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Fire puts stores out of business





The fire that heavily damaged a local business Tuesday morning also put two adjoining businesses out of commission, at least temporarily.

Fire gutted T-Bone's Sports Bar & Grill, 2415 General Hays Road, one of several businesses in Centennial Center just off Vine Street.

The complex houses numerous businesses, and while firefighters were able to keep the fire contained to T-Bone's, others received smoke damage.

Two of those were Centennial Salon, owned by Rulene Brown, and Heartland Crafts and Merle Norman Studio, owned by Melissa Bonczynski.

Bonczynski, who also sells scrapbooking materials at her business, was busy Thursday sorting inventory.

Firefighters broke through one of her back walls to get to T-Bone's, which led to heavy smoke damage.

While much of her bottled skin care line and cosmetics can be cleaned, Bonczynski said most of the paper scrapbooking materials would have to be thrown away.

"It's hard to say (how long her store would be closed)," Bonczynski said.

"It could be a month, or it could be several months," Bonczynski said.

Next door to the north, Brown's employees were working together, helping wherever needed.

ServiceMaster Clean has crews from Hays and Wichita on the scene, helping clean and providing storage pods in which the businesses can store inventory while they clean their buildings.

Brown and her five employees -- four hair stylists and a nail technician -- are independent and out of business until they can re-enter their building.

Reva Cox said they plan to work through the weekend with hopes of reopening sometime early next week. She said the phone has been ringing constantly of clients wanting to schedule an appointment.

"We can't work outside of a licensed facility, so we have to get back in here," Cox said of the salon. "We appreciate all the support, and we're hoping (clients) can be patient with us. We'll open as soon as we can."

Other hairstylists who work at the eight-station Centennial Salon are Linda Becker, Valerie Dohe and Jennifer Mermis. The nail technician is Rachelle Pfannenstiel.

Another business that received smoke damage was Nex-Tech, a local communications service company, which operates out of two buildings on either side of T-Bone's. Nex-Tech's south building received smoke damage, but employees were able to be relocated to the north building or to the company's Internet building downtown at 210 E. 12th.