There’s a question that business consultant Ashley Thill of A Z Advisory keeps hearing these days.
“Everybody keeps asking me what I’m doing with the white building.”
That’s a building at 3219 E. Douglas just west of the Hillcrest Apartments.
A lot of Wichitans know the 7,500-square-foot space as a former rug store, but it once was known as the Gordon Funeral Home. Thill has researched the building and said the family lived upstairs and the business was downstairs starting in 1936.
Just as so many other people seem to like the building, Thill said she fell in love with it three years ago while helping a client search for space. They looked at splitting the upstairs and downstairs between their businesses, but she wasn’t able to buy it.
Now she has, though, and plans a couple of different concepts for both floors.
Her executive consulting business, which she started 20 years ago under her name, will occupy the top floor.
That’s also where she’ll have the Alternative Board of South Central Kansas, a franchise that she bought last year that meets regularly for business coaching from peers.
It also will be the home of IngenuIT, which a former IT employee of Thill’s started. She continues to employ other consultants as well.
“I’ve created this network of consultants,” Thill said. “I’m hoping that it’s a one-stop shop for executives in Wichita.”
Downstairs will be an area for community resources, such as entrepreneurship classes for kids, personal and professional development, art classes and health and wellness information.
“Just kind of self care stuff,” Thill said.
She’s renovating the building in phases and is finishing details before moving in late this month and celebrating a grand opening next month.
Next year, Thill also wants to add an aesthetics and wellness center in back of the main floor.
“So really kind of bringing this holistic approach.”
Thill is best known as the former CEO of the Zernco construction company, from which she retired in October.
Scott Marko now owns the company. Thill said she never intended to run the company, which her stepfather, Dave Zerngast, founded.
“My intention was always just to transition that company to give my parents freedom from their business.”
Thill had just launched her consulting business when her stepfather said, “I should be your first client.”
That’s why she’s named her consulting business A Z Advisory — A for Ashley and Z for Zerngast.
“He’s been such an influence not only in my personal life but professionally, so it was my way to honor that.”
Previously, Thill mostly operated on the east side of Wichita.
“I’m really looking forward to getting involved in the downtown community,” she said. “I’m really going to explore it. I hope people will be open and talk to me about opportunities.”