A new bookstore that features titles presenting alternative points of view is one of several new businesses in downtown Lawrence.
Michael Nelson, owner of Terra Nova Books, 920 Mass., said the store will serve general-interest audiences but also will offer books on multicultural topics. The store will feature sections on gay and lesbian topics, women's studies and alternative children's literature, he said.
Terra Nova Books, which is in the building formerly occupied by the Mister Guy clothing store, was scheduled to open today. Barbara Clark is its manager.
Nelson emphasized that diversity was the theme for the market that the store is targeting.
"We don't want to be associated with any one issue," he said.
Terra Nova Books' inventory already has a strong complement of small-press titles, but Nelson said he wants to increase that.
"We're really trying to develop a small-press presence within the bookstore," he said. "There are a lot of great writers out there who don't get published by the large presses."
ACROSS THE street from Terra Nova Books will be Aspen Beach Co., a casual apparel store that is scheduled to open Friday. Darrell Burke, owner of the store at 939 Mass., said the Lawrence store is a satellite of the Aspen Beach Co. store he's operated for the past year in Overland Park.
Burke said he decided to open a store in the former location of Lawrence Floral and Gifts to expand a market he was serving in the original store.
"A lot of our clientele this summer were students from Lawrence," he said.
Burke likened the store's inventory to that of stores in The Gap chain and said it will offer unisex clothing such as T-shirts and jeans. The store also will carry seasonal merchandise such as beachwear and winter sportswear.
The store will offer ready-to-wear and custom swimwear and a tanning salon after Christmas, Burke said.
ANOTHER downtown business, Kaw River Mercantile Co. has moved to 946 Mass., a site formerly occupied by Beneficial Finance.
Jim Chappell, a local attorney and businessman who owns the convenience store, said he bought the building and moved the business south on Massachusetts to take advantage of parking available behind the new location.
That allows the business to serve customers who drive to the store, said Chappell, who was elected to the Douglas County Commission two weeks ago. He explained that the shortage of parking at the previous location, 814 Mass., pretty much limited the store to a walk-in trade.
Chappell said the convenience store features snack and quick-lunch foods, gourmet coffees and fountain drinks, which he hopes will appeal to office workers at the south end of downtown.
"From a business standpoint, we're able (at the new location) to take care of the courthouse people who now have nowhere else to go," he said. "We want to take advantage of people who are on the run for lunch."
THE BUILDING at 814 Mass. that Kaw River Mercantile previously occupied has been leased for a new restaurant, Blue Bird Diner, which is scheduled to open in January.
Sheryl Robertson, who until recently was floor manager and purchaser for Community Mercantile grocery cooperative, said her partner in the Blue Bird Diner is P.J. Karlin, an original owner of Paradise Cafe, 728 Mass.
Although the diner's menu will offer deli-style soups and sandwiches, Robertson said the restaurant's main feature will be a bakery that will produce homemade pot pies and other pastry-laced entrees.
The diner also will offer a large number of vegetarian items, she said.