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Archive for Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Briefcase

February 22, 2005

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The Mattress Firm plans Lawrence store

The Mattress Firm, a Houston-based bedding retailer, anticipates opening a store this summer in Lawrence.

The company plans to occupy 5,000 square feet in one of two free-standing buildings along the north side of 31st Street, in the parking lots outside The Home Depot and Best Buy.

The Mattress Firm has signed a letter of intent for the space and intends to complete lease negotiations "very soon," said Myra Esquivel, who works in the company's real estate division.

The Mattress Firm already has nine stores in the Kansas City metro area, with plans for a 10th later this year in Overland Park. The company has 300 company-owned and franchise stores in 19 states.

"Lawrence fits our profile," Esquivel said. "Kansas City is what we consider a core market, and we're just expanding on that market."

Restaurants

Chili's leader resigns

The president of the Chili's Grill & Bar chain of restaurants has resigned, the chain's parent company announced Monday.

Wilson Craft, who had been president of the chain since 2003, said in a statement that his resignation was best "for me and my family at this time."

Taking over Craft's responsibilities on an interim basis will be Todd Diener, chief operating officer of Brinker International Inc., the chain's parent company.

Diener had been Chili's president from 1998 to 2003.

Chili's has more than 1,000 locations, including one in Lawrence.

Fuel

Gasoline supplies ease pressure on prices

Retail gas prices dropped slightly in the last two weeks as oil price increase were checked by an increase in the gasoline supply, an industry analyst said.

The average retail price for all three grades dropped half a cent to $1.93 between Feb. 5 and Friday, said Trilby Lundberg, who publishes the semimonthly Lundberg Survey of 7,000 gas stations across the country.

The most popular grade, self-serve regular, was priced at $1.90 a gallon, while customers paid $2 for midgrade. Premium averaged $2.10 a gallon for the period.

She said gas prices would likely rise in the future toward a peak during the summer driving months of June, July and August.

Estate

Susan Buffett's will benefits foundation

The bulk of the late Susan Buffett's $2.76 billion estate will go to the Buffett Foundation, leaving another $59 million for bequests and trusts for family and friends.

About $2.5 billion will go to the Omaha-based foundation, according to Susan Buffett's will, filed with the Douglas County Probate Court.

Susan Buffett was the wife of billionaire investor Warren Buffett and a key figure in the Buffett investment vehicle, Berkshire Hathaway Inc. She died in July from a stroke at the age of 72.

The estate is expected to be settled sometime next year.

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