Ruffin sells his Bahamas hotel, casino - Saturday 12th of March 2005

Wichita businessman Phil Ruffin sold his Bahamas hotel and casino Wednesday in a $150 million deal.

"We had a really good offer," Ruffin says. "I've been there 11 years. It's time to sell it."

He won't say how much he paid for the Wyndham Hotel and Crystal Palace Casino in Nassau.

"That, I won't tell," Ruffin says. "But let's say it was a very good deal." He didn't have much debt on the property.

Ruffin sold to a London group.

He negotiated to keep his private 16-acre island, Crystal Kay, just off Nassau. It has 22 villas that he lets friends and business associates use.

"It's nice to have it," Ruffin says.

No kidding.

Early exit

The marketing director of Wichita Festivals Inc. abruptly resigned Wednesday, just weeks away from the group's biggest event, the Wichita River Festival.

Lisa Capps actually put in her resignation a month ago and said she'd stay until the May festival was over. But then yesterday, she quit. "Personal and family responsibilities necessitated my departure," Capps says.

Janet Wright, president and chief executive of the nonprofit organization, is surprised but spent part of Wednesday laughing over the news.

So does the laughter mean she's handling the situation well, or does it indicate hysteria over a huge event looming with no marketing director in place?

"Hysteria might be appropriate," says Wright, still laughing.

"It makes it a little more difficult, but we'll make it," she says.

Capps has been in the position since August. When David Ulrich left his job as director of marketing and communications in June 2004, Wright created two positions: director of marketing and a separate director of communications.

Sue Burchill is director of communications, and she's not leaving.

"I certainly hope not," Wright says, only slightly laughing this time.

Resourceful change

Customers of Business Systems Inc. have been wondering a few things since the office equipment dealer's recent sale toKonica Minolta Business Solutions.

"A lot of them have some questions, good questions," says Steve Finley, Business Systems president and chief executive.

The company had dealt in Canon systems and still will service those (which answers customers' most-pressing question). But it's now going to sell Konica Minolta products.

Konica Minolta is an $11 billion company. Business Systems has about $7.3 million in annual sales.

"We've just simply acquired more resources," Finley says. "The objective is to grow the business."

That includes adding more employees to the 43-employee company.

Alan and Roberta Whetzel started the company in 1970. It serves 5,000 customers within an 80-mile radius of Wichita.

"Alan always used to say he couldn't control his age," Finley says of the 68-year-old, who will remain as a consultant.

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