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Archive for Thursday, April 22, 2010

Kansas Sampler to open in downtown Lawrence

April 22, 2010

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Kansas Sampler to join downtown businesses

Work is under way at the former Blue Heron Furnishings site to convert the store to a Kansas Sampler. Enlarge video

A big dose of Kansas is coming to Massachusetts Street.

The Kansas Sampler — a regional chain store of Sunflower State-themed apparel and souvenirs — plans to open by early May at 921 Mass., the large space formerly occupied by Blue Heron Furniture store.

“If you are in Lawrence visiting, you are going to end up on Mass Street at some point,” said Aaron Liebert, co-owner of Kansas Sampler. “We want to be the must-see retail location on Mass.”

About 60 percent of the store’s merchandise will be KU-themed shirts, hats, or other Jayhawk-oriented products. The remainder of the store’s offerings will include Kansas-produced food products ranging from salsas to barbecue sauces, Kansas guide books, leather goods, and the old Wizard of Oz standbys.

The new lease ends speculation about whether one of downtown’s larger vacant spaces would be turned into a restaurant. Building owner Dick Raney said he turned down about four bar and restaurant proposals for the space.

“It was important to me to get a retailer,” Raney said. “I really don’t understand why downtown has to go the way it has recently with all the bars and restaurants. I think that can change some.”

Liebert said he was attracted to the entertainment feel that downtown has, and he believes his business will be in a good position to capitalize off of it with late evening hours. The store will be open until 9 p.m. every day except Sundays.

The Lawrence store will be the company’s seventh store in the area, with the others in Overland Park, Mission, Topeka, Leawood, Olathe and Kansas City, Mo.

Liebert said he hopes to have the store — which will employ 15 to 30 people, depending upon the season — open by May 1. A grand opening is set for the following weekend, which is Mother’s Day weekend.

The 921 Mass. space has been vacant since August, when Blue Heron closed its furniture store. Blue Heron has since reopened in North Lawrence at 642 Locust.

Comments

puddleglum 3 years, 12 months ago

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Rich Noever 3 years, 12 months ago

I hope they sell trophy cases. Wait a minute, we can buy some empty ones from K-Sate! They have plenty.

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Ralph Reed 3 years, 12 months ago

hmmm, other Kansas stuff ... There's a small company that makes spicy pickled garlic. Hope the store carries it -- hate having to drive to Paxico for a fix.

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missmagoo 3 years, 12 months ago

Will they sell K-State and Mizzou... and Chiefs and Royals like other Kansas Sampler locations?

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kansasfire911 3 years, 12 months ago

Hmm now that the little guy is out of the way they can move right in. I'm surprised they didn't move into the old Joe College store just so they can shove the knife deeper. I call shenanigans!!

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rodentgirl16 3 years, 12 months ago

I hope they carry those chocolate covered sunflower seeds. Those things are delicious!

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parrotuya 3 years, 12 months ago

Not the best retail store but still a good choice. The Kansas Sampler stores in KC sell a ton of KU stuff as well as KSU and MU and smaller schools stuff. I generally find what I am looking for there but the prices are on the high side. KU students can take the parents there for souvenirs while visiting Mass. street. Hope it works out.

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Tammy Copp-Barta 3 years, 12 months ago

Cause we KNOW we don't have enough stores with Lawrence and Kansas stuff in this town ... at least it's not another restaurant in downtown.

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Norma Jeane Baker 3 years, 12 months ago

I'll be joining you, Pywacket, in patronizing this place. I agree that it will be nice to have a shop open after dinner or before heading out for some drinks.

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oneeye_wilbur 3 years, 12 months ago

It's going to take more than 60percent ku stuff to get people downtown to shop, but you should be admired pywacket for making an attempt to help keep the place open.

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davidsmom 3 years, 12 months ago

I shop at the Kansas Sampler in Mission. It's my favorite store. They carry items from several Big 12 schools (KU, K-State, Mizzou, Oklahoma...) as well as Pitt State, the K.C. Royals and the Chiefs (all officially licensed) as well as generic Kansas stuff.

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puddleglum 3 years, 12 months ago

I think Kstate purple is technically KU trademarked "blue" and "red" mixed together so it just a matter of time before Willy Wildcat ends up wearing some other color. I was thinking something like orange and yellow. Or there is always "second-place green" available.

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Jane 3 years, 12 months ago

Finally a place in town where I can buy KState gear! Love it!

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CLARKKENT 3 years, 12 months ago

WILL BE NICE IF WE CAN FINALLY BUY SOME PURPLE STUFF IN LAWRENCE. HOPE LEW WILL ALLOW. [SMILE]

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blue73harley 3 years, 12 months ago

Great addition to Lawrence! Finally some place to buy Wildcat stuff.

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Pywacket 3 years, 12 months ago

I don't know, Wilbur, but I will make a point of going there, if only to reward him for staying open in the evenings. Those of us who do not pull down the shades and put out the cat at sundown should support and encourage businesses that keep decent evening hours. Maybe other stores will take note.

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oneeye_wilbur 3 years, 12 months ago

Did Raney hold out for a retailer or the retailer is all he could get. It's a might big building just to sell jam and jelly from. Let's see if the place will have a BIG collection of postcards promoting the state of Kansas and Lawrence as well. That' shouldn 't be too hard nor take too much space.

Will it have a Kansas Sampler restaurant? Not sure how many jars of jelly and quilted sunflower pillows one needs to sell, but it will have to be cheap rent.

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hawkman8950 3 years, 12 months ago

Wait a minute, will Fortune 500 Lew and Mouthpiece Marchiony force this store to close down since it has Kansas in the title of the company?? lol

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rabb 3 years, 12 months ago

"Liebert said he was attracted to the entertainment feel that downtown has, and he believes his business will be in a good position to capitalize off of it with late evening hours. The store will be open until 9 p.m. every day except Sundays."

“It was important to me to get a retailer,” Raney said. “I really don’t understand why downtown has to go the way it has recently with all the bars and restaurants. I think that can change some.”


The guy that leased the building likes the "entertainment feel" of downtown.
The owner of the building doesn't like all the bars and restaurants downtown.
Gotta love Lawrence!

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mightyquin 3 years, 12 months ago

I think this will be a great addition to downtown. Kudos to Dick Ramey for holding out for a retailer and not letting another bar or restaurant move in.

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d_prowess 3 years, 12 months ago

Open till 9pm, huh. Well, maybe this is just the test case downtown needs to see if stores can make the revenue to offset the expenses of staying open later during the week. The traditional argument seemed to always be that there wasn't.

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