: Heather Graves WHAT: A La Carrot will be a healthy restaurant, with juices, smoothies and other choices that appeal to any diet from paleo to vegan to people just trying to eat right. Owner Heather Graves is a transplanted Californian who misses the easy access to healthy food choices. Working with local chef Pedro Concepcion, she is making plans to open in downtown Topeka.


Sunday, February 11, 2018  7

Top Tank events celebrate winner, entrepreneurship By Morgan Chilson morgan.chilson@ cjonline.com

The winner of Topeka’s Top Tank competition will be announced Feb. 17 and the community will know which of the 10 finalists will be supported with $100,000 to open a store downtown. Top Tank is a Topeka version of ABC’s “Shark Tank,” where entrepreneurs pitch their ideas to a group of accomplished business people, vying for a prize. The Topeka competition started with applications from 59 people with widely varying ideas for downtown

businesses. The competition narrowed to 20, then 10, and on Saturday, one winner will take the stage. Two days of events will lead to the final announcement, but Thad Halstead, of AIM Strategies and one of the Top Tank organizers, said he hopes the weekend will be a celebration of entrepreneurship in general. On Friday, a networking event from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at Norsemen Brewing Co., 830 N. Kansas Ave., will give the public an opportunity to meet the 10 finalists and talk about small business in the capital city.

Tickets for Top Tank, entrepreneurial events Buy your tickets at cjonline.com/toptank. Friday What: Networking event to meet the 10 Top Tank finalists When: 5:30-7:30 p.m. Where: Norsemen Brewing Co., 830 N. Kansas Ave. Who: Co-sponsored by Forge and Greater Topeka Partnership’s EMBD Saturday What: The big reveal When: 7-10 p.m. Where: Topeka Performing Arts Center, 214 S.E. 8th Ave.


8  Sunday, February 11, 2018 

The Brew Bank: High-tech meets Kansas beer By Morgan Chilson morgan.chilson@cjonline.com

Three friends since elementary school hope to bring technology to Topeka’s beer business with an option for customers to serve themselves. The Brew Bank is the brainchild of Dusty Snethen, Melissa Snethen and Ryan Cavanaugh, and they’re hopeful that the $100,000 Top Tank award will help them bring this high-tech concept to the capital city. The three bring a varied background — from film to teaching to insurance — to the proposed brewery, but they’re melded together by one idea. “We want to bring all the wonderful beer of Kansas into one place,” Dusty Snethen said. The pub will feature technology new to the Topeka market and many markets nationwide. Digital tap systems allow a customer to use a plastic card, like a debit card, to buy beer from a selfserve tap, Dusty Snethen

said. They’ve had the idea for The Brew Bank on tap for a couple of years, spurred by so many breweries opening in the state, Cavanaugh said. They personally like to drink local beers, but it can be challenging to get to all the breweries unless you plan a day trip, he said. The business faces a legislative hurdle. Current state liquor laws allow selfserve wine but not beer. Cavanaugh said he has reached out to local lawmakers to request the law be modified in the current legislative session. The three are Topeka natives, so they’re excited about the idea of bringing The Brew Bank to downtown. They would like to have overhead garagestyle doors so they can be opened to the street when the weather is nice, making them part of the downtown streetscape and atmosphere. “We don’t want to just be a place to go and have beer but to be a part of something,” Dusty Snethen said.

Dusty Snethen, from left , Ryan Cavanaugh and Melissa Snethen pitch their proposal for The Brew Bank to investors in late 2017. [CHRIS NEAL/THE CAPITAL-JOURNAL]

Beer-y interesting

Brewing up a new business

Self-serve beer establishments are increasing. PourMyBeer, one of the first companies making self-serve tap equipment, told CNBC in 2016 it was in 280 locations around the world. Twenty-eight percent of a beer keg’s contents are spilled, wasted or stolen, says PourMyBeer. There were 5,096 breweries in 2016 in the United States, brewing 189,839,913.65 barrels of beer, according to the U.S. Department of Treasury. One barrel of beer equals 31 gallons.

WHO: Dusty Snethen, Melissa Snethen, Ryan Cavanaugh WHAT: The Brew Bank will specialize in Kansas beers and Sunflower State-inspired cocktails, all served in a cutting-edge environment complete with self-serve taps. Guests at a self-serve pub receive a card similar to a credit card that will allow them to choose a beer from those on tap. The technology is popping up throughout the country in wine and beer bars. Dusty Snethen, from left , Ryan Cavanaugh and Melissa Snethen are pitching The Brew Bank, a high-concept, self-serve business celebrating the beers of Kansas. [CHRIS NEAL/THE CAPITAL-JOURNAL]


Sunday, February 11, 2018  9

Making a statement for future of downtown By Morgan Chilson

Attend the show

morgan.chilson@cjonline.com

Six Topeka businessmen came together to found Top Tank, building on conversations about strengthening the capital city’s downtown and supporting entrepreneurs. Five made a financial investment to fund a $100,000 prize to the entrepreneur with the most compelling idea: Brent Boles, managing partner of Schendel Lawn & Landscape; John Dicus, chairman, president and CEO of Capitol Federal Savings Bank; Cody Foster, co-founder of Advisors Excel; Jim Klausman, president and CEO of Midwest Health

See who will win $100,000 to start a business in downtown Topeka and stay for the party. When: 7 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 17 (doors open at 6 p.m.) Where: Topeka Performing Arts Center Tickets: cjonline.com/ toptank

comprehensive design package on their business Top Tank members L-R: John Dicus, Greg Schwerdt, Jim proposals. Klausman, Mark Ruelle, Cody Foster, and Brent Boles. From diverse back[THAD ALLTON/THE CAPITAL-JOURNAL] grounds and industries, their reasons for making a Inc.; and Mark Ruelle, Group, has a team of significant financial compresident and CEO of architects and design- mitment to the process Westar Energy. ers spending hundreds were remarkably similar. Greg Schwerdt, presi- of hours with each of the “This is another way that dent of Schwerdt Design 10 finalists to create a the six of us individually

can show what Topeka means to us and give back to the community and try to grow other businesses and organizations and try to get them to come to town,” Dicus said. “Topeka’s only as good as the collective whole.” As businessmen, each has been conscious of the challenges to recruit employees to Topeka, and they’re hopeful Top Tank will support the city’s quality of life needs. They also hope the competition pushes other Topeka leaders to take initiative to encourage entrepreneurship to promote Topeka and downtown development. “We’ve already been approached by others

saying how can we get involved in this, we like this concept,” Schwerdt said. “It’s generated more excitement from the standpoint there’s other people saying, ‘Hey, maybe we’ll put together a group of investors next year, and maybe there will be two or three different groups doing the same thing.” But there is still this year’s winner to determine, and all six are excited to see where the competition takes them. Schwerdt laughed and said people have been asking if they’ve really already decided the winner, and he gives an honest reply that they have not. The winner will be selected Feb. 17.


10  Sunday, February 11, 2018 

Chatterhouse Coffee Shop: Holding out for caffeine and conversation A new-old idea

By Morgan Chilson morgan.chilson@cjonline.com

The three brains behind the ChatterHouse Coffee Shop hope to make a difference in the Topeka landscape that doesn’t involve caffeine. Lucas Ryan, Leobardo Espinoza Jr. and Ashley Klemme became intrigued with the idea of penny universities, coffee houses in the 17th and 18th centuries that encouraged discussion and the exchange of ideas. They want to bring this collaborative atmosphere to ChatterHouse, making it a place for civil discourse and the opportunity to create and connect as a community. “We want to be a center for community enrichment,” Ryan said. “Instead of just walking in and plugging your headphones in, you communicate with people.” Along with the usual coffee shop offerings, the owners want to hold community classes on everything from how to do taxes to how to determine fake news. “We’ll focus on quality service in the morning so we can pay for the lights in the evening, and at that time we’ll really focus on community events,” Ryan said. They even put forth the rather radical idea of shutting down the Wi-Fi occasionally to force people to interact. “Those 17th-century coffee houses were centers of town,” Ryan pointed out, adding that the coffee shop management will have a hand in making sure the discussions are productive. Ryan and Klemme both have coffee shop experience working at area Starbucks stores. The team has worked with the Washburn Small Business Development Center to focus their idea and determine how to make it successful. “We all grew up here, so it’s exciting to get a chance to impact the city that raised us,” Ryan said.

ABOVE: Leobardo Espinoza Jr., from left, Ashley Klemme and Lucas Ryan are inspired by 17th century coffee houses and the conversations that happened there. They hope the ChatterHouse Coffee Shop will bring that spirit to Topeka’s downtown.

BELOW: Lucas Ryan, right, and Ashley Klemme pitch the idea for ChatterHouse, a collaborative coffee shop, to Top Tank investors. [PHOTOS BY CHRIS NEAL/THE CAPITALJOURNAL]

The ChatterHouse Coffee Shop is built on an old idea. Penny universities were 17th- and 18th-century coffee houses where participants paid a penny to enter and received a cup of coffee and rousing conversations about the topics of the day. “The proprietors offered courses of study, as well as lecture courses, in a wide range of subjects to those willing to pay a penny. As well as foreign languages these courses covered the new sciences,” says the Renaissance Mathematicians blog. Well-known and thoughtprovoking philosophers and thinkers of the time offered their insights on natural philosophy, chess, mathematics and how to calculate gambling odds.

Connecting with community conversation WHO: Lucas Ryan, Leobardo Espinoza Jr., Ashley Klemme WHAT: A place for community building, conversation and stepping away from electronics. That’s the vision ChatterHouse Coffee Shop founders are carrying in their heads as they approach the Top Tank competition. Along with the typical coffee house offerings, the owners hope to create a space where people connect with plans to turn off Wi-Fi occasionally to encourage conversation.


Sunday, February 11, 2018  11

Confectionary Disasters: Secret ingredient, creativity merge to build homegrown business Making magic in the kitchen

By Morgan Chilson morgan.chilson@cjonline.com

Lee Hanner launched Confectionary Disasters after it became impossible to get up at 2 a.m. to take her children to day care before spending her day working at someone else’s bakery. For more than 12 years, she’s juggled her baking around her children's schedules, always promising herself she’d launch a storefront when her youngest went to kindergarten. That happened this year, timed with the launch of Top Tank, and it seemed as if karma was giving her a wink. Running her own business from home gave her the opportunity to take more classes and become even more skilled in baking, Hanner said. “Cakes are pretty much my specialty — I do use a secret ingredient in all of my cakes that keep them super-moist,” she said, adding that her cakes will last a couple of days longer than most cakes because they don’t dry out. It’s hard for Hanner to pick a favorite project, but she loves the ones where someone gives her a general idea of what they want but then leaves the creative control to her. Hanner has explored different options for storefronts, looking through downtown locations, but the financial challenge was always too much. Now, with the impetus of Top Tank, she’s hopeful to see her dream come to fruition. “I’m willing to do it because I want my kids to see that I’ve been striving for this since 2009 and that dreams really can come true if you put your mind to it and you work hard,” she said. “I want my kids to be proud of me.”

WHO: Lee Hanner WHAT: The sweet life is the focus of Confectionary Disasters, which has been making creative, delicious cakes for customers since 2005. Lee Hanner has juggled being a stay-at-home mom with her business for more than 12 years, and now it’s time to move into a brick-and-mortar location. Along with cakes, cookies and other desserts, she hopes to expand to feature scones, pastries and other tasty items.

2018 baking trends

ABOVE: Lee Hanner, center, and employees Lou Hartness, left, and Nikki Lewien will work together to create a storefront for Confectionary Disasters. The business has been operating out of Hanner’s home since 2005.

RIGHT: Lee Hanner, center, and employees Nikki Lewien, left, and Lou Hartness, pitch to Top Tank judges Confectionary Disasters, a cake business. [PHOTOS BY CHRIS NEAL/THE CAPITALJOURNAL]

• Black foods are making a breakout this year, possibly a pushback against all the unicorn trends of the last year, according to the Specialty Food Association. • Consumers want to replace sugar with healthier alternatives, leaving bakers looking at things like fruitbased sweeteners. • Floral flavors gained strength in 2017 and the trend is expected to continue in 2018, according to International Taste Solution.  • Foods that are “free from” various items will continue to gain popularity, such as gluten-free and dairy-free. • Watch out for doughnuts with unique fillings, such as Snickers bars or pear clove, according to Insider.com.


12  Sunday, February 11, 2018 

G’s Cheesecake and More: Sweet treats and savory breakfasts, lunches Cheesing it up

By Morgan Chilson morgan.chilson@cjonline.com

George Kearse has been working his chef magic in Topeka for almost 30 years, creating savory meals but also specializing in pastries and cakes. He’s spent that time at area businesses, but with the help of Top Tank, he wants to expand his current catering business to a downtown Topeka storefront, specializing in cheesecakes, desserts and savory lunches. Right now, G’s Catering specializes in child care catering, serving more than 700 meals a day at Topeka-area child care centers, Kearse said. But his passion for fresh cheesecake is spurring Kearse to seek the Top Tank $100,000 prize to open a specialty restaurant downtown. “G’s Cheesecakes will give Topeka an opportunity to have fresh-baked cheesecakes,” he said. “We don’t have any place in Topeka or in the area. You have to go to Kansas City to get a really good cheesecake.” Along with his signature chocolate chip cheesecake, topped with a layer of chocolate ganache, Kearse said he would offer a variety of cheesecakes, changing flavors to offer seasonal flavors. The “and More” in his restaurant name would include chocolate tortes, pies and offerings for the downtown breakfast and lunch crowd. His chocolate truffle torte, which Kearse referred to as a “big chunk

WHO: George Kearse WHAT: Specializing in chocolate chip cheesecake with a thick layer of chocolate ganache, G’s Cheesecakes and More doesn’t limit itself to specialty cheesecakes. The “and More” on the name points to chocolate tortes and fruit pies, offering sweets for every appetite. Owner George Kearse also plans to offer savory lunch options, served quickly for the downtown lunch crowd. Fun cheesecake facts • Cheesecake is an old dessert. “Evidence of early cheesecakes can be traced to the Greek island of Samos as far back as 2,000 B.C., though the oldest existing written recipe is credited to Roman politician Marcus Cato around the first century B.C.,” writes Foodbeast.com. • A cheesecake-style dessert was apparently fed to Greek athletes at the Olympics in 776 B.C. to give them energy, according to cheesecake.com.

of candy,” is a flourless cake that would meet the needs of gluten-free customers. “The ‘more’ to G’s Cheesecakes and More would be a nice menu,

which would consist of pork, beef, chicken entrees we would be able to serve over a lunch period at a nice fast pace, so people can get in and get out,” Kearse said.

George Kearse tells Top Tank judges about the idea he has to bring fresh-baked cheesecake to downtown Topeka. G’s Cheesecakes and More would also feature savory breakfast and lunch options, as well as desserts besides cheesecake. [CHRIS NEAL/THE CAPITAL-JOURNAL]

• American cheesecake brought the introduction of cream cheese to the mix in the late 1800s. Around the world, a variety of cheeses are used: Italians use ricotta cheese; Greeks use mizithra or feta; Germans use cottage cheese; and the Japanese use a combination of cornstarch and egg whites, cheesecake. com says.


Sunday, February 11, 2018  13

Local Fox clothing: High-end experience, trendy modern clothes Youth and high-end clothing

By Morgan Chilson morgan.chilson@cjonline.com

Abby Engler loves clothes. Even on a limited budget, she’s been able to build an expensive wardrobe through careful shopping and an eye for trendy designs. Engler, a recent University of Kansas graduate with a degree in visual arts, hopes to put her passion for clothes, as well as her experience in the retail industry, to work in her own business, Local Fox clothing store. Her visual arts degree supported her ability to problem-solve and tune in to the beauty and uniqueness around her, Engler said. “I studied general visual arts, so I have a little bit of everything under my belt,” Engler said. “Textiles, painting, and before that I had a background in design. I really just learned a bunch of problem-solving in college. That's really what art is. You do something and then your teacher will rip it up off the wall, and you have to redo it and make it better and figure it out.” A strong work ethic — she’s worked two or three jobs at a time since her teen years — and a stubborn determination to succeed will help Engler get the business off the ground. “That's actually the biggest thing that I've learned,” Engler added. “You have to dive in and just do it until it's right.” In addition, she has spent several years working at Urban Outfitters in Lawrence, some of that time handling the store’s social media accounts, which creates a background that supports success, she said. Engler envisions a warm and rustic store with modern touches that will make customers feel welcome. She will target Washburn University students and other communities in Topeka  that probably are leaving the capital city to make clothing purchases. “I think it's really just approaching the college-aged kids, letting them know we're there and downtown Topeka can be a fun area,” she said. The price point at Local Fox will cover the gamut from $30 to $200, she said. “I definitely have expensive tastes. I think there is money in Topeka. Those parents are spending money on their kids. They're just spending it in Kansas City,” Engler said. “It's how you stretch your money. I do not have that much money, but I have very expensive clothes.”

WHO: Abby Engler WHAT: High-fashion clothing and accessory options for young people would be the focus of the proposed Local Fox clothing store. Native Topekan Abby Engler wants to open a store so younger shoppers aren’t leaving the capital city to find clothing. A degree in visual arts and several years in retail industry give her the eye and experience to make Local Fox unique.

Clothing boutiques

Abby Engler wants to bring high-end clothing and accessories to young adults in Topeka with her proposal for Local Fox. Here, she pitches her idea to investors. [PHOTOS BY CHRIS NEAL/THE CAPITAL-JOURNAL]

• Clothing boutiques are small stores with a limited inventory, typically catering to high-end or niche markets. • The industry is challenged by online competition, and between 2012 and 2017, revenue contracted about 2.5 percent. • Boutiques offer an “experience” outside of strictly shopping. “Apparel consumers not only want to see a level of freshness in their products but also in the entire shopping experience,” according to McKinsey & Co. Tapping into social consciousness — such as focusing on sustainability in products — is a good way to capture customers.


14  Sunday, February 11, 2018 

Restaurant Collective supports those wanting to start food business Proof of concept for all

By Morgan Chilson morgan.chilson@cjonline.com

The Restaurant Collective is a new idea for the Topeka area but one that is taking off around the country. Proposed by Allison Bugg in the Top Tank competition, the collective would bring dining and drinks to the downtown area at the same time as it encouraged entrepreneurship and gave area restaurant owners the opportunity to test the market before opening a store. Collectives, sometimes called food marketplaces, create a large central eating and sometimes bar space surrounded by independently owned restaurants. It’s an idea Bugg has been kicking around for the past few years. “My husband and I have tossed around a multitude of ideas for businesses over the last few years, and this one has stuck around,” she said. “I’ve always thought the restaurant collective would be a great idea for downtown Topeka.” Designed to be a premier dining and drinking establishment, the collective would also be a restaurant incubator, Bugg said, supporting people who have a desire to start a restaurant but need extra support before launching on their own. “Most people that think about starting a restaurant, they love the food they prepare at home and they’re passionate about sharing it, but maybe they don’t have the capital or experience to just go and start a restaurant,” she said. In Bugg’s proposal, she would lease kitchen and counter space to five members of

WHO: Allison Bugg WHAT: A restaurant collective creates a space where entrepreneurs can test their food business idea during a 12- to 18-month time period. Designed as a premier dining and drink establishment, the collective proposed by Allison Bugg would create opportunities for local business people, lowering their start-up costs and giving them a better chance at being successful.

A dining trend • Restaurant collectives are called by many names — food halls, artisanal halls, marketplaces — but each offers communal space surrounded by individual restaurants and bars. Nationwide, some restaurant collectives are incorporating areas for arts and entertainment. • Communal dining is a trend, spurred by younger customers, that’s easy to make happen in a collective restaurant atmosphere. It’s a controversial trend, with some customers hating the lack of privacy and space.

Allison Bugg is hopeful her idea for a Restaurant Collective, which is growing in popularity elsewhere, will find life in downtown Topeka. [THAD ALLTON/THE CAPITAL-JOURNAL]

the restaurant collective. She would operate the drinks, bar and front house of the space. Customers would order from a kiosk. “That way the restaurant

owner can concentrate on the food,” she said. Restauranteurs would lease space for 12 to 18 months to test their menus and determine if the idea they have

would be viable for a full-blown restaurant. Bugg said collectives are good for diners because they offer a variety of food, meeting the needs of a group of people who

aren’t sure what they want to eat. “We see it as a great gathering place,” she said. “It’s not going to become stale. There’s always going to be a new dish to try or a new concept to try.”


Sunday, February 11, 2018  15

Solitaire Spa and Barbery to offer upscale relaxation in a hectic world Going upscale for spa, barber

By Morgan Chilson morgan.chilson@cjonline.com

Hannah Kagay knows the beauty industry, having run an in-home salon for the past nine years. But she sees a gap in Topeka’s spa offerings, and she hopes to launch the Solitaire Spa and Barbery with Top Tank winnings. “I’ve always wanted to see Topeka have a more upscale spa,” she said. “I feel like that’s something the capital city is lacking. It’s always been a dream of mine to see that happen.” “Upscale” means a place where customers can spend the day being pampered, lounging in bathrobes with a glass of wine or a cup of coffee, enjoying a sauna, massage or facial, Kagay said. But the business also would feature another side dedicated to barber shop services like |haircuts, hot shaves and shoe shines. In addition, a whiskey bar would draw in new customers, as well as give people who are waiting on someone at the spa or barber shop a great place to relax. The native Topekan said she’s excited to bring this new business to Topeka. “I am strictly a hair salon right now. I don’t have the ability to offer those services,” she said. “That was one of the other appeals of this investment from the Top Tank, is to be able to put that investment toward some of these facilities that could offer that high-end spa. I get out of town all the time to go to spas, and it’s something that appeals to me and I think would appeal to a lot of people here.” Kagay said the barber shop and the whiskey bar would offer that old-fashioned feel but with modern amenities and services.

WHO: Hannah Kagay WHAT: Solitaire Spa and Barbery will feature an upscale spa, where customers can spend a day relaxing and being pampered, and a barber area where men can drop in for an old-fashioned experience. Add in shoe shines and a whiskey bar, and owner Hannah Kagay is planning a multipronged business.

Pampering ourselves

ABOVE: Hannah Kagay wants to see Solitaire Spa and Barbery cater to high-end spa customers, as well as offering a variety of barbershop services.

LEFT: Hannah Kagay wants to see Solitaire Spa and Barbery cater to high-end spa customers, as well as offering a variety of barbershop services. [PHOTOS BY CHRIS NEAL/ THE CAPITAL-JOURNAL]

• The demand for spa services is increasing. In 2015, there were 120,000 spas worldwide, bringing in about $99 billion in revenue, according to marketresearch.com. The United States has the largest spa market, featuring 21,000 facilities and $16 billion in revenue. • The global spa market is expected to increase at a compound annual growth rate of 5.66 percent from 2017 to 2021, marketresearch.com says. • Beth McGroarty, director of research and public relations at the Global Wellness Institute, told Dayspa magazine that today’s “unprecedented stress” is driving the market. “Being connected 24/7, the lack of boundaries between work and life, and the fact that by 2030, 80 percent of the human population will live in urban, nature- deprived areas,” she says.


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