WRITER: Chad Lawhorn

Plans filed for John Deere dealership to rebuild on 23rd Street

This post was update at 5:05 p.m. on Sept. 19, 2018 On May 5, Ken Wagner stood on the lot of a defunct farm implement dealership while he watched a fire on the other side of 23rd Street consume his successful John Deere dealership. It already was clear the Saturday afternoon fire was going to put the more than 60-year old business out of business for quite some time. But while the black smoke was still ...

New report shows Lawrence economy didn't keep up with most metro areas in 2017

Even by Kansas’ standards, the Lawrence economy was a bit lackluster in 2017. By nearly everyone else’s measuring stick, Lawrence’s economic performance was near the bottom of the pack, according to a new set of federal statistics. The new figures measure gross domestic product for all the metro areas across the country. GDP is basically the sum of all economic activity that takes place in a community. ...

Lawrence still tops in one alcohol category; Budweiser maker gives local company top award

A two-game winning streak by the KU football team is producing a variety of reactions: Meteorologists are checking for a cooling front in Hades, K-State boosters are ensuring their pigs still don’t fly and Jayhawk fans are growing their empty aluminum can collection, if you know what I mean. Plenty of businesses know exactly what I mean. Liquor is big business in Lawrence, and it becomes bigger if KU ...

What types of shops do you want in downtown? As vacancy rate climbs, downtown group wants to know

Get out your wish list for downtown Lawrence. As the city’s main business district posts a higher-than-normal vacancy rate, downtown leaders want to know what types of stores or businesses you think downtown Lawrence needs most. Downtown Lawrence Inc. is in the early stages of a project aimed at gathering data about wants and needs in downtown, with the hope it will be able to use the information to create a ...

Another business on 23rd Street to be converted into self-storage center

Perhaps some of you remember the old Bargain Depot store near 23rd and Harper in eastern Lawrence. I have news of its pending redevelopment. It could be described as the circle of a bargain. Man goes into Bargain Depot, a cornucopia of tools, camping supplies and home improvement gadgets. Man comes home with a truckload of very sound investments. Man finds out that when storing a floor jack a dining room floor ...

Lawrence ranked as a top college town; a look at how far KU has fallen in top college rankings

We are definitely in full college town mode these days as students are back, evidenced by the large amounts of bean bags and lava lamps being carted out of Walmart. (Despite rumors to the contrary, I’m convinced dorms are still filled with those items and that college kids still know how to buy items in a brick-and-mortar store.) Regardless, know that Lawrence again has been ranked one of the best college ...

Plans filed for new retail zoning near 23rd Street and O'Connell Road

I’ve previously told you there was interest from Casey’s General Store about building near the eastern Lawrence intersection of 23rd Street and O’Connell Road. Well, I don’t have news that such a development is about to happen, but there are signs that developers are preparing the area for some sort of convenience store development. Plans have been filed at Lawrence City Hall to rezone about four acres ...

East Lawrence business of 68 years bought by local real estate developer

Sometimes you have to replace so many windows it makes sense to buy an entire glass company. But enough about my weekend golf outing. I actually have news of a pending sale of a longtime Lawrence business, which has the potential to change the East Lawrence landscape as well. A deal has been struck for the family owners of Kennedy Glass to sell the business at 730 New Jersey St. to a Lawrence real estate ...

Community breakfast highlights $1.5 million given to Lawrence Public Schools

The Lawrence community raised more than $470,000 in donations last year for public schools, and Lawrence’s superintendent told a large crowd Friday morning that he already has another goal for the district. “I’ve read where Lawrence is the most educated community in Kansas,” Superintendent Anthony Lewis said at the Lawrence Schools Foundation Community Education Breakfast. “If so, it just makes sense ...

After more than 15 years, downtown coffee shop on the move, expanding breakfast menu

My bladder often hurts just thinking about East Ninth Street. There are three big-time coffee retailers in the one-block stretch just east of Massachusetts Street. One, however, has struck a deal to move to Massachusetts Street. Z’s Divine Espresso has closed its location at 10 E. Ninth St. and soon will reopen just around the corner at 914 Massachusetts St. That’s the building just south of the US Bank ...

Tabletop games fuel new business growth in south and East Lawrence

There’s a new “Warhammer” trend in Lawrence, and it is bringing with it characters like Exalted Deathbringer, Slaughter Priest and Chaos Sorcerer Lord. But don’t be fooled. Warhammer is not creating destruction in the city. Thus far, it has created two new Lawrence businesses. Warhammer is a tabletop game that involves mythical creatures — like Mr. Deathbringer — conquest, strategy and, of course, ...

KU has nearly $20M that doesn't show up in budget documents; chancellor, others using it to make mandated cuts

KU Chancellor Douglas Girod has made only one actual spending cut as part of a mandated $20 million budget-cutting initiative, a review by the Journal-World has found. For most of the other budget adjustments he has made, Girod has used money from a reserve fund that doesn’t show up in the published budget for his department. KU officials confirmed that many departments across the University of Kansas have ...

Lawrence is one of the least-stressed cities in America, according to new study

If you are stressed, you’re probably in the wrong town. A new report has found Lawrence is one of the least stressful communities in America to live. I found that somewhat surprising because I seemed slightly stressed when Thursday morning’s rainstorm was flooding my basement. But maybe the new study from the financial website Smart Asset was right because my kids didn’t seem stressed at all as they ...

From doggy day care to yoga with your dogs, Lawrence canine business expanding

I don’t send my dog to doggy day care. I’m sure he thinks he sends me to people day care. But make no mistake, dog day care is big business in Lawrence and is getting bigger. Plans have been filed by an existing canine company to triple its capacity in a new eastern Lawrence facility. Wagmore Canine Enrichment has filed plans with City Hall to move into a vacant office building at 1735 Haskell Ave., the ...

Chancellor's office still mum on budget cuts that Girod says he's made

More than 24 hours after Chancellor Douglas Girod told a University of Kansas crowd he already had made significant budget cuts to his department, his office still was not releasing details about the cuts. At a Monday town hall meeting to discuss a proposal to cut approximately $20 million from the budget of KU’s Lawrence campus, Girod said he already had made a cut in excess of 10 percent to his office’s ...

Downtown retailer of nearly 4 decades set to close by year's end

Sometimes it is not a slowdown in sales that causes a business to close. Sometimes it's just that there's no one left to run it. That's the case with a 37-year retailer in downtown Lawrence that will close its doors later this year. Saffees, the women’s clothing boutique at 911 Massachusetts St., will close near the end of the year, co-owner Steve Mercurio recently confirmed to me. Its sister store next ...

New shop brings Munchers cinnamon rolls, plus homemade sweets and cocktails, to downtown

There are sweets of all types at Crystal’s Spot. You can have one of Lawrence’s most famous cinnamon rolls with a side of bourbon. Or you can have a serving of Andre Agassi stories, I’m sure with a side of dreamy. You probably could even negotiate a deal for a new house there. The new eatery above Rudy’s Pizzeria has several twists to it. Lawrence real estate agent Crystal Swearingen is a co-owner of ...

Paul Bunyan, look out: Ax-throwing business to open in downtown Lawrence

I know when I bowl, I’m sometimes required to yell “Fore!” I’m not quite sure what happens when I step up to an ax-throwing lane. We’ll soon find out because a new ax-throwing business is set to open in downtown Lawrence. Matt Baysinger — the Lawrence resident behind the ideas of the Breakout Lawrence escape room and Mass Street Soda Shop — is opening Blade & Timber at 809 Massachusetts St., ...

Plans filed for local butcher shop near Ninth and Iowa streets

If you want handcrafted sausages for your cookout, you could sure try to make them. (I hear it is a great way to avoid handshakes for at least a month.) Or, you could find a butcher shop in the sausage business. It looks like Lawrence is going to get the latter. Plans have been filed for Leeway Franks — the small restaurant that serves up what it calls handcrafted frankfurters, bratwursts and other such ...

A look at the large hotel going next to Rock Chalk Park and the restaurant that will come with it

Hordes of active teenagers next to restaurants is a good money-making strategy. That’s why there was a broad assumption when Sports Pavilion Lawrence opened at Rock Chalk Park in 2014 that restaurants soon would locate near it. Now, nearly four years later, the first restaurant is set to go in next to Rock Chalk Park, but it probably isn’t what you think. A leader with the new Best Western Plus hotel told ...