Hatteberg's People - Kay Hettenbach

By: Larry Hatteberg Email
By: Larry Hatteberg Email
On Hatteberg

Kay Hettenbach

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Sunday, October 17, 2010

On Hatteberg's People, Kay Hettenbach is planning to retire. No particular reason, other than it just feels like its time. If you don't recognize the name, you'll certainly recognize her place of business.

"I think my family thinks I'm weird. And that's okay."

Kay Hettenbach as the only business in Wichita stalked by a 'dragon.' Kay's "This and That," has been a fixture in the Orchard park neighborhood for 40 years. Now she's retiring and hoping to sell the business...and what a business it is.

"Doesn't he look like he is having fun?

"Yes, he is fun, he is smiling."

"When I started it, I didn't even think about it being a career, and my goodness I had no idea I was going to be doing this for 40 years."

Where ever you go in this building...there is just 'fun' stuff. Kay knows each piece, each one designed for someone's sense of humor.

"Somebody will come in maybe very somber, and then they'll put on a hat...they turn into a whole different person."

"It's a lot of fun...I know."

Over the years, our humor has changed --- these used to be big sellers to business...not anymore...human resource departments frowned and her business changed.

"I don't know, I just think it was more fun then and we laughed more. Now I think people are too uptight."

With thousands of costumes worn by generations of Wichitans, this little one-of-a-kind store could become part of Wichita history...much like Kay.

"I get told that I am part of Wichita history...I know I'm antique..."

"Everyday is a fun thing to come to work. I just thoroughly enjoy it."

"I like the old-fashioned stuff...the 'period' stuff. It used to be that I thought I wanted to be a saloon girl, but now I've passed that age."

But nothing lasts forever, but seeing this sign is still something that Kay though she would never see.

"I would have never thought that I would have a 'for sale' sign out here...ever!"

She's going to miss her customers, but it's not the economy and it's not age that's causing Kay to sell, she says it just feels like time.

"I'm sad, but, you know, it's okay."

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