Archive for Saturday, September 29, 2007

Coffee shop regulars appear in magazine

September 29, 2007

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Lawrence has some new 'low-key' celebrities

Lawrence has some new celebrities in town - and you won't have to fight through the paparazzi to meet them. Enlarge video

Gary Marshall and Keith Fellenstein are easy to find. They are regulars each morning at La Prima Tazza on Massachusetts Street.

Their favorite seats are on the two benches outside the coffee shop. In fact, they prefer the bench to the right of the front door.

Fellenstein and Marshall were just two faces in a crowd until this week, when they appeared in a photo sitting in their usual seats in front of La Prima Tazza in the current issue of U.S. News & World Report.

"My cousin e-mailed and told me about the picture," said Marshall, 65, who used to work construction.

The photo was part of an article naming Lawrence one of America's 10 best places to retire.

There was no posing involved. Hold the magazine up side-by-side to the men and you get a near mirror image. The only difference is a third man in the photo, Marshall's cousin Donald Knight, a retired firefighter, wasn't there Friday morning. He is visiting in Colorado.

"They have been here longer than anyone," Sarah Richardson, La Prima Tazza manager, said of the new celebrities. "They kind of have the run of the place."

Around the coffee shop they are known as "The Slackers." The men occasionally wander inside to wash out their mugs, grab a refill or help clean up. But most of their time is spent outside shooting the breeze and talking with just about anyone who happens by.

"They're great," Richardson said. "They help me out and they also keep an eye on my parking meter."

Places for retirees in Lawrence was the topic of conversation when the two men were approached by a U.S. News & World Report photographer this summer.

"We mostly talked to him about places to eat," Fellenstein said.

Wheatfields Bakery and Free State Brewing Co. were just two of the places on the list. When it came to local attractions, they named Kansas University's Spencer Museum of Art and the Lawrence Farmers Market.

Retired life has been good to both men. Fellenstein retired from the Hallmark Cards plant in Lawrence in December. The 51-year-old is considered "just a kid" by the older Marshall. Motorcycles are Fellenstein's current hobby.

"I spend most of my days elbow deep in grease," he said.

And while Fellenstein still calls Lawrence home, Marshall's just visiting. His home is in Wrangell, Alaska.

"I like to keep three time zones between me and my daughter," he joked. "Works out a lot better that way."

- 6News reporter Crispin Lopez can be reached at 832-6335.

Comments

ksks2525 7 years, 9 months ago

So, as a person involved in Economic Development and Downtown Revitalization, (in another city) I think it's funny and disappointing that Richardson actually admitted right in the newspaper that she parks her vehicle right outside the front of her store. This is a classic problem, shop owners and managers complaining that their stores don't have enough parking access for their customers and then they are the ones who take the prime spots. Just a suggestion: park around the back! Here's to a thriving Downtown Lawrence....

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