WRITER: Chad Lawhorn

New Lawrence fitness center will have you doing workouts in the sauna

My workout attire of a hoodie pulled tight around my head sometimes causes people to confuse me with Rocky. (In fairness, it may just be because after five minutes on the elliptical, I also only speak in monosyllables.) Regardless, if you too like the idea of breaking a big sweat while working out, there is a new concept in Lawrence: a fitness center that has you do your workout inside a sauna. The fitness ...

Report shows holiday spending couldn't maintain hot pace; a look at the Lawrence industries producing the most sales tax

Last week I ran into a city employee who was taking down Christmas lights from downtown street trees. He told me that meant warmer weather was on the way. As I remove snow from my socks, I now believe that fellow has a great future as a groundhog. But maybe the snow has reminded you of Christmas. I do have a new report on holiday spending in Lawrence. It didn’t end up being the blockbuster it once looked like ...

Local Honda dealership bought by longtime Lawrence competitor

While a lot has changed in the business of selling cars since 1969, one constant in Lawrence has been Jack Ellena. That changed on Friday, as the oldest car dealership in Lawrence announced it had been sold and was changing names. Its new namesake, though, is the one it has been staring at since 1970. Dale Willey Automotive Group announced it has completed the purchase of Jack Ellena Honda and is changing the ...

From Belgian beers to rabbit stew, a new brewpub opens in downtown Lawrence

Stop me if you have heard this one. A chemist and a lawyer walk into a bar ... and then they decide to open one. More specifically, they decide to open a brewpub and become the newest player in a growing craft beer scene in Lawrence. Black Stag Brewery opened this week at 623 Massachusetts St. If you are having a hard time picturing the location, it is in the old M&M Office Supply building. Yes, that is ...

High-tech remodel planned for local McDonald's; Walmart gets 16-foot-tall vending machine

People say I’m not a tech wizard, but I plan to use an iPhone to clear the snow from my driveway. (Once I bury my son’s phone, I’m pretty sure he’ll pick up a snow shovel.) While that maybe doesn’t meet the definition of high-tech, plans for the renovation of a Lawrence McDonald’s restaurant do. The McDonald’s restaurant near Sixth and Michigan streets will undergo a renovation to install ordering ...

Development group still looking for the right fit to fill big new industrial building on east edge of town

The 153,000 square-foot building on the eastern edge of Lawrence currently stores patience. When you construct a large industrial building without a tenant, you had better be well-stocked in that attribute. Leaders gathered Wednesday afternoon for an open house at the first building constructed at VenturePark, the city-owned business park near 23rd Street and O’Connell Road on the east edge of town. The ...

Chief executive of LMH to receive slight bump in salary in 2019

The chief executive officer of Lawrence Memorial Hospital will see his salary hold basically steady in 2019. Board members of LMH Health on Wednesday approved a compensation package of $582,812 for CEO Russ Johnson. That was up less than $1,000 from the $581,945 that he was paid in 2018. Board members said they were pleased with Johnson’s performance. The relatively small increase comes from the unique ...

Renovation work underway to convert south Iowa Street building into gun range

Rick Sells knows some folks like to unwind by hitting a bucket of 50 golf balls. He also knows there is an increasing number who find their relaxation by squeezing off 50 rounds of ammunition into a target. While that growing audience of gun enthusiasts is one reason Sells has spent more than four years trying to open a gun range in Lawrence, it is not the only one. He’s becoming more convinced that people ...

As 23rd Street shopping center prepares to be demolished, businesses are on the move

A shopping center is getting torn down, businesses are on the move, and an old barbecue joint will be offering up new lessons. All this is to say, I’ve got updates on a trio of 23rd Street businesses that soon will have new homes. • As we reported last month, plans have been filed to tear down the shopping center at 1401 W. 23rd St. and replace it with a multistory apartment and retail building. That has ...

Apparel retailer signs deal to locate in former Ernst & Son Hardware building

The basement of the Ernst & Son Hardware building in downtown long had the reputation as a massive storage vault, housing everything from covered wagon parts to things that weren't even useful anymore. Well, that big storage space has helped seal a deal for new retail life at the building. The sports apparel store Jock’s Nitch has signed a deal to move into the space at 826 Massachusetts St. later this ...

Longtime gourmet burger restaurant gets makeover after dispute with city plays part in ownership change

Pergolas have always confused me. I build a patio with a leaky roof, and people call me an awful carpenter. You build a pergola, and people praise you as an artistic landscaper. Whatever the case may be, a disputed pergola oddly has opened up a new set of opportunities for a pair of Lawrence restaurant owners. Some of you had asked recently whether Dempsey’s Burger Pub at 623 Vermont St. had closed. Well, it ...

New Lawrence restaurant offering breakfast burritos, and soon, something called 'American bar-style' burritos

On almost any given day, I tell myself that the workplace needs more mashed potatoes. (Yes, you really shouldn’t open my bottom file drawer.) A Lawrence company that has been bringing mashed potatoes and other delights to area offices is in expansion mode. Poorboy Burrito Co. has opened at 19th and Massachusetts streets, marking the first restaurant location for the company that, up until now, has focused ...

National dental chain plans to open in Lawrence; details on record-setting construction year

A long vacant property near the entrance of the SuperTarget retail area in south Lawrence is set to be filled. But don’t look for an exciting new retailer or restaurant. Instead, look for a dentist office with a twist. The twist: This dental practice will be part of a large national chain. Plans have been filed for Aspen Dental to locate on the vacant lot at the southeast corner of 31st Street and Nieder ...

Sales tax returns show local holiday shopping was strong; report shows Lawrence residents have some of the better credit scores in Kansas

Perhaps the Thanksgiving turkey was laced with optimism. (I’m going to blame optimism on breaking my elastic waistband.) Whatever the case, the latest numbers indicate Lawrence retailers benefited from shoppers in a buying mood during the critical Black Friday holiday shopping period. The city received its January sales tax check from the state of Kansas, which covers sales made primarily in November, ...

Fish and ice cream? West Lawrence restaurant rolls out new concept; tour one of Lawrence's biggest new buildings

When I’m not in the mood for ice cream, I’m usually in the mood for raw tuna. Fortunately, I’m always in the mood for ice cream. But some of you may not be, and a west Lawrence ice cream shop is branching out by serving its take on poke bowls, which is becoming one of the food trends of the year. The ice cream shop Freezing Moo, 4651 W. Sixth St., is now also housing a restaurant called Urban Grill & ...

NCAA's De Sousa ruling raises new questions about whether KU coaches committed violations

University of Kansas officials already have used the terms “mean-spirited” and “vindictive” to describe the NCAA and its suspension of KU basketball player Silvio De Sousa. But NCAA officials also used a term that should have the full attention of the leaders and fans of KU basketball: "booster." As part of its announcement on Friday, the NCAA for the first time publicly described the individual who ...

A 23rd Street restaurant is closing; a new tenant for former Montana Mike's on Iowa

Not even a potbelly stove was enough to stave off a cool-down in business along what used to be one of Lawrence’s busiest commercial corridors. In other words, there is news of another business closing along 23rd Street: Potbelly Sandwich Shop. The general manager of the restaurant at 1618 W. 23rd St. confirmed to me that today is the last day of business for the Lawrence Potbelly location. It is open until ...

Bar and grill with Italian twist opens in downtown spot that housed Genovese

Regrettably, the new 1856 Bar & Grill in downtown Lawrence isn’t an excuse for me to wear my spurs and other fancy western attire after all. The place — located in the former home of the Italian restaurant Genovese — isn’t some sort of themed restaurant. But for fans of the former Genovese, 941 Massachusetts St., it is still a place to get some of that restaurant’s top Italian dishes. (But no, ...

Lawrence housing prices jump by more than 13 percent in 2018; buyers show signs of pulling back

The new number in the Lawrence housing market is $200,000. While Lawrence housing prices have been causing people to wring their hands for years, statistically speaking, the odds were in your favor of finding a home in town for well below $200,000. A new report shows a dramatic increase in home prices has changed that. Lawrence housing prices in 2018 grew at their fastest rate in recent memory, and the median ...

Report says Kansas stacking up public debt; Douglas County debt totals soar over last decade

I’m sure glad my household doesn’t measure debt levels on a per capita basis. (If it did, the obvious solution would be to have another child.) The state of Kansas, though, does measure its debt on a per capita basis, and the state’s new treasurer is waving a red flag that Kansas may have a problem in that area. Kansas had statewide debt of $1,554 per person in 2018, which was by far the highest amount ...