Archive for Sunday, January 17, 2010

Lawrence losing shoppers

City sales tax revenue below average

The Legends 14 movie theater sign is reflected in the fountain pool that is a centerpiece fixture in the shopping complex in Kansas City, Kan. Sales tax numbers show that the Legends and other shopping areas might be drawing people away from spending in Lawrence.

The Legends 14 movie theater sign is reflected in the fountain pool that is a centerpiece fixture in the shopping complex in Kansas City, Kan. Sales tax numbers show that the Legends and other shopping areas might be drawing people away from spending in Lawrence.

January 17, 2010


Tiva Bruns, Lawrence, left, and her daughter Nixi Swedlund, 12, design a shirt for a gift at ACME T-Shirt Shop, 847 Mass., during a Christmas shopping trip in downtown Lawrence last month. Sales tax revenues declined for Lawrence in 2009.

Tiva Bruns, Lawrence, left, and her daughter Nixi Swedlund, 12, design a shirt for a gift at ACME T-Shirt Shop, 847 Mass., during a Christmas shopping trip in downtown Lawrence last month. Sales tax revenues declined for Lawrence in 2009.

Pull factors

Here’s a look at the most recent pull factors for Kansas’ largest cities, and the amount of change in the scores over the last four years. A score of 1.0 means per capita retail sales are equal to the statewide average. A score greater than 1.0 indicates sales are above the state’s per capita average.

  1. Lenexa: 1.69 (+.04)
  2. Overland Park: 1.62 (-.09)
  3. Junction City: 1.55 (+.44)
  4. Topeka: 1.44 (-.07)
  5. Salina: 1.44 (-.04)
  6. Hutchinson: 1.36 (-.07)
  7. Garden City: 1.31 (-.06)
  8. Liberal: 1.28 (+.04)
  9. Manhattan: 1.25 (+.02)
  10. Leawood: 1.23 (+.04)
  11. Olathe: 1.21(-.15)
  12. Wichita: 1.20 (-.03)
  13. Dodge City: 1.14 (-.02)
  14. Pittsburg: 1.12 (+.01)
  15. Fort Scott: 1.11 (+.02)
  16. Coffeyville: 1.04 (+.03)
  17. Emporia: 1.04 (-.04)
  18. Parsons: 1.03 (+.08)
  19. Lawrence: 0.99 (-.11)
  20. Shawnee: 0.98 (-.16)
  21. Atchison: 0.98 (+.01)
  22. Newton: 0.96 (-.09)
  23. Kansas City: 0.84 (+.21)
  24. Leavenworth: 0.77 (-.06)
  25. Prairie Village: 0.64 (-.02)

— Source: Kansas Department of Revenue

Lawrence is no longer part of the club.

Of the approximately 600 cities and towns in Kansas, there have been a few — maybe around 50 — that have been part of a special club of communities that stand out as shopping superstars.

They are the group of communities that generate more sales per person than the statewide average. Since the state’s Department of Revenue started tracking the numbers in 2003, Lawrence has always been a part of the group.

But no more. Lawrence — the sixth-largest city in the state — now is officially a below-average community when it comes to retail sales activity.

“These new numbers are meaningful, and they are sad,” said Kirk McClure, a professor of urban planning at Kansas University.

A loss of pull

The new numbers technically are called pull factors. That’s really just a fancy way of measuring how active a retail market is in a city. Researchers with the Kansas Department of Revenue each year calculate the amount of sales taxes collected per person in a community. They then compare the city’s per capita sales tax collections with the statewide per capita sales tax collections.

If the two figures are equal, the city scores a 1.0. If the city has higher per capita sales than the state, it receives a score higher than 1.0, which theoretically is a sign that it is attracting more shoppers from other communities than it is losing. If a city has lower per capita sales than the state, it receives a score of less than 1.0, which theoretically is a sign that it is losing more shoppers to other communities than it is attracting.

Now that we’ve got the math lesson out of the way, here’s what you need to know about Lawrence: Its pull factor is now 0.99.

That may sound fine, because it means Lawrence is just a shade below the statewide average. But at City Hall, the number is a red flag because it continues a trend of Lawrence losing ground in the retail market. In 2004, Lawrence was 10 percent above the statewide average. In 2006, it was 12 percent above the average. And remember, this number is one that is relative to every other community. In other words, just because the economy has taken a downturn doesn’t mean that Lawrence’s number was destined to go down.

“The drop we’re seeing is a definite concern,” said Mayor Rob Chestnut.

New competition

In trying to figure out why the number has dropped, City Commissioner Mike Dever said a good place to start is east of here.

Lawrence’s decline has come at the same time that large new retailers have established themselves around the Kansas Speedway in western Wyandotte County and Kansas City, Kan. During the same period that Lawrence has seen its pull factor decline by 11 points, Kansas City, Kan., has watched its pull factor increase by 21 points.

Dever said he’s certain many Lawrence residents have spent time checking out the new retail developments around the race track.

“There are a lot of new places to look at, and while they’re looking they are purchasing,” Dever said.

At the same time, traditional Johnson County shopping strongholds have done a better job of holding their own against the new competition. Lenexa has the top pull factor of all large cities in the state, attracting 69 percent more in per capita sales than the statewide average. Overland Park is second.

“We certainly need to hope the allure of some of these new developments will wane, and they will get back to shopping locally,” Dever said.

Build more vs. build less

Hope, though, is not the only strategy city commissioners are likely to employ in trying to boost the city’s retail fortunes.

Chestnut said he’s now considering appointing a retail task force that would give retailers a chance to report ideas directly to the city.

Joe Flannery, president of Weaver’s Department Store in downtown, said there are lots of issues to think about.

“One thing you have to consider is that about 9,000 of KU’s student population are from Johnson County, and they may be more likely to go back there to shop,” Flannery said. “How do we address that?”

Kelvin Heck, a commercial real estate broker with Lawrence-based Grubb Ellis/The Winbury Group, said the first step will be for Lawrence to decide whether it wants to make retail a major part of its economy.

“The numbers we’re seeing now are not terribly surprising,” Heck said. “We have chosen as a city to not encourage a lot of retail development. I think that has been a conscientious choice at the City Hall level.”

That attitude may be changing some. Chestnut said he wants a new task force to study what the community can do to more formally promote retail sales in Lawrence. And he said that very well could include looking at trying to attract additional retail development.

“I think part of the answer is creating some attractions to not only keep shoppers here but also to bring folks from outside the community,” Chestnut said.

How that should be done, however, could be a topic of future debate. McClure, the KU professor — who writes a frequent blog critical of the city’s planning efforts in matters of retail and housing — is urging commissioners to clamp down on nearly all new retail development outside of downtown. His theory is that new big box retailers in Lawrence will do nothing to attract Johnson County shoppers over to Lawrence.

“We shouldn’t build more,” McClure said. “We should build smarter. We need to think about how to contract the supply, and then work on making our downtown the most attractive tourist magnet we can be.”

Chestnut said he strongly disagrees with McClure’s analysis. The main point of difference seems to be over how many Lawrence residents actually are leaving the city to go shop in Kansas City and elsewhere.

McClure contends the number is not as large as some think. Instead, he believes Lawrence’s pull factor has gone down because Johnson County shoppers who once visited downtown are now spending more time at the speedway shops and other new developments.

Chestnut contends Lawrence is losing out on both fronts: Fewer Johnson County shoppers, and Lawrence residents who are leaving the city to shop.

Hard data on the subject isn’t easy to come by, but Chestnut said the anecdotal evidence — everything from the number of residents who commute to work outside Lawrence to the number of Douglas County license plates seen in Kansas City shopping districts — is strong.

“I’m a firm believer (that) you have to let the market decide what opportunities exist, but I’m convinced there are plenty of them here,” Chestnut said.

The paycheck factor

But both sides do acknowledge there is one other factor that plays a role in the equation. New income numbers over the last several years have continually shown Lawrence wages to be lagging those of many peer communities.

The most recent report — a study conducted by city economic development coordinator Roger Zalneraitis — found the average wage in Lawrence was $32,000 per year, compared with $37,000 per year in 15 cities that have similar demographics and characteristics of Lawrence.

The lower wages bring up the question of whether the city’s retail slide is a function of not having as much disposable income as residents of other cities.

“I think we need to attack this from multiple angles,” Dever said. “We do need to recognize that building tons of retail space isn’t going to fix the fundamental problem of better paying jobs and incomes in Lawrence.

“But I think we all recognize we can’t have a thriving retail scene without a thriving economy.”


sheriearly17 7 years, 10 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

Kookamooka 7 years, 10 months ago

The photographs are misleading. The Legends in KCK may have contributed to a pull factor increase but Lawrence is still 15 points ahead of KCK. There has to be more than shopping to draw people to a place.

It sickens me to think that all of our great family entertainment..Putt Putt, Roller Rink, Dollar Movie Theater...were all torn down by developers wanting to put more shopping on Iowa. That sends the message that the only fun you can have here is to shop for crap and spend money. I think Lawrence should distinguish themselves another way. I don't want to shop recreationally.

Rex Russell 7 years, 10 months ago

Let's see if I can make a prediction here. The idealistic Progressives will ignore all the data supporting the idea that we need more unique retail space in Lawrence. ...And Mr. Dever and his conservative/business friends will pay no mind the fact that you can live here AND work here because of the low wages/salaries. ....And nothing will get accomplished. I know a large number of people looking for work right now. Most started looking for positions IN Lawrence first becauce they like it here and didn't want to move. I consistantly hear stories of offers coming at 15-25% of what they could get in Topeka or KC. Been that way for the nearly 20 yrs. I've lived here. It's still thoroughly amazing we can't attract 35-40k+ jobs here in Lawrence. Simply amazing. On the other side of the coin, the Legends is great. I like the T-Bones for family entertainment. Not much into NASCAR, but a lot are. But let's be honest, Lawrence is what the people who control Lawrence want it to be. A commuter community with retail. That's where they make their money. Real Estate and Building Construction drive everything here. A lot of hot wind coming from the commission. But I seriously doubt any good paying jobs or exciting development to be blown into town with it. After 20 yrs. of it, I'm allowed to be pessimistic.

LogicMan 7 years, 10 months ago

To keep my big purchases here in town, we really really really need a full sized Costco or Sam's Club, and fast. I make special trips to Topeka or KC just to shop there.

Richard Heckler 7 years, 10 months ago

West side developers have been destroying the downtown retail market for years. The Lawrence economy was doing fine until the west side development raised its head.

They also have had tons of commercial property sitting around town approved for development but unable to attract tenants. Banana Republic said no so we hear. Why? Because retailers realize Lawrence,Kansas has more retail space than it can support = no economic gain.

Lawrence is surrounded by retail giants such as Topeka,Legends,JOCO/KCMO metro plus the Power and Light District. AND not very far away at all.

The only people that want a "shop till you drop" mentality focused on Lawrence are real estate developers. They cost taxpayers a lot of expendable cash aka tax dollars.

The fact that the "shop till you drop" mentality was missing from Lawrence was a primary factor in deciding on Lawrence as our home. Our plan was if we cannot find it in Lawrence we'll plan a trip to KCMO metro one day.... no rush. We find a good deal of what we need in Lawrence,Kansas AND we do not shop Wal-Mart.

Excellent paying jobs NOT financed by the taxpayers should be the focus NOT more retail. The retail game is controlled by the larger metro areas. Excellent shopping choices and prices are not that far away. What new retail is here is downsized shopping = not as many choices.

People do not come to Lawrence to shop our big boxes.... they have their own. Downtown has always been the primary attraction. An over retailed market is unfriendly to existing business.... the bottom line.

Rex Russell 7 years, 10 months ago

My mistake: It should read: "can't live here AND work here" Very important error.

Richard Heckler 7 years, 10 months ago

Economic Growth Problems in Lawrence: =========================================== ATLANTA (Reuters) - A dismal job market, a crippled real estate sector and hobbled banks will keep a lid on U.S. economic growth over the coming decade, some of the nation's leading economists said on Sunday.'

Richard Heckler 7 years, 10 months ago

America Is Over Stored

This decade's building frenzy produced a bumper crop of new retail space. But the occupants haven't materialized.

The carnage in retail hasn't been this bad since an anarchist bombed Chicago's Haymarket Square in 1886. In January, Liz Claiborne said it would shutter 54 Sigrid Olsen stores by mid-2008; Ann Taylor announced that 117 of its 921 stores would be closed over the next three years, and Talbots axed the Talbots Men's and Talbots Kids concepts and 22 Talbots stores. (Those muffled screams you hear are Connecticut preppies trying to suppress their rage.) Even Starbucks has scaled back its yearlong saturation-bombing campaign.

Blame that exhausted marathon runner, the American consumer. Fueled by cheap credit instead of PowerGel, she looked great at Mile 16, but bonked at Mile 23 and is now crawling to the finish line. Sales fell in December, putting the cap on a miserable Christmas season. Last week the government reported that retail sales rose 3.9 percent between January 2007 and January 2008. But back out inflation and sales of gasoline, and retail sales fell in real terms in the past year. Clearly, demand is down.

And supply is up. This decade's building frenzy produced a bumper crop of new retail space—from McStrip malls built near new McMansions, to hip new boutiques in the ground floors of hip new Miami condo buildings. But as is the case with those McMansions and condos, the occupants for new retail space haven't materialized. In the fourth quarter of 2007, the national retail-vacancy rate rose for the 11th straight quarter to 7.5 percent—the highest level since 1996, according to research firm Reis, Inc. With new projects coming online—34 million square feet of retail space will be completed in 2008—the rate is expected to spike further to 8 percent. In the parlance of the trade, many chains are simply over-stored.


Rex Russell 7 years, 10 months ago

I'd like to see a study on WHY the 5k difference in salaries and wages that was mentioned in the article in LWC. It would be interesting to hear the breakdown in cause(s)/effect(s).

Jean1183 7 years, 10 months ago

It has been pointed out for several years that Lawrence needs to attract businesses that offer better wages and that downtown needs to do something to become more attractive to shoppers (ie: do something about all the homeless in downtown AND DO NOT put them at Don's Steakhouse where the first thing visitors to Lawrence see are loitering bums, and get rid of the bars/venues where all the shootings and/or fights are happening). Another draw for Lawrence would be some sort of attraction for families. There is basically nothing here for kids to do.

Jean1183 7 years, 10 months ago

And another thing----I once heard that Red Lobster was interested in coming to Lawrence but couldn't because their signage was too tall??? Why don't we have an Olive Garden? Cracker Barrel? Golden Corral? Maybe Lawrence should try to attract one of those places to the new development in East Lawrence.

Steve Jacob 7 years, 10 months ago

I always say there is nothing to do for kids here. The movie theater is junk compared to KC, malls gave places for the kids to play (without homeless people to worry about). Among other things like seeing Nebraska Furniture Mart trucks in town everyday, and KC P&L has a more "buzz" and is more upscale then downtown, and maybe even safer.

monkeyhawk 7 years, 10 months ago

“We shouldn’t build more,” McClure said. “We should build smarter."

Beware of anything with "smart" anywhere around it. I seriously doubt that McClure and the lapdog, merrill, are that unhappy about the slow death of Lawrence. It has been the goal of the progressives. They cheer the bad news. The people of Lawrence are mere tools for the experimentation of the enlightened academic - Alinsky guinea pigs.

How many are deliberately taking their dollars out of Lawrence as an act of protest? Maybe they don't want to pay extra for the pleasure of supporting an M-T bus or hike/bike trails while the streets still suck. How many outside of Lawrence are avoiding downtown in order not to have to deal with the demands of the "downtrodden"?

Maybe Mr. McC can advise the city leaders as to how they can force Lawrence citizens to spend their money locally.

John Hamm 7 years, 10 months ago

SURPRISE! I've been griping for years you can't buy anything here. "It's not in stock," " we don't carry those," "oh yes we're a XXXXX store, but we don't carry any of that equipment........" What'da'ya expect? Retailers in Lawrence need to remember one old adage, "You can't do business from an empty wagon." Oh, yes. It doesn't hurt to pay attention to customers - remember another old adage, "customer service." That doesn't mean a bunch of young "employees" standing around waiting to be asked for assistance while they txt and chat with each other.

Sharon Aikins 7 years, 10 months ago

Downtown? I vaguely remember it. I've lived here for a long time and haven't been downtown in more years than I can remember. Instead of making it a more desirable destination, over the years of trying to make it the hub of Lawrence, we have turned it into a hive of bars, clubs, restaurants that no one wants to go to after dark and a few overpriced shops. Why on earth would anyone want to shop there? Not to mention all the panhandlers I keep reading about and the inconvenience for anyone with the slightest disability. The last time I was there, I mostly found it dirty and disgusting with trees blocking the names of the stores if driving down Mass.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 7 years, 10 months ago

The reason for this is really simple, and there is no easy solution. Maybe no solution at all.

Lawrence is a bedroom community many decades in the making, situated between two larger metropolitan areas that also provide a huge percentage of the employment for this town, and those employed in those areas are very likely to do a good deal of their shopping there. And as the article mentions, there are thousands of students who regularly go back home to do much of their shopping.

Being a smaller community than Topeka or Johnson County, with fewer shopping opportunities, few people from those communities are going to come here to do a significant amount of shopping.

We are already overbuilt in retail, so just building more on top of that will only result in the loss of existing retail, and eventually blight from the vacated buildings that creates.

Richard Heckler 7 years, 10 months ago

"The extreme consumption of this current gilded age has inspired a backlash. In December, hedge-fund billionaire Ray Dalio ran full-page advertisements in newspapers urging Americans to eschew Christmas gifts and instead make donations to charity. Maybe he's just run out of things to buy. Or maybe he's surfing the Zeitgeist. "There's a glut of stores," says Judith Levine, author of "Not Buying It: My Year Without Shopping." "Our physical, intellectual and emotional and psychological space is filled up with consumption."

Levine laments the wholesale transformation of open spaces into enclosed retail environments (like, say, Barnes & Noble superstores, where you can buy "Not Buying It"). And the incessant bombardment of advertising may be inspiring a backlash that pushes people to consume less.

The anti-consumer Freegan movement—urbanites who try to get by through recycling, scrounging and foraging—are taking it to the extreme. These modern Henry David Thoreaus have opted out of the whole rotten capitalist system.

Working 60 hours per week and chasing job promotion "for the sake of buying the latest crap off the Sharper Image store shelf is no way to live," says Adam Weissman, spokesperson for (Hey, dude, one might say the same about diving into Dumpsters in search of day-old bread and discarded futons.)"

CAH 7 years, 10 months ago

I don't shop downtown anymore either. As the last poster said, just overpriced shops and bars. It's not the fault of the shops that they are overpriced, but the fault of certain people who own most of downtown and charge outrageous rents. I agree that there is nothing to do here. Our movie theater is so uncomfortable that I won't go there. As another poster said, we lost our Putt-Putt to yet another bank and the roller rink to retail development. What is there to do except drink and shop?

Richard Heckler 7 years, 10 months ago

BTW The Antique Mall is doing better as shoppers now discover the beauty in cool used goods that are timeless.

By Kim McClure

July 24, 2009

To the editor:

The July 14 editorial asks, “What’s downtown going to look like five, 10 or 15 years from now?” The answer can be known, and the picture is not pretty.

Lawrence has enough spending to support about 4.1 million square feet of retail space, but the City Commission permitted developers to expand the supply to over 5.5 million square feet.

Lawrence has too much retail space chasing too few vendors, which means that many stores go empty, especially in the older shopping centers like downtown.

The surplus development has stalled redevelopment plans downtown and has pushed the vacancy rates so high that disinvestment and blight now threaten. Investment, both public and private, is wasted. The taxpayers’ $8 million parking garage stands largely empty. The Hobbs-Taylor building and the 600 block of Massachusetts should be the top performing spaces in the community, but they have significant vacancies.

The recession has contributed to the problem, but had we properly managed our growth we would be much better off.

The developers’ short-term gain is now our long-term loss. Managed growth would have prevented much of the problem and would have protected and enhanced our downtown.

It will take many, many years to absorb this surplus space and, until this happens, it will be hard for downtown to compete. We can only look forward to many years of high vacancy and disinvestment. We need a City Commission that knows how to pace the growth of supply so as to protect our unique downtown.

McClure is from Lawrence

Scott Drummond 7 years, 10 months ago

The very nature and essence of the city has been altered by the "development" of the last 20-25 years. Lawrence used to be a town with a significant percentage of highly educated employees of the University who helped to forge a vibrant and interesting community. Real estate developers, however, were given free reign and introduced thousands of middle management commuters to the community. The unique character of Lawrence, as a result, was diluted and made as bland as any other turnpike exit. When Lawrence is exactly the same as anywhere in Topeka or Kansas City, there is no reason for anyone to go out of their way to visit. Would a town full of smart people clamor for an Olive Garden or Red Lobster? Take a look Lawrence, you're just not that smart or interesting any more.

LivedinLawrence4Life 7 years, 10 months ago

The reason hundreds of Lawrence moms are shopping at the Legends in KCK is that it really is much more fun for families than downtown Lawrence. There is no way Lawrence would have approved kid fun places like T-Rex or Dave and Busters. Legends is a basically a huge "cornfield mall" with "too big of a footprint" on "valuable crop ground" that Lawrence would have blocked for decades like the South Lawrence Trafficway. Lawrence denies applications of businesses and puts so many restrictions on them that they give up and go elsewhere. That kind of anti-business red tape at the city needs to change. The reason salaries in Lawrence lag behind other communities is because businesses that pay good salaries chose other communities that don't block their progress. We need to support business development in order to get better salaries. We need to approve cool and new stores and restaurants.

inglec 7 years, 10 months ago

Why does everyone of our commissioners along with our appointed mayor believe that if you build it they will come. Come on commissioners wake-up...we do not nor can Lawrence support more retail shops in either section of town. What the citizens of Lawrence have been screaming for,for many years is more opportunity to improve the job market within our city. But for whatever reasons thoughs opportunities never develop and we the people of Lawrence continue to work out of town. Until Lawrence improves it job market it won't support an increase in retail market.

Richard Heckler 7 years, 10 months ago

The residential “boom town” economy has come back to bite us in the butt because residential does not payback the cookie jar thus increased taxes/user fees. The market was flooded before the national scene took place so welcome to a double whammy. "Boom Town Economics" is not desirable because it is an illusion.

This commission will continue business as usual….approving more and more residential no matter what.

Their answer is “get more people to move to Lawrence”.

The fiscal responsible answer is tighter markets hold property values up not down.

Face it flooded residential markets are unfriendly to property values and their owners.

Will Lawrence continue to refuse performing Market Capacity Studies that would determine what the Lawrence market can absorb in residential and retail? One could imply government does not want to know!

Will Lawrence continue to refuse performing a Cost of Community Services Study by an uninterested party that would help determine what growth is or is not paying back? This could also provide direction for governing bodies. One could imply government does not want to know! No one on the city commission can just know these things.

Will the city also refuse to employ uninterested 2nd and 3rd party economic impact studies to be performed before approving any new projects that come before the city commission? One could imply government does not want to know!

Face it flooded retail markets are business unfriendly which apparently influenced the decision of Banana Republic to decline Lawrence not too long ago.

25 years of decisions based on speculation is coming back to haunt the taxpayers/property owners. Radio news is not optimistic about markets bouncing back anytime soon.

Flap Doodle 7 years, 10 months ago

We need more copy/paste activity. That's the solution to any problem.

monkeyhawk 7 years, 10 months ago

In the words of Asbestos, "shut up, merrill!" You are the problem, no where near the solution. I guess you think that you can indoctrinate people by your incessant, trite c&p. I doubt that most even read your stuff, let alone take it to heart. You are the Rodney Dangerfield of the forum.

Stephen Roberts 7 years, 10 months ago

The city of Lawrence needs to regulate the lawn care business more. I am really concerned about what they do the environment with their mowers and Merrill seems to have too much time on his hands to pollute the online forums with his cut and pastse crap.

LadyJ 7 years, 10 months ago

When you eliminate jobs you eliminate shoppers. People who have lost jobs don't have extra money to spend. Look at all the empty rentals caused by the city allowing big developments. They're saying we have enough retail buildings, well we have enough rentals too.

cowboy 7 years, 10 months ago

Lawrence leadership is such a large joke and now the birds have come home to roost. A collection of amateur hour "experts" on the commission , Cof C , Devo groups , none of whom have any pull outside this community , have made poor decision after poor decision in the past decade to make Lawrence a "consensus" nightmare.

The City , mismanaged and a roadblock to any new business. This past month the city has spent or committed to spend approx 5 million dollars on two projects that will create a grand total of about 16 jobs. That money could have been used as a small business incubating fund and started 50 small businesses that would actually generate jobs for Lawrence residents.

Spending goes up every year without any critical evaluation for cost savings , process improvement. The city's delivery of basic services is pathetic , streets , snow removal , common sense practices . The mere existence of the T in it's current operation is a red flag on financial management ability.

The city / police inability to remove the bums from the major destination in Lawrence is criminal.

How about some forward vision in Lawrence.

Encourage redevelopment. Take a few city blocks and build a small business district , free from the high rents of the downtown barons.

Hire some professionals to source business re-locations to lawrence that bring blue collar jobs.

Make Lawrence an entertainment destination for other than binge drinking college students. We have two theater venues , Liberty and skankygranada that could book acts other than guns and skanks , bring in acts that folks over 30 would like to see. Not to mention the Lied Center which seems terribly underutilized.

Get some city management that does not believe they are the biggest thing in town , that understands their job is to enable Lawrence to succeed.

Get a Vo-Tech School HERE ! Give our kids a chance to learn a viable trade and build a business from those skills. This would drop the unemployment rate , build teaching jobs HERE , reduce the crime rate , and relieve burden on the social services. It is criminal that our kids , the blue collar kids , are languishing here in town with little opportunity.

Look forward !

Chris Ogle 7 years, 10 months ago

Where (in Lawrence) can you purchase furniture at a fair price??

jafs 7 years, 10 months ago

I'm surprised neither the article nor any comments have mentioned the increased sales tax in Lawrence.

Since the numbers quoted in the article are indexed to average spending, the bad economy is already a factor there.

So, even relative to other communities Lawrence is getting less of the shoppers than they used to get.

I'd suggest that the increased sales tax is an important part of the equation.

Jean1183 7 years, 10 months ago

Too bad they didn't allow Cracker Barrel. I have never been in a Cracker Barrel that wasn't busy and even if I had stopped only to use their (clean) restroom, I usually always bought something. It would have been a good "draw" for people traveling on I-70 and provided a few more jobs for Lawrence.

AlligatorMama 7 years, 10 months ago

As a stay at home mom, it's sad when the only fun indoor place to take my kids to burn off some energy is McDonalds Play Land. So now we go to Overland Park to Chick-Fil-A (better food and much cleaner), to Oak Park Mall to the indoor play area, Legends has TONS for kids to do, The Great Mall of the Great Plains to go to Monkey Bizness and so on and so on. And most of the time when we are there for fun things, we do our shopping as well. Other than groceries and Target, sometimes Hastings, we don't shop here in town anymore.

And yes, a Costco or a Sams would be wonderful here in town. As well as an Olive Garden, a Chick-Fil-A, a Red Lobster and many others that have been mentioned.

down_the_river 7 years, 10 months ago

Things are usually not as good as claimed, things are usually not as bad as claimed. It's a moderating truth that certainly applies here. Lawrence retailing has taken hits, absolutely. Money moves around, inevitably. While we're writing the death notice for Lawrence retail sales, down 3.1 percent, what have the envied powerhouses been doing in 2009? Kansas City down 5.1 percent, Olathe down 5.5 percent, Overland Park down 8.6 percent. So, if you are done with the poor me attitude, you can cite that Lawrence has performed nearly 3 times better than Overland Park in this downturn. Sometimes you just don't push the river.

formerlyanonymous 7 years, 10 months ago

Downtown Lawrence is not family friendly. My kids don't want to go downtown because they are scared of the scuffles among the homeless that spill out onto the sidewalks, of the aggressive asking for change, and of the big dogs that some of them have. We used to go two or three times a week.

Now we shop big box stores at 31st & Iowa or go walk around Legends or Oak Park. Regretful, but much easier than trying to explain to my small children why they shouldn't use the "colorful" words they just heard.

I'm not sure when Lawrence is ever going to decide to address the issue. City leaders have certainly been hearing from shop owners, former shoppers, and everyone else that something needs to change with the downtown dynamic.....but there seems to be no resolve to make a change. I'm a little baffled as to why they are surprised that the numbers aren't much, much worse.

Richard Heckler 7 years, 10 months ago

Small big name stores are small for a reason. The corporate heads know small towns need small stores other wise the stores go broke.

Lawrence is NOT the JOCO/KCMO retail district.

irvan moore 7 years, 10 months ago

I remember when downtown Lawrence had stores that sold items people used everyday at reasonable prices. The bars, outside dining, and overpriced restaurants/shops have devestated downtown Lawrence. High rents keep small local business out of downtown. "Progress" is killing our community.

Centerville 7 years, 10 months ago

jats, You must be new to the LJW Comments. If you mention that raising taxes might lower revenue from that tax, all the lefties have hissy fits. It's some sort of religious thing, I guess.

boothillbilly 7 years, 10 months ago

Hmmm, I don't want big box stores on mass. street, but nor do I think a downtown economy based upon overpriced used clothing stores and high-end art boutiques is viable.

Richard Heckler 7 years, 10 months ago

I believe I would take my kids to Clinton Lake,the levy,to a local hike/bike pathway, The Kansas City or Topeka Zoo,KU Natural History Museum,walking through the neighborhood or bicycling.

OR have their friends over for cards and board games. The Library.

Or get them some roller skates and frisbees.

overthemoon 7 years, 10 months ago

Alligatormama makes a very strange point. Kids need manufactured, commercial 'playgrounds'? One of the major missing components of Lawrence planning is quality, contiguous out door space. Why are we raising our kids to demand cheap, meaningless entertainment Mom has to drive 40 miles to provide? Why aren't our neighborhoods places for kids to get out and run around in without a formulated " this is fun that is funny" environment created by adults whose main objective is to get Mom to buy more crap while the kids 'play' with in a controlled environment festering with the latest flu bug?

Richard Heckler 7 years, 10 months ago

Small business is the largest USA employer.

No matter what as far as retail is concerned there are only so many retail dollars available in any community. Cannot depend on visiting retail dollars.

Stop playing home games in KCMO!!!

Richard Heckler 7 years, 10 months ago

Sooner or later as gasoline prices spike some will relocate closer to employment. Lawrence will get some and lose a lot more.

Lawrence has become an expensive Kansas town due to economic displacement and inflation( inflated property values driven up by speculators).

Michael Rowland 7 years, 10 months ago

How about, instead of trying to compete with huge shopping districts that already have a strong consumer base, making Lawrence less of a retail zone and more of an entertainment zone? I just moved here back in August and I like the small town feel that you don't get from places like KC. The shopping and dining locally is very fun for me.

Thing is, though, if you aren't fascinated by booze-ahol I have yet to see something fun to go do in Lawrence. Downtown Lawrence is beautiful, the Lied Center is wonderful, and there are so many parks. On the flip side of that, if there are lots of fun events to go to, then their marketing people need to be fired. Instead of building up retail space, maybe Lawrence should focus on promoting events and building rec centers for people outside of the undergrad population.

down_the_river 7 years, 10 months ago

For Lawrence to vault in to the top five category according to this ranking, we'll have to follow the vision of Junction City or Topeka. What's the best choice? Or is there a chance this is a flawed metric?

Anne Tangeman 7 years, 10 months ago

The empty storefronts downtown remind me quite a bit of Lawrence in the early 80s, but at least we still had 'basics' stores like Woolworths, Ben Franklin - no great shakes but we don't even have a drugstore anymore now. Compton and others have raised the rents beyond what most local folks can afford. Chain stores are the only ones who seem to be able afford it and then our downtown is just like every other place, why shop there? Putting a mall outside of downtown is a terrible idea too - please take a look at the downtown of any small city and see what happens when a mall goes in outside the downtown area - it's the nail in the coffin.

gl0ck0wn3r 7 years, 10 months ago

It's hilarious to see the same faux-progressives come out of the woodwork and advocate an anti-business environment when the story is a signal of what one gets when one promotes an anti-business environment. I thought all the new taxes - like the emT funding - would make Lawrence a People's Utopia in which one can spend one's living wage on organic groceries and pesticide free lawns. Oh... turns out people don't like high taxes and poor selection? Interesting.

Just look at Merrill's pastes. They are the same ridiculous nonsense that he's been pasting for years about how we'll all want to live next to mom and pop shops once gas prices increase to $100 a gallon and we are using our solar powered bikes on dirt paths with round-a-bouts. It's the same sad, unproven crap that he pastes in every stupid story about Lawrence.

Also, Chad, could you try to find some sort of balance to your "experts" instead of hitting up the same tired group of academics every time you need someone? It's clear Kirk uses his academic position to politic (perhaps violating state law), so why use him as a resource? What city has he actually helped administer?

skinny 7 years, 10 months ago

We have our Lawrence City Commissioners to blame for this one. All those restaurants and businesses over the years that wanted to come here and they wouldn't let them. Then you have all the homeless people begging you for money every time you go downtown, makes you think you are in San Francisco. When you go to the Legends you don’t have to contend with the homeless begging you for money or calling you names for refusing to give them money. Do you see any homeless people at the Legends? No! I go to Kansas City to shop, dine out, and for entertainment as there really isn’t anything to do in Lawrence other then KU basketball games. I buy a lot of items on the internet because of the cheaper prices and not having to pay sales taxes (I pay sales taxes on the items I purchase in the state of Kansas).

Shane Rogers 7 years, 10 months ago

I'll second the comment about it being too bad that Cracker Barrel was not allowed to build. I didn't realize that they had wanted to come into town. We end up going to the one off of Strang Line road almost at least once a month.....we'd surely end up going more often if there were one closer - like say in Lawrence.

When I first came to this town over five years ago I couldn't believe how much /wasn't/ here compared to a place like Joplin, MO. I was shocked. It seems like good places are actively encouraged to not come into town. Which is a shame. Ah, but such is life.

overthemoon 7 years, 10 months ago

I'll drive 'all the way' across town to shop at Cotton's Hardware. They actually have most of the stuff I'd go to Home Depot to get if I hadn't resolved to never again set foot in that swamp of mediocrity. No matter who's minding the store at Cotton's, I get a big hello, a lot of help, some good chitchat and what I need without wandering thru an acre of wasted space.

The point is, we don't need more big box crap. We need to recognize the value of real community, get to know our neighbors, let our kids out to play in the real reality of fresh air, buy less crap that forces us to put half our worldly belongings into storage facilities that use up good viable ground. We need sidewalks and neighborhood retail that serve as both anchors and sentinels for our streets.

But no...we prefer to build acre after acre of 'BeigeLand' subdivisions where anonymity breeds all the ills and none of the good of our modern culture. My secret desire is that our economic crisis, which is far from over, may help us to realign our priorities to recreate communities that sustain us and our children.

vega 7 years, 10 months ago

Exactly OonlyBoonly! I've got this kind of customer service in Target, CVS and Walgreens yesterday afternoon. They are almost always out of stock with a particular product, although it is listed in their websites as "available in the store in Lawrence KS". One seller event told me, "go to e-bay" - what happened to keeping customers coming, how about "we'll order it for you"?!!).

"OonlyBonly (Anonymous) says…

surprise! I've been griping for years you can't buy anything here. “It's not in stock,” ” we don't carry those,” “oh yes we're a XXXXX store, but we don't carry any of that equipment……..” What'da'ya expect? Retailers in Lawrence need to remember one old adage, “You can't do business from an empty wagon.” Oh, yes. It doesn't hurt to pay attention to customers - remember another old adage, “customer service.” That doesn't mean a bunch of young “employees” standing around waiting to be asked for assistance while they txt and chat with each other."

fromlarryville 7 years, 10 months ago

Thank you city commision for not letting in more businesses!! Complains about tax income wonder why?? Dummies!!

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 7 years, 10 months ago

"I'll second the comment about it being too bad that Cracker Barrel was not allowed to build."

Could you please tell me what it is that Cracker Barrel (or any other chain store) has to offer that makes you think it would be a retail savior for Lawrence?

Amy Heeter 7 years, 10 months ago

Everything but ice? Pfffft and don't even get me started on his wife.

Spiny_Norman 7 years, 10 months ago

Cowboy: "Get a Vo-Tech School HERE !"

One of the smartest comments I've seen on here in a long time. A solid vo-tech school could provide the necessary anchor to pull in various industries by providing a qualified workforce.

Everyone else: The numbers are even worse than they appear. Consider this, the sales tax rate for Lawrence increased last year. Since the "pull factor" is based on the overall sales tax collected, and since the tax rate is higher in Lawrence than the previous year, the amount of transactions that were taxed last year decreases even more if you adjust for the increase in sales tax.

Have fun with that bit of information.

Christine Pennewell Davis 7 years, 10 months ago

It is not a matter of Cracker Barrel saving us it is a matter of where you spend your money. If these places had been allowed to set up shop here then people would go to the one in town over going to KC or Topeka. People in Eudora or Desota might have chosen to spend here over going to KC. It is not a matter what place it is but where, by not allowing these places to open here the comission has allowed $$ to go else where.

Richard Heckler 7 years, 10 months ago

Shopping in downtown Lawrence is not a terrible experience.

Weavers for many things like housewares in the basement Browns Shoe Fit The Raven Dusty Bookshelf Toy Store Fun and Games is coming back Sunflower Outdoor and Bike Buckle two jewelry stores M&M office supply GAP Free State Brewery offers quality goods Urban Outfitters Love Garden CD store Kiefs Francis Sporting Goods and their downtown affiliates Footprint Brits Liberty Hall movie rental Percolator Social Service League The Casbah Krings Interior/Flooring Spectacles Mass Street Music and other Instrument stores a neat shop where the shoe repair place was Sarah's fabric Knitting supply stores and so much more I forgot ====================================== Nothing to do in Lawrence is not really true either. That sounds like boredom talking. There are a lot of things to do in Lawrence,Kansas. A ton of culture and outdoor activity.

Library Lawrence Arts Center has fun classes for all ages

Have block parties Neigborhood frisbee parties roller blading/roller skating Clinton lake trails Haskell/Wakarusa Wetlands family bike rides just about anywhere will do walk to downtown for an evening of fun bike to downtown for a daytime or an evening of fun

Why depend on the government for fun blowing tax dollars on big expensive climate controlled buildings that remain empty more hours than not.

NOT climate controlled outdoor space is wayyyyyy less expensive and more fun.

Face it running all over the place in motor vehicles gets boring.

Ghostfacecandyhead 7 years, 10 months ago

Bad decisions have been made by the city commission for years. The Riverfront Mall, Tanger Outlet, etc. We've never created one exciting new area for shopping in Lawrence. The area over on 31st and Iowa is ok, but no different than any intersection in Overland Park. To top it off, our brilliant city commision plans on greeting all of these potential shoppers coming via K-10 with a homeless shelter where Don's Steakhouse use to be. Welcome to Lawrence indeed. I'm beginning to think that our mayor is simply an opportunist that uses big words to make it seem like his title is actually important in the structure of our city government. For what I've heard from many locals, he spends more time telling everyone that he is the mayor than he does actually helping improve the city. Regardless, it would be nice to see less talk, less ongoing research that leads to nothing, less task force building, less talk of things like new community centers in West Lawrence, and maybe some more action. The economy is certainly bad, but I haven't really seen our city commission do anything over the past few years to help the residents of Lawrence. Let's call it like it is, these people are middle to upper-class, West Lawrence burecrats less interested in public service than they are with padding their resumes and future opportunitites.

SnakeFist 7 years, 10 months ago

Massachusetts Street could be a big draw if it were developed properly. I've met many people who don't know anything about Lawrence but have heard of Mass St. Close of the street and make it comething unique. Forget about building a megachurch to materialism like The Legends. Focus on creating an experience.

Christine Pennewell Davis 7 years, 10 months ago

Spiny no one said we had to do math today no fair:) Do people really think anything can be done to downtown with the mega buck codos down ther? I don't think the owners or renters down ther will allow any change that might benifit downtown. My opinion and I know people will attack that staement so go at it but I stand by it. I will conced not all of them think in the box and to you that are out of the box thinkers good luck with the neighbors.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 7 years, 10 months ago

Well, I still like to know what it is that Cracker Barrel has that you can't get here already, and makes it worth an 80-mile round trip to get.

Richard Heckler 7 years, 10 months ago

Education is the industry that lawrence should focus on.

Why? Because people like to improve themselves. The education industry is one industry that weathers economic turmoil. That's why a Vo-Tech campus makes dollars and sense. So would a business college.

The focus on retail is driven by lack of USA industry to provide good substantial well paid employment. Sorry folks retail shopping cannot replace all of the white and blue collar jobs going abroad.

Politicians everywhere are telling people to go shop because that is the industry on the top of their lists.... credit cards/high interest rates/shopping.

What should be pursued? Over and above education:

Want new industry: My challenge to the Chamber of Commerce and City Hall is to reach out to this new industry to establish a bright new future for Lawrence,Kansas. ( From Hillary Clinton)

Christine Pennewell Davis 7 years, 10 months ago

Not sure bozo not a fan of cracker myself but I know people who love it and go to KC and topeka just to eat there same with Red Lobster and Olive Garden, so Lawrence loses those dollers due to the fact that the city has told these places no.

Sigmund 7 years, 10 months ago

merrill (Anonymous) says… "Shopping in downtown Lawrence is not a terrible experience."

It's not great. Still I am sure the answer is to raise sales and property taxes so we can have more empTy buses Shoppers LOVE empTy buses as they provide good living wages jobs to buy homeless newsletters from the drunks who panhandle on the sidewalks. Honestly, did anyone really expect anything different?

Thinking_Out_Loud 7 years, 10 months ago

Why doesn't Lawrence have a RedLobster, Olive Garden, Cracker Barrel, or Golden Corral? Why would Lawrence want any of these things? Pre-processed, flavorless, overpriced items on their menus. Why go to Olive Garden when we have Paisano's or Genovese? Why go to Red Lobster when we have Angler's? (OK, the idea of eating seafood away from the coasts is pretty repulsive, anyway, but Angler's is a good deal better than Red Lobster at any rate.) Honestly, we have too many bad chain restaurants as it is. Do we really need two Applebee's? That's at least three too many. We have a Chili's...let's not repeat the mistake by pulling in an even worse restaurant like a Golden Corral. I won't even get into the gastronomic vulgarity that is Old Chicago.

jayhawklawrence 7 years, 10 months ago

I don't envy our city leaders. They have to put up with a lot of hurtful comments. There are more "experts" in this town for its size than any place in North America.

If we want to attract the right businesses to Lawrence, we need to have people in place that understand business and know how to manage money.

I like having Chestnut in there because of his accounting background. I think the guys we have for the most part are pretty good and a lot of important issues are at least being discussed and there is nothing wrong with asking the public for suggestions.

akt2 7 years, 10 months ago

Some of us don't shop in Lawrence or KC. We shop on the internet. Our purchases are delivered to our door and in most cases there is no tax or shipping.

overthemoon 7 years, 10 months ago


cracker barrel serves southern style, over sized plates of cholesterol, sodium and fat. and their main draw is a 'lobby' emporium of 'authentic Americana' doodas and tchatchis made in china. More stuff to put you in the hospital and force ya'll to 'size up' at the u-store-it park.

malehrman 7 years, 10 months ago

Developing more of the same shopping outlets in Lawrence will not attract Topeka/KC shoppers. Lawrence needs to differentiate from those places to attract new business.

A downtown pedestrian mall, as floated earlier by Commissioner Johnson is a great way to offer something different.

toothy 7 years, 10 months ago

"When Lawrence is exactly the same as anywhere in Topeka or Kansas City, there is no reason for anyone to go out of their way to visit. Would a town full of smart people clamor for an Olive Garden or Red Lobster? Take a look Lawrence, you're just not that smart or interesting any more".

It's not just Lawrence....there is a significant blandification occuring nationwide driven by that great homogenizer,TV. When I was a kid 45 years ago it was pretty exciting and different culturally traveling to another city especially a state or two away from home. With TV at the center of this, specifically advertising, we have lost much of our regional, dare I say it, provincial uniqueness and identity. The US looks remarkably the same everywhere now.

Nonetheless, it is quite elitist to look down on the Olive Gardens, Red Lobster, Walmarts etc. The market demand is there for a reason....that's what they want to buy. Thank God we don't live under the progressive mindset of Hugo Chavez or we would only have the proscribed choices of the statists deciding what was best for us. Sounds familiar huh with where we are now politically in our country and even this community.

I hope that overall personal freedom and free markets prevail.

Christine Pennewell Davis 7 years, 10 months ago

Vegas baby Vegas. Just kidding even though the Freemont street type idea is not bad I will agree closing downtown to car traffic is a good idea, you just need to come up with stores and resturants to put in there that people want and security would need to be stepped up. I would rather put up with a drunk on foot over one in a car anyday.

KsTwister 7 years, 10 months ago

COWBOY is right on the money !! Or the reason for lack of it. He would get our votes.Cracker Barrel got a no,Red Loster got a no,American Eagle got a no. Management is looking at maintaining instead of growing in the right area's, keep it up and all your kids out of High School will be working as service industry low wage only. No doubt. The Food for Less prime location-*-still reason to push for a business in there?? Get off your Asssssssssssss Commissioners,get to work. Chamber of Commerce...where?? The companies that do operate here make sure people don't stay with them for long either. Why because they start all over again every year with cheap student labor. Wise up. If families cannot make enough to spend here then the city makes less sales tax from them. I even have to admit that I drove to Legends after a game in Lawrence to take everyone to dinner. Lawrence can't even meet the needs of its own populace. Building homes and making us pay for it is just as stupid,developers need to support their own water and sewage plants. LOL

Currahee 7 years, 10 months ago

The thing is, we already have decent shopping centers in OP, Olathe, or Topeka and I'm sure a lot of folks would gladly make the trip over there for their shopping needs.

Development of downtown Lawrence needs to be stopped. There isn't any room for expansion there anyway anymore and it always sucks driving through there.

Unfortunately I think because we have a lot better shopping alternatives within 20-30 minutes of us that also likely prevents attraction of a shopping center. If the city wants a mall though, they should plan for one. A big mall too, something that rivals Oak Park Mall and reduce city tax for that property so people will actually go there and buy something (maybe exempt .5%, tax in Lawrence is already sky high as it is)

Well all that aside, I just don't think there's a spot for Lawrence for business growth. It seems we've all been focused on developing residential areas that there's nothing good here. Of course having OP as our neighbor doesn't help as a lot more businesses I'm sure are attracted to moving to OP instead of Lawrence.

fanofKU 7 years, 10 months ago

Shopping in downtown Lawrence is a joke. If you park, pay the meter, shop in a store or two, you get a ticket. So the only reason to go downtown is to run into the store and grab what you went after and run! There is no such thing as a leisurely shopping trip in downtown Lawrence. And, who wants to shop downtown in the Winter? And, you don't want to be in downtown Lawrence after dark any more than you want to be in downtown KCK, Topeka or Kansas City, MO. Now, you drive 30-minutes to The Legends; Oak Park Mall; or Westridge Mall in Topeka and you can shop and leave all your money in another town. But, during the day only.'ve ALWAYS been this way.....why cry now???? You've driven us to other places to shop.

Deja Coffin 7 years, 10 months ago

I live outside of Lawrence but grew up shopping in Lawrence for all our needs. Now I try and avoid shopping at Lawrence as much as possible. I just don't like how everything is so far out on Iowa or so far up 6th street that it takes 20 minutes of driving in town to get to a store. For groceries and household supplies I'd rather go to Leavenworth where I've got Dillons and Walmart a block away from each other. For entertainment shopping we go to Legends because they have most of my favorite childrens clothing stores, my daughters favorite place to eat, and an awesome movie theater. If only the Target right next to it was a Super target. I just prefer things centralized and would rather not drive all over Lawrence when I have other options that are pretty much the same driving distance from my house.

George Lippencott 7 years, 10 months ago

The mob lives.

I want jobs! I want well paying jobs! Just why would a business come here? Somebody list the attractions that would bring one other than taxing ourselves to buy it?

Yes, somebody did bring in a bunch of middle class people. Interesting that at least one writer believes that KU employees are not for the most part middle class. This is a problem?? Sounds like a plea for elites only.

Sounds like a lot of people do not want to shop in downscaled stores (driven by our rules) when they can go elsewhere, pay less tax, get better services, and have more alternatives. Maybe we can force people to shop here for less at more cost.

Who are all the commuters? Does anybody have current data or is this another "red herring" of the left!

As one writer pointed out many of our guests, (students) do their major purchases at home (elsewhere). What they look for here is bars and fast food entities. That is what we have downtown. Surprise??

Do we really believe that limiting desirable stores outside the downtown will lead to more shopping there? The past attempts to get such stores downtown have apparently mostly failed. Seems to me such approaches in the past are already leading to more shopping elsewhere.

Lastly, how about an urban planner with a market view. Professor McClure has a very definite statists view. Take that Merrill!

Be careful what you wish for, you just may get it!!!! I think we have achieved that for which we wished

Sigmund 7 years, 10 months ago

jayhawklawrence (Anonymous) says… "I think the guys we have for the most part are pretty good and a lot of important issues are at least being discussed and there is nothing wrong with asking the public for suggestions."

I have given up on all of them. The only suggestions they ever listen to is to raise taxes or impose new fines. No matter how many times they are told that every dollar of increased taxes is one LESS dollar to spend with local businesses, they never hear it. Then they express shock and dismay as retail sales decline as they propose even more new taxes. The kindest thing that can be said of the City Commission is they are out of their depth, the worse is that they are morons.

Christine Pennewell Davis 7 years, 10 months ago

is anyone else tired of the gray gloom outside? OK to all of the people that say we don't need this resturant or that store wrong we do if only to get the people of lawrence to spend in lawrence. That is a step in the right direction call it cookie cutter if you wish.

Fred Whitehead Jr. 7 years, 10 months ago

Wow, I thought I would find a lot of commentary here when I spotted this article in today's edition!

I have lived here almost 40 years and have observed the self-destructive city government in action for many years. Denying the development of good retail and job resources has been a decades-long endeavour of this dysfunctional civic management system we have here. 5 commissioners elected "at-large" (having no neighborhood attachments) and a rotating "mayor" designated from amongst the group of individuals elected by who would have the most friends that would by them yard signs. Ask most anyone to name two commissioners. Most people in Lawrence arn't even aware that we have 5 of these obdurate individuals who have utterly no expertise at government at all. They have responsibilities to the community that none of them are competant to excercise, no skills except to ignore citizen input and no sense of any worthwhile good to the community who elected them. for many years, there has been this myopic devotion to what has become "gangland" (Beautiful Downtown Lawrence). I have not even driven through "Beautiful Downtown Lawrence" except to go to choir practice.

There are many reasons for the problems described in this news report, but none so important as the utter failure of elected officials to have a more encompassing view of the world and not just "BDL".

Christine Pennewell Davis 7 years, 10 months ago

Well it is pulling in alot of people papakeno but even funnier is the s is burnt out.

LadyJ 7 years, 10 months ago

Didn't we use to have an Olive Garden?

Sigmund 7 years, 10 months ago

Moderate (George Lippencott) says… "Who are all the commuters? Does anybody have current data or is this another “red herring” of the left!"

They are the ones who own houses in Lawrence and who pay a ever increasing percentage of the taxes in Lawrence. If you didn't own a house in Lawrence and had to commute to KC or Topeka, would you actually live here? If you could sell your home for close to what you paid, wouldn't you? And if you could save a few dollars shopping outside of Lawrence while you were there, wouldn't you?

If the national economy ever begins to recover be prepared for a mass exodus of middle/upper income tax payers to lower tax communities with better jobs. Lawrence will be left with City Employees, elementary and secondary teachers, KU employees, students, and homeless. Lawrence will finally become the workers paradise it has always envisioned.

George Lippencott 7 years, 10 months ago

Sigmund (Anonymous) says…

My comment was to question the assertion that commuters were a problem. I am not sure they are as numerous as suggested by others. I am also not sure they are the problem. They just pay the bills.

monkeyhawk 7 years, 10 months ago

"Chestnut said he’s now considering appointing a retail task force that would give retailers a chance to report ideas directly to the city."

Mr. Chestnut, wouldn't it be more appropriate for the customers to give the feedback as to why they do not want to spend locally? I think you might be catching their drift if you bother to read the comments. I'm sure there are a lot of retailers who haven't got the foggiest idea why their business sucks theses days. Remember, people talk with their money, and it is so much harder to get a new customer than to retain one.

Christine Pennewell Davis 7 years, 10 months ago

oh bite papa:) it is funny. I would not print an article about how my town is losing money to the legends then take a picture of the sign with burnt out letters makes it look cheap. And yes I do need a pillow thank you for your concern.

msla1 7 years, 10 months ago

On a purely personal note, i find the picture of the Legends14 associated with this article humorous.

After years of frequenting Lawrence's poorly maintained mega plex theater (you know the one.) primarily because it was the only one near-by, my children and I contracted food poisoning from a theater employee handling food who neither used gloves nor washed their hands , I began going to the Legends14. What a HUGE difference! You couldn't PAY me to frequent that other theater again!!

Centerville 7 years, 10 months ago

Cracker Barrel has the best iced tea in the world. And they have a Books On Tape service that's cheap and easy to use. We should find the lady who ran the Dollar General in downtown Topeka. She didn't allow panhandlers anywhere near her store.

notajayhawk 7 years, 10 months ago

"The most recent report — a study conducted by city economic development coordinator Roger Zalneraitis — found the average wage in Lawrence was $32,000 per year, compared with $37,000 per year in 15 cities that have similar demographics and characteristics of Lawrence."

Do those 'similar demographics' include a similar proportion of college students?

It is not unusual for college towns to have below-average incomes. That does not necessarily mean, however, that segment of the population has less disposable income.

jafs (Anonymous) says…

"I'm surprised neither the article nor any comments have mentioned the increased sales tax in Lawrence."

Ding ding ding!

We stopped coming to Lawrence to do our shopping when the mT tax passed.

papakeno (Anonymous) says…

"Ask anyone from the East, and they will tell you this is the reason they love Lawrence."

I'm from the East.

I don't love Lawrence.

But I guess almost anywhere is an improvement from Jersey.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus (Anonymous) says…

"Could you please tell me what it is that Cracker Barrel (or any other chain store) has to offer that makes you think it would be a retail savior for Lawrence?"

Perhaps the fact that people are saying it's a place where they want to spend their money? Just a guess.

"Well, I still like to know what it is that Cracker Barrel has that you can't get here already, and makes it worth an 80-mile round trip to get."

Again, I'm guessing, but maybe people want to eat the food they choose and not what you think they should choose.

merrill (Anonymous) says…

"Library Lawrence Arts Center has fun classes for all ages Have block parties Neigborhood frisbee parties ...."

You really, really need to get out more, merrill.

Christine Pennewell Davis 7 years, 10 months ago

FYI msla i know someone who had a mouse in their popcorn at the "other theater" needless to say they have not went back either.

Christine Pennewell Davis 7 years, 10 months ago

20 days? dang and I thought 2 weeks for my daughters street was bad. Oh thanks, but you could not pay me enough to be in politics.

Deja Coffin 7 years, 10 months ago

msla1, Just so you know I think Mon.-Wed. nights or I know for sure on Tuesday nights the legends have $5 movies. And if you get a free movie card... sometimes you can get free popcorn, etc. not sure if that "mouse" momma is talking about costs extra. :-) And for those of you who would enjoy a meal and drink with your movie, check out their VIP seating, it's a lot of fun!! I'm not trying to sound like a commercial, just really enjoy that movie theater... despite the loud people I sat by last time. Wouldn't you think if someone found a real mouse in their popcorn there would be news coverage of it? I mean, if a chicken nugget shaped like a rooster's head can get an article I'm sure many people would like to know there are mice in the popcorn.

leeroy_johnson 7 years, 10 months ago

Easy. Lawrence is too expensive to shop in. It is way over priced and the stores close down at 5. Stay open later. And this arguement about west side development is another pile of crap. Downtown shopping sucks.

Christine Pennewell Davis 7 years, 10 months ago

All I know is what they told me there where three people in the group two who saw the mouse they told employees who said oh well they left 10 min. into movie and have not looked back. I know what it looks and feels like when you go in to the theater in between movies and I can believe the mouse story they do not clean for s&*t in them because they are to worried about packing them in. I hate stepping in sticky messes and popcorn left on the floors cups, candy it is yuck in that place.

Angela Heili 7 years, 10 months ago

Like someone said earlier, businesses aren't allowed here because of signage issues. That's ridiculous. I also agree with another poster that we need a Sam's Club or a Costco here. Otherwise, I will do as they do and shop in another area. We take coolers and go shopping in KC because we can get better deals on groceries.
Lawrence is way too picky about what goes here, and because of this, business is going elsewhere. Look what they did with Wal-Mart. They wasted heaven knows how much money to keep them from adding another store, then finally submitted, only to let them have a smaller store that doesn't carry as much of a selection of items as a full sized store does.
My husband commutes to OP, and often times will stop at a store there to pick something up because there is more selection of full-sized stores to choose from.
If we plan a "mini-vacation" we take the family to KC because there are more things to do there. There are water parks, Legends shopping area with a number of different things to do, and many other opportunities for fun that Lawrence doesn't, and probably will never have because of the decisions of the city. I also agree with another poster about recreational things. We need a Putt Putt, go carts, and more things that families can go and have fun as a family. All of these things would also create jobs for people that need them.
It's really pretty simple. If you want to keep the dollars spent in Lawrence, you have to give Lawrence people a reason to want to stay here and spend them.

Lacy Mohler 7 years, 10 months ago

Wow! Morale is low when a LJW poster refers to Topeka as a "retail giant". Topeka's sales tax rate went to 7.95% as of October 1, 2009. Isn't ours 7.85%? If you shop in Topeka you are helping them rebuild their streets. I'm sure they'll thank you for that.

A bit of bad news is that a lot of Topekans claimed they were driving to Lawrence to eat in a smoke-free environment. Now that Topeka is smoke-free locals can stay there. Don't know if Lawrence residents were driving to Topeka so they could sit in the Olive Garden and smoke.

I rarely shop downtown Lawrence. Right before Christmas I took a visiting relative downtown to the Antique Mall. I told her it might be hard to find a parking place so close to Christmas. We had our choice of parking places--noone downtown.

Lori Nation 7 years, 10 months ago

Our city needs something for our kids to do, putt putt, small water park, dollar movie theater, instead of letting kids run around like thugs. We take our kids to KC or Topeka to do anything due to Lawrence being so expensive and lame!! Our commissioners need to put forth the effort also, but that won't happen. Cause it only matters on how much money you have or make here and enough is enough think of others!

Richard Heckler 7 years, 10 months ago

Meet the most substantial equation in the problem: Local Wreckanomics plus Reagan/Bush/Bush Wreckanomics = failed economic policy

The republican party are masters at putting millions upon millions upon millions of people out of work. AND stealing taxpayers retirement plans and local expendable cash along the way.

What Repubs do with a remarkable degree of consistency is wreck the economy,initiate huge movements of shipping jobs abroad aka the Reagan-Bush Global Economy and try to wreck social security and medicare. Locals do this in a downsized manner.

Is there a definite pattern? Absolutely!

  1. The Reagan/ Bush Home Loan Scandal

  2. The Bush/Cheney Home Loan Scandal

  3. What did Bush and Henry Paulson do with the bail out money?

  4. Why did GW Bush Lie About Social Security?( This would cost taxpayers $4 trillion and wreck the economy)

  5. Still A Bad Idea – Bush Tax Cuts

  6. The "tea parties" BTW are part of the wreckanomics program funded by the Koch Brothers... well known oil billionaires. These thinkers back a tax payers bill of rights which is another scheme to reward the upper 1% which is designed to wreck local and state governments.

  1. Locally: Westside Development/TangerMall/Riverfront Mall/Economic Displacement/ over built bedroom community = unfriendly to residential owners/over built retail = unfriendly to business and

  2. Free Lunches



All of the above displays reckless economic behavior that which drains the cookie jars. Now the only way to get them revenues back is to take them back.

What do Reagan,Bush and Bush republicans plan for 2010. Start the typical repub character assassination campaign which in essence is a massive cover-up scheme for the financial disasters that illustrate how the repub are NOT financial giants of our time have screwed up USA economics for the past 30 years.

Think about it. In the past 30 years the repub party has been in involved two major home loan scandals that effectively took the USA economy down the tubes. One is too damn many but twice represents repub economic policy.

Wreckanomics is a failed economic policy. In fact wreckanomics is beginning to smell like well planned crimes.

Jerry Harper 7 years, 10 months ago

People of all ages have always been drawn to Lawrence by its history, eccentric college professors, young folks with strange body piercings, profusion of peculiar causes and their advocates, eclectic shops and their keepers, unique restaurants, vibrant downtown, diverse and tolerant population, artists and musicians, homes (both historic and funky), progressive university, and basketball.

For the last 30 years, the Journal-World with its incessant drumbeat for more retail (and more advertising dollars) and the developers with their answering chorus for more ubiquitous strip malls and ticky-tacky McMansions have done their best to turn Lawrence into 'Overland Park West' or one of a thousand other characterless, look-alike burbs. (Where the condos get so thick that "the deer have to run right through the hot tubs" " - Russell Baker.)

And they wonder why visitors stop coming to Lawrence? These folks can get blandness at home. They don't need to come to Lawrence.

If you want visitors and sales tax revenue, offer something unique. Stop the 'Johnsonification' of Lawrence.

George Lippencott 7 years, 10 months ago

notajayhawk (Anonymous) says…

I'm from the east. I like aspects of Lawrence and I dislike aswpects of Lawrence. The high coost of living to include tax policy is distressing. I wonder if anybody in West Lawrence not subsidized by some entity sells their home for what the county claims it is worth.

George Lippencott 7 years, 10 months ago

merrill (Anonymous) says…

You sure know everything. Bush wrecked Lawrence??? Maybe people like you wrecked Lawrence!!

down_the_river 7 years, 10 months ago

Funny that we have so many folks moaning about the commissioners not doing anything for new development in Lawrence, on this day of the open house at the Oread Inn. What was our total contribution to this business? As I recall the KU Business School analysis had Lawrence taxpayers on the ledger for twenty million dollars for this development? Who says the city isn't taking action? Twenty million of our money is nothing to sneeze at. Of course it doesn't pencil out for the city if it just siphons sales from other Lawrence businesses. It will still be a windfall for the developers, though.

Richard Heckler 7 years, 10 months ago

Matt Lehrman likes the idea of a pedestrian mall as do some others. This could be done low budget. Let's not spend big bucks laying down bricks. Instead purchase very large beautiful planters as road blocks which leaves 7th,8th,9th and 10th open. Distribute large beautiful planters up and down the center of Mass with a few benchs sprinkled about.

Leave the lights on trees as celebration lights

Evergreens evergreens evergreens. Spring blooms,summer blooms,fall/winter colors

Then celebrate the event many times a year with many events beginning with TWO sidewalk sales a year to create a real fun event.

What the hell is going on? Let’s make millions in revenue NOT blow millions of tax dollars,lose millions of tax dollars and increase taxes. Make millions from existing resources.

Bike competition is doing its’job… hats off. Did not need new roads for that.

The sidewalk sale is such a great opportunity for Lawrence. I say let's change it a bit into a full blown carnival. After all with home games being outsourced here's an opportunity to make some revenue loss.

Let's reorganize a little = make it crazier and even more fun when schools are in session thus more buyers/participants.

Block off Mass between 7th and 10th.

Have musicians play from 11 AM til ?

Invite local nurseries, local farmers and artists to set up in the street.

Bring on the local food and brew vendors as well!

DO two sidewalk sales: The first Saturday after April 15th hopefully a basketball day = more fun for fans more revenue for Lawrence

The second Saturday in October hopefully a football day = more fun for fans more revenue for Lawrence

Why two at those dates: KU and public school is in session = more people available locally and from surrounding communities ( folks are back from vacations)

Have items inside the stores marked down some as well. Make the whole shopping visit worth while.

Start planning for March or April now ..... make it on a game day = even more fun for sports fans.

Again after all with home games being outsourced here's an opportunity to make up the revenue loss.

igby 7 years, 10 months ago

One word!


You can't even find it anymore in Lawrence!

Big boxes, high taxes, and nothing to buy!

davidmcg 7 years, 10 months ago

I don't live in Lawrence, I live just to the north between McLouth and Oskaloosa and there are a few issues why I don't shop there. I would prefer to drive over to Leavenworth/Lansing or Topeka if I don't shop in one of my 2 towns. One issue, is the college age and teenage drivers in Lawrence. They can't drive, period. Another isue is traffic flow. There is too much traffic and too many traffic lights. I consume more gas in my truck sitting at the lights than I do driving to Lawrence. I don't drive to the Legends in KCK either. Why? Too many idiot drivers there as well. And the Legends is far over rated anyhow. Now another key factor, my age. I am 45+ and I believe most shoppers are 30 and under with kids. My kids are grown, gone and families of their own. What my wife and I need we can get from fewer stores and quicker. A lot of things make up why one area will have more shoppers per capita than others. No one or two reports will ever make clear the reasons. But I am sure as far as out of town shoppers are concerned with Lawrence, its the lack of driving skills the college and teenage drivers have and traffic flow problems. With KU there, the skill level of the drivers will always be an issue. The traffic flow problem needs to be addressed and not simply by an "intelligent" traffic signal system. There are too many cars on the too few roads, not enough through streets, too many traffic signals, too many access points to the existing routes.

igby 7 years, 10 months ago

It's called "economic shrinkage"!

There's no turning back when this economic downward vortex takes a grip!

It does not matter what the stock market is doing because the only reason the markets up is because companies slashed every thing they could to show a profit. Jobs, production, cheaper and junkier products, fewer choices, smaller packaging for more cost and more internet sales rather than local sales at shops. This really bites the sales tax projections. You get what you deserve when a government over taxes it's people.

Christine Pennewell Davis 7 years, 10 months ago

sounds good merrill but cut out some of the plants and add cover for bad weather days, poor people like me have allergies out the ying yang, plus I don't care for shopping in rain, snow and 110 day heat with 90% humidity with out some cover.

notajayhawk 7 years, 10 months ago

papakeno (Anonymous) says…

"notajayhawk, you got a problem with Jersey. Thats what I thought."

You're the one who said Lawrence looks good in comparison.

BTW, what exit are you from?

Informed (Anonymous) says…

"Also, if you are from NJ, where did you learn to make pizza? No self-respecting paisano would touch what you're offering."

Actually, that's one of the things that IS pretty good in Jersey. Not quite NY or Boston quality, but not bad, either.

What self-respecting paisans are you referring to - and please don't say they're fans of Chicago pizza.

Christine Pennewell Davis 7 years, 10 months ago

All is right in the world the Vikings won now they just need to beat the Saints, as much as I would like the vikings to win that one not going to hold my breath.

Deja Coffin 7 years, 10 months ago

I've been trying to think up a good reason to make a trip out to Lawrence and I think I found it. Now that the weather is getting nicer, I think I'll take my girls to the Spencer Museum or the Natural History Museum sometime. Just need to find out the price and when it's open. I remember I used to love going on field trips to the museums! Sounds like a better time then sitting in a movie theater.... just hope my girls will agree. They may still be too young to enjoy the museum, is two and five too young? Looks like I found something that the Legends doesn't have!!

lawrencechick 7 years, 10 months ago

What a surprise. The Lawrence minority scared away most national chain stores from downtown that would have helped the smaller independent stores. Now we have a downtown full of bars and bums. It's a good thing some retail was allowed on South Iowa. That's probably the only tax income that's keeping this city afloat. I agree with other moms. There is nothing to do with kids in this town in the winter. Families spend money alot more than college kids and that has been ignored downtown.

middle_america 7 years, 10 months ago

I usually go out of town for the big box stores and malls. I haven't been downtown in years.

corduroypants 7 years, 10 months ago

I say we doze the Granada and put in 2-story Olive Garden! That'll solve everything! Oh, wait. There's too many trees. No one would know it was there. And parking might cost you 50 cents or so. And there might be a scary person playing a guitar. And there might be a sorority girl in North Face and Uggs. Lawrence is doomed after all.

ashmole 7 years, 10 months ago

Oh, by all means, Lawrence needs to be in that "special club of communities" . . . that includes Topeka, Parsons, and Coffeyville. Talk about elite!

George Lippencott 7 years, 10 months ago

oneeye_wilbur (Anonymous) says…

Not this retiree. There are some attractions like the museums. Been there done that. Now what? I don't do bars and most restaurants down town have menus inconsistent with what I like and charge way too much.

After seven years I rue the day we moved here. My duty is to meet the needs of the mob by shoveling my sidewalk in blizzards, volunteering as a worker bee to do the work of the many charities run by self serving people from the university who do not want to get their hands dirty, to pay excessive costs for services that are not professionally delivered and to pay exorbitant and ever increasing taxes no way near proportional to the services I receive!

Happiness is Lawrence in the rear view mirror- as soon as I can get a price anyhing near the county appraisal on my house. Good luck on fooling other retirees.

notajayhawk 7 years, 10 months ago

Informed (Anonymous) says…

"I love pizza in Jersey, notajayhawk. That's why I was asking papa where he learned to make it. What he sells is not even close."

Sorry, my misunderstanding. I thought you were saying the reason no paisan would eat his pizza is because he learned to make it in Jersey.

ralphralph 7 years, 10 months ago

I love Downtown Lawrence, and would hope the City and its residents would do all it can to keep the area viable and vibrant. You have something special, if you can and will keep it, and somehow I think it should be able to fill its own niche and thrive because it is different, not in spite of being different. I would never drive to KC to go to The Legends or the other cookie-cutter places, but I will drive in occasionally to the more unique areas like Brookside, the City Market, some remnants of Westport, or Crossroads. Otherwise, one Target is pretty much like the next. I hope Lawrence will focus on quality of experience, rather than mere volume of sales. p.s. - On the Anglers vs Red Lobster issue ... for crying out loud, you have to go to Anglers and not the mass market chain ... there's no comparison. We love Anglers.

Tom McCune 7 years, 10 months ago

I love Lawrence, but it has always been a lousy place to shop, except for one thing.... shoes. Lawrence used to have really good shoe stores, and they were all right together so you didn't need to walk very far to check them out.

Restaurants aren't the issue. You can find better substitutes locally for most of those mentioned. ....except maybe Cracker Barrel. I hate their "decor" and the whole shtick, but I have to admit their food is actually pretty good (albeit "heavy") and also inexpensive.

Deja Coffin 7 years, 10 months ago

What does everyone think about the Lawrence Farmers market in the summer? Is it worth the trip to Lawrence or should I bypass it and head to Kansas City? I know they won't have as many vendors but do they have a lot? I wish the location of it wasn't on Mass. Street. I'd prefer the Tanger Mall parking lot but that's just being greedy.

booyalab 7 years, 10 months ago

rrussell, you're confusing wages with the cost of living. A lower wage does not necessarily translate to a lower cost of living, especially in a community with a disproportionate amount of high end boutiques to discount stores.

kernal 7 years, 10 months ago

The only downtown store I shop is Weavers; the rest are for college kids. What I can't find at Weavers, I find in Topeka, Johnson County or online. I too am sick and tired of the pan handlers. Some are polite, but some are pushy and demanding; then there are those who are off their meds. It's a mess down there. Want to clean up the bar situation? Have them close 11pm week nights and 1am Saturdays. That might also cut down the number of KU students who show up for class still drunk or too hungover to concentrate; ditto for working adults over 20 (yes, I know 21 is the legal age for drinking, but let's be realistic).

Steve Jacob 7 years, 10 months ago

Just went to KC today to see Avatar in 3D. The 3D part you can't get here, and it made the experience much more special.

shopper 7 years, 10 months ago

Maybe Lawrence need a few more welfare recipients to shop there, a few more pot legalizers on the street corner and liberals that hate companies and jobs. Maybe then, the productive people that make this country work will want to come there and spend their money to take care of this endless parade of human debris. Oh...maybe raise a few more taxes and put a few more retards in tents in the park!

Meatwad 7 years, 10 months ago

It would help if shopping downtown didn't include having to see begging bums on every corner, and in the middle of the blocks and on benches. I try to support local as much as possible but I can see why downtown loses appeal. It's sad and I with Lawrence would do more to stem the tide of lifestyle homeless that keep arriving here.

gl0ck0wn3r 7 years, 10 months ago

There is a huge cloud of smug being generated in this thread by Richard and his band of faux-progressives. It's hilarious to see the same lame ideas and the same better-than-thou displayed here that have caused so many people to leave Lawrence. Richard complains about taxation and yet advocates for higher taxes. Bike races are doing the job? What planet do you live on? If your ideas of limiting commerce and pushing your faux-progressive agendas worked as advertised, Lawrence would be succeeding instead of failing. The vast majority of your posts on this thread (like others) are the same tired ideas and same tired cut-and-pastes that you've posted time and again. Your ideas are lame. You and your crowd increased sales taxes for a failed social program and yet sales tax revenue has decreased as a result. What a winner. You want a business college? Why would anyone open a business college in Lawrence?

The crowd that mocks the proles for wanting places like Olive Garden completely miss the point. I don't like Olive Garden, but it isn't up to me - or you - to decide what is and what is not good food for anyone but yourself. Why not let them come and take their chances in the marketplace. Oh right, because you know better than the proles.

I know of very few other cities - particularly struggling ones - that take the same "love my unique, annoying city or leave it" attitude like Lawrence has over the last twenty years. Here is the news: people are leaving and, more importantly, people are bypassing Lawrence to shop in "bland" places like Johnson County. Sure, Lawrence will be very unique in ten more years - unique like downtown Leavenworth.

errita 7 years, 10 months ago

Have block parties Neigborhood frisbee parties roller blading/roller skating Clinton lake trails Haskell/Wakarusa Wetlands family bike rides just about anywhere will do walk to downtown for an evening of fun bike to downtown for a daytime or an evening of fun

Nice suggestions for about 3 months of the year. We live in KANSAS. It's cold. They also leave a lot of people out. Many people don't have families to go biking with or live in little neighborhoods that have block parties or frisbee parties. What is a frisbee party? I totally agree with doing things outside with your family and finding new interesting things to do but sometimes it's nice to have a indoor place to go. I have played every bored game with my family. I don't want to go to the bar and I will not go to the horrible theater that puts me in pain. My husband is handicapped and can walk short distances but can't go on family bike rides,rollerblade or sit in a cramped movie theater like Lawrences. I would love to see a family fun center like Powerplay with mini golf,laser tag, games and even bowling. Maybe that was for family until 11pm and then for over 21 after that. Adults like to have something besides the bar or movies to go to late at night too.

moltenio 7 years, 10 months ago

I live, work, play and spend 90 percent of my money in Downtown Lawrence. Nearly everything I need is within a few blocks of my office door or apartment. It's a sustainable, ideal lifestyle that's similar to urban living anywhere else in the country, and I love it.

Downtown Lawrence is similar to an urban neighborhood in a big city. I know because I've lived in places like that. I've also lived in the suburbs of big cities and know how disconnected and generally unhappy and stressed out people are in those environments.

The retail woes facing Lawrence seem symptomatic of the larger economic woes across the country. We are as overbuilt as other places, and the effects were bound to hit here eventually.

I agree that building smarter is important. It would be great to see more residential development options downtown, a strong emphasis on retaining existing businesses and a directed effort toward attracting businesses that fit and would thrive here. Nothing attracts a crowd like a crowd.

Downtown Lawrence is charming, unique AND sustainable. Like most things built before the rise of the automobile, it was created on a human scale that rewards slowing down, getting out of your vehicle and walking around. I've lived in several cities, and, seriously, I've never been happier than I have living here. That's an idea worth marketing.

Kelly Cline 7 years, 10 months ago

I agree with moltenio. After living in muliple cities of varying size across the US, Lawrence is a quaint and charming city and I love living here. I work in a retail store and I think a lot of the problems stem from the overall economy.

Personally, I enjoy the unique restaurants and shops in Lawrence. Favorites....Sarah's Fabrics, Yarn Barn, Aladdins, the Toy Store, Half Price Books, Weavers. These are the small, personal, customer friendly places that make our town enjoyable. I don't miss the big city and it's lack of customer service and I very rarely shop out of town. You make what you want out of the place you live. How 'bout some positives folks!

Richard Heckler 7 years, 10 months ago

70% of the voters said YES to a sales tax supporting the T.

Voters had no voice in the spending of approximately $20 million USD 497 dollars for the sports facilities which is in essence a tax increase without voter approval.

Voters are being made responsible for buying a private business without voter approval.

Voters need to be part of every growth decision involving our tax dollars. Nobody ever voted to give our governing bodies a reckless spending blank check.

Lawrence is a nice place to live..... let's keep it that way.

gl0ck0wn3r 7 years, 10 months ago

"moltenio (Anonymous) says… The retail woes facing Lawrence seem symptomatic of the larger economic woes across the country. We are as overbuilt as other places, and the effects were bound to hit here eventually."

Except, compared to the surrounding communities, this is not true - hence the article. Congratulations for completely ignoring the point of the article.

trvlronda 7 years, 10 months ago

Amen Moltenio! I recently left Lawrence for a job in KC, and I miss Lawrence everyday. Lawrence is awesome, but there are some issues.

I have a handful of friends that buy these huge houses on the westside and then can't afford to shop anywhere BUT a Sam's club or the like. I would love to see dwtn get a bit more variety of shops, so that the everyday needs can be purchased in the downtown area. Once a person has gotten into their car to make the trek to a big box store in KC or Topeka, they just go ahead and make the other purchases, that might have otherwise been spent in Lawrence. The other scenario is that they purchased the McMansion and as a result, work in Topeka or KC for better wages.

I am NOT saying we need a Wal-Mart downtown. I think we need to stop building the McMansions on the westside, creating urban sprawl. We need to concentrate on enriching the community as it is..... We need jobs that offer livable wages, and housing at a manageable price.

Once that is achieved, then going out of town just to pick up 36 rolls of TP would seem silly. Make the town a place where one lives and works, then the shopping will follow.

Downtown is truly a treasure. I hope the commission does what is right for the town, and screw the "developers" (money sharks).

Good Luck Lawrence.

winninteam 7 years, 10 months ago

If Lawrence can really be termed a treasure, then it belongs in somebody's attic. The decline of retail in Lawrence has been coming - passing up restaurants who want to build and put up a sign that can be seen from the road to promote business, fighting corporate retail, not allowing a shopping center under one roof so this incessant traffic of cars from one little center to the next can stop -- oh yes, the students now take over the bars and dirty little restaurants downtown (with high priced menu and terrible food). Guess their daddy's can afford it. DT is an unsafe area from 4 pm Thur til 4 am Monday forcing families to stay home or enjoy the restaurants and family fun places in KC -- your not wanted in Lawrence - it has been guided by professors, overdone/dying/wannabe hippies, and soak heads forever. Days of little shops are over - too pricey. Sales at Legends are far better including the price of gas!

notajayhawk 7 years, 10 months ago

merrill (Anonymous) says…

"70% of the voters said YES to a sales tax supporting the T."

People such as myself had no vote in that, merrill. We do, however, have a say - which is why Lawrence no longer gets any of our sales tax dollars.

"Voters are being made responsible for buying a private business without voter approval."

Are you referring to General Motors or Chrysler?

pace 7 years, 10 months ago

Replace a distinctive downtown with cookie cutter suburban malls, identical to other towns, and you lose.

lounger 7 years, 10 months ago

Too many chain stores are moving downtown. Local biz are shriking. Why come to lovely downtown Lawrence if nothing unique and special is left? We gave our children some local gift cards for christmas and I was alarmed at how many local stores closed in 2009. We need to support them more and somehow keep the chains away. The posters here are most likely Imports and not peeps with deep roots in larryville. Its still a great town and will survive this economic downturn. Just please owners quit renting to the chains and give more locals a break!!!

Jean1183 7 years, 10 months ago

A farmer's market at Tanger is an excellent idea. More space, more parking, AND it might possibly draw some who exit I-70 for gas, food, etc.

My main point RE: Cracker Barrel was that it draws out of town TRAVELERS and therefore out of town dollars while offering jobs for Lawrencians. It needs to be near an interstate such as was planned, and is NOT something that would compete with downtown. Plus they have "decent" turnip greens and dumplings. :)

Downtown ~could~ be wonderful. My brother who visited (back in the 80's) loved all the little unique shops. Just get rid of the bums, close some of the bars (the ones that cause all the problems), have a VERY visible foot patrol for security, owners lower the rents or give tax breaks to businesses, DO NOT BLOCK OFF THE STREETS TO TRAFFIC (that is part of the small town ambiance--the parking meters, just allow more time and continue no fees after a certain time), allow buskers that apply for a license AND make it law that they cannot ask for money they can only have a visible "donations accepted" sign of a certain size, and have something downtown for families with children (some indoor play area or activity).

George Lippencott 7 years, 10 months ago

moltenio (Anonymous) says… Great, it works for you. Can you understand that it doesn't work for many others. Can you accept that or is your solution to make them pay more for your enjoyment?

Sigmund 7 years, 10 months ago

LarryNative (Anonymous) says… "How about going downtown and painting pottery with your child on Vermont St. Catch a play at the Art Center. Then stroll over to the Library and check out the kids section, there may be a puppet show that day. Head over and get a slice of pizza at Papa Keno's or Rudy's. Afterwards, go get some candy or icecream at Penny Annies or Yummy's. After that you can go play in the park. Then go check at the toy's at the Toy Store downtown."

Lovely, and then what to the next day, or next week, or next month? There are numerous problems with downtown Lawrence not the least of which is micromanagement by city planners, which is the fatal flaw in all urban planning who want to protect downtown. They invest nothing, risk nothing, but simply force their vision paid for by outside consultants who never get to see the havoc paid for with tax payer dollars by their pie in the sky romantic view from 30,000 feet. Vibrant and diverse downtowns grow organically from demand, not driven by high paid experts.

Anyway the article specifically talks about "pulling" shoppers from outside the area. Just who is going to drive 45 minutes to see a puppet show and paint pottery? I venture to say no one. The only two businesses downtown worth that kind of drive are Free State Brewery and Sunflower Bike Shop which coincidently are the only two businesses downtown that I will patronise or would ever want to work at. They both provide a great products supported by great service at fair prices, although some of Sunflowers personnel can get a bit snooty if you can't drop $2,500 for a Roubaix Elite Triple and Free State can gets so loud you could easily miss the Apocalypse.

Otherwise beautiful downtown Lawrence has been turned into the smoking section for all the "unique" coffee shops, bars, and restaurants which just aren't all that unique. So unless I want to buy homeless newsletters from some drunk, or browse the thousands of trashy handbills for the local anarchist meetings, or stare at the paranoid pot heads who wanted to blow some weed in Lawrence so if they get busted they'll be in municipal instead of district court, or I want to honk for hemp, or laugh at the antiwar protesters with extreme cases of cognitive dissonance since Obama was elected, I'll go almost anywhere first.

acg 7 years, 10 months ago

My family moved 36 times from the time I was born until I graduated HS in 1991 (dad worked on nukes). I've lived in all four corners of the US and a lot of what's in between. I decided to settle in this area many moons ago because of how cool and interesting Lawrence was. For its size, I always felt safe on the streets, the downtown area was vibrant and fun, the people were mellow and even though there were all types of folks, they seemed to get along pretty well. The last 10 years have saddened me. Whoever, above, said Lawrence wasn't that much fun anymore was correct. We're looking to move on when my hubby is done with school and that makes me sad. I had once found an oasis in the middle of nowhere but now it's all dried up. :(

dizzy_from_your_spin 7 years, 10 months ago

Popularity and trends happen and survive on their own volition...not because the planners and politicians recognize 'em and try to improve, expand, replicate or profit on 'em.

Mel Briscoe 7 years, 10 months ago

it is hard to believe, i am in semi-shock to read, that salina tops lawrence in sales-- and not marginally-- by A LOT! wow... still wrapping my head around that one!!

the only thing i can think of is that we are kind of a last outpost of sorts, when it comes to shopping choices before you get to the nether regions of western kansas. i have two jobs: one is clerical and one is part-time retail (in which i am a cashier), and we do have quite a large number of folks from surrounding smaller communities come through, purchasing things that they cannot get in (or closer to) their communities. even people from decent-sized towns like hays come to salina to shop because we offer choices that they don't have there.

Mel Briscoe 7 years, 10 months ago

btw, i STILL love lawrence's downtown area as does the rest of my family. i can see where it has fallen off just a bit from what it used to be 15-20 years ago, but it is still a great place and i think it will make a comeback.

Mel Briscoe 7 years, 10 months ago

good gracious, lawrence is below parsons??! what. the. hell????

Sigmund 7 years, 10 months ago

honeychild (Mel Briscoe) says… "good gracious, lawrence is below parsons??! what. the. hell????"

Yes but I bet we kick their asses in consulting dollars spent, empTy buses, and our sales taxes are amongst the highest in the State!

Mel Briscoe 7 years, 10 months ago

but tell us how you REALLY feel, thing...

Rainydaze49 7 years, 10 months ago

Lawrence has corny stores. I'm a broke fool who would rather get a bunch of friends to chip in on gas money and drive the extra hour to get to The Legends or Great Plains mall rather than go to Old Navy AGAIN, or JC Penny AGAIN or Perkins AGAIN!

jayhawklawrence 7 years, 10 months ago

If you cannot afford to live in Lawrence, you should move somewhere else where there are better jobs. No since wasting time complaining about it.

There are a lot of great places to live and why not try something different. There is a whole big world out there.

As long as lefties have too much influence on government in Lawrence, it will be what it is. Nothing more.

The business unfriendly reputation is deserved.

I feel sorry for people who love Lawrence and can no longer afford to live here.

budwhysir 7 years, 10 months ago

I sure hope we find them, thats all we need is a bunch of lost shoppers finding their way over to the new homeless shelter. I would say that with the conditions of our sidewalks during the last ice and snow storm we have no one to blame but us. How would you like to travel all that way just to find the city bus system shut down, roads a mess, no sidewalks clear, and all the towns people trying to find a way to pay that hefty fine

3crookedhearts 7 years, 10 months ago

At least we can all agree that Lawrence is desperately in need of a new movie theater. I saw a mouse in there a few weeks ago.

Blessed4x 7 years, 10 months ago

Could it possibly be that people want to shop at Nebraska Furniture Mart and the like? Could it be possible that some people just don't want to shop at the used clothing/record stores in downtown Lawrence? hmmmmmm....I wonder.

georgeofwesternkansas 7 years, 10 months ago

You do not have a mall. Shopping in Lawrence is cold in the winter and hot in the summer.

Mel Briscoe 7 years, 10 months ago

rainy, it takes you an HOUR to get from lawrence to the legends? what are you driving-- one of those old folks scooters?

3crookedhearts 7 years, 10 months ago

Let me ask you, none2, are you pleased with our theater here? It's not just the mouse. It's the fact that the theater is nearly 20 years old, has terrible seating configurations, has sanitation problems (mice, the food poisoning incident mentioned above), was built for people 5'4" or smaller, and has extraordinarily poor technology. With the advent of Real 3D and the ubiquity of IMAX, not having a theater that supports these in a town of nearly 100,000 is very disappointing (and their new REAL-D projector is NOT the same as True3D). When you compare our theater to the AMCs of the KC Metro, or the Legends 14, the Southwind in Lawrence is abysmal.

Back to your analogy then, none. What would I do if my house was uncomfortable, caused me to get sick, didn't have the proper technology, had a poor layout, AND had a pest problem? I'd move or build a new house. That's just me, though.

BigPrune 7 years, 10 months ago

Smart Growth RUINING Our Quality Of Life

All hail the outdated sacred cow Horizon 2020.

This is what we get for playing it "smart" - read: stupid

ralphralph 7 years, 10 months ago

Spent part of yesterday in downtown Lawrence, and found it busy and thriving. Saw only a few panhandlers -- one quietly holding a handwritten sign asking for funds -- but wasn't approached or bothered by any. Had a good lunch, after having to make a hard choice on where to go. Saw a number of buses go by ... only saw one passenger on one of them. The younger ones of us would have gone to a movie downtown, if there was a movie downtown (no offense to Liberty Hall, but it's not meant to be Kid Friendly). I would think a quality movie theatre -- either arena seating or a cafe/cinema or some such would be a good entertainment addition downtown, but not a megaplex. All in all, it's still a good experience, even though the number and diversity of stores seem to be down ... Toy Store and the bookstores are still the ones.

As to some of the above posts ... Make buskers apply for a license? Really? I don't think so. I think, instead, that you create spaces for them to perform and encourage the creativity and social interaction that flows from having art in your streets.

Power and Light over DT Larry? C'mon, man! P&L is like Disneyland with gin ... very fake, very contrived, very Disney. (it IS better than the empty downtown that preceded it most recently, but it sure seems like they aimed low on the quality of experience there).

Mall / Mart / etc ... People are going to go to malls, although apparently different ones than the likes of Indian Springs and Metcalf South, and they are going to go to the big box stores, at that's just how it is. That doesn't mean you have to entirely concede. Just for contrast, yesterday, I made my virgin voyage to the new Mart at 6th & Waka, and it's just as horrible as any other cavernous, grey-cement-floored pole barn I've walked through, and I was just as filled with relief as I went out the exit doors under the human and electronic scrutiny of shrinkage-control agents. You go to the Mart if you MUST, and you go Downtown if you MAY.

76 7 years, 10 months ago

didn't Lawrence turn down the distribution operations for American Eagle and it went to Ottawa?
the theater seating in Lawrence need to be updated lawrence needs to get the by pass going and build up around it for the economy lawrence is constantly kicking itself in the foot

earline james 7 years, 10 months ago

My last purchase in downtown Lawrence was for K2. If Sacred Journey is no longer selling it, I'll try ordering online (thanks for the link). If we're hurting for revenue ...

gl0ck0wn3r 7 years, 10 months ago

Anyone else find contrasting the nonsense in this thread with the nonsense in the airport thread enlightening? Richard, of course, is against anything in North Lawrence... but he'd happily spend that same money on a round-a-bout.

notajayhawk 7 years, 10 months ago

none2 (Anonymous) says…

"Whether Lawrence would have enough draw for IMAX, I don't know. It would be great, but we may be too small a market."

Methinks someone is getting to the heart of the problem.

"I like malls, but obviously not that many others do; otherwise, we would still have the Riverfront mall."

Or maybe the fact that people DO like malls is why the shoppers from outside Lawrence aren't coming any more, and those from Lawrence are going elsewhere.

I've never been the biggest fan of malls, but when I have a lot of shopping to do - say, around Christmas - would I rather spend the day strolling around indoors, or loading the purchases and the kids into the car in freezing weather to move a half-mile after every store?

BigPrune 7 years, 10 months ago

Mr. McClure is the very last person to be giving advice. When the Progressive Commission changed the development code almost assuring failure in the retail sector 5 years ago, it took 5 years to correct the mistake.

MIT designs cities in third world countries. Now I get it!!! This is where all the sustainability this and sustainability that comes from when it is applied to Lawrence. Good job progressives, our city streets are almost third world.

Smart Growth Ruining Our Way Of Life All hail the outdated sacred cow (that never allowed for the growth in the '90's) Horizon 2020 (outdated the day it rolled off the presses).

BigPrune 7 years, 10 months ago

Smart Growth Ruining Our Quality Of Life All hail the outdated sacred cow (that never allowed for the growth in the '90's) Horizon 2020 (outdated the day it rolled off the presses).

Richard Heckler 7 years, 10 months ago

Lawrence,Kansas is a small town with a small number of retail dollars available to spend. Building more retail establishments and further flooding the market DOES NOT magically increase the number of available retail dollars in any community. Flooded markets are business unfriendly = this is not rocket science.

Smart business people realize that Lawrence is a small town with limited retail dollars and have zero interest in setting up shop that will produce negative return on the investment = business unfriendly.

There are small buisness people shutting down in Lawrence everyday = evidence of not enough retail dollars to go around = economic displacement.

Lawrence did not lose shoppers. Residents moved away after realizing that the city has no expertise available to attract jobs jobs jobs jobs jobs that pay more than $17.50 per hour and/or $77,500 per year.

Residents move away when they realize Lawrence becomes far less "progessive" with each passing year as the city laughs off the newest industry with the greatest potential. That industry is the blue and white collar "green industry" in which the word green = money money money.

Kansas City Mo and Greensburg are the cities gaining momentum in our region as those establishing a " green print". Lawrence is getting left behind in the brown dust.

Richard Heckler 7 years, 10 months ago

This whole shopping thing is bogus.

Nobody moved here with the idea of shopping their life away.

If shopping was a huge issue in someone's life they would have chosen KCMO, Topeka of JOCO. These newcomers did no do that.

It is evident that Lawrence is not this huge shopping mecca upon arriving into town. Obviously no one has stayed here all of their lives nor moved here to be a shopping robot. They moved here to get away from that shopping chaos which = zero social value.

What it boils down to is we have a load of politicians in Lawrence trying to convince all of us this is what we want out of life so THEY CAN MAKE A ANOTHER TON OF DOUGH.

These politicians should move to KCMO,JOCO,LA,Dallas,Ledgends or Boston if shopping is what they want. Let the rest of us remain at peace with ourselves!

jafs 7 years, 10 months ago

I generally agree with many of your posts, merrill, but not these.

We shouldn't need to make more than $77,500/year to live in Lawrence. If we do, that's a big part of the problem.

And if that's why fewer people are living here, that should be addressed.

And, if sales tax collections are down, that will affect city services/quality of life and/or necessitate tax increases to maintain them.

gl0ck0wn3r 7 years, 10 months ago

Richard, are you high? Do you actually believe the things you post? I understand you are unwilling to read and engage other posters - this requires critical thought - and that you are unwilling to provide actual contemporary, localized evidence for your assertions, but surely you must understand how warped your opinions are. For example:

"If shopping was a huge issue in someone's life they would have chosen KCMO, Topeka of JOCO. These newcomers did no do that.

...These politicians should move to kcmo,joco,la,Dallas,Ledgends or Boston if shopping is what they want. Let the rest of us remain at peace with ourselves!"

People do indeed look at the availability of goods and services when they move to a location. People want to obtain those goods and services in a way that is convenient by their definition, not yours. I may dislike Red Lobster, but if Red Lobster finds a market in Lawrence and is willing to risk money to join the Lawrence market, who am I to tell them no simply because they do not fit with my tastes?

Your statements above simply prove the arrogance that is killing this town: the love it or leave it attitude. People are indeed leaving to shop and leaving for good. This attitude informs every faux-progressive whinefest in this town now. If one looks at the story about the airport, posters only want to provide basic county services (water and sewer) if development is guaranteed. That's not how it works. As a result, Lawrence screwed around so long that one potential developer may or may not go to Salina (SALINA!). Congratulations, losers.

Richard Heckler 7 years, 10 months ago

If tax dollar revenue is down it may be because the Bush-Cheney admin put million out work rather suddenly which means those 8 million will spend wayyyyy less which impacts soooooo many other buisness people thus the domino effect.

This will will impact the Lawrence economy for many years to come as well as many others. So why even concern ourselves with more shopping in Lawrence if the consumers cannot support such activity?

Education is one of those industries that do well no matter what. People consistently want to make themselves more marketable. If JCCC goes four year it will suck a lot of dollars away from Lawrence. So why not bring new student education opportunities to Lawrence now.

I say expand on the student industry and leave the shopping experience to Legends,KCMO/JOCO and Topeka metro areas. Lawrence does not have the dollars nor the desire.

I've never met anyone in the last 21 years that moved to Lawrence with "shop till you drop" in mind. Lawrence just has some folks that want us to believe that is the ultimate in life. BUT we know what their true objective is...... to get into our wallets as often as possible. It's their high profit lifestyle they are most concerned with let's face it.

Say NO to the Chamber of Commerce Free Lunch Program(aka tax dollars for developer):

George Lippencott 7 years, 10 months ago

merrill (Anonymous) says…

I am sure government can achieve anything you demand. Just raise taxes.

I watched the District of Columbia basically commit suicide doing this. After they lost federal aid to cities they just kept raising taxes. The middle class fled. Population dropped significantly. Why do you think we have special first time buyer goodies for the district?

People go where they are wanted and where they feel part of the process. Making people do things they do not want to do does not work. They either leave or organize to fight you!

You will not sustain this city doing the thinks you advocate. The university will shelter you for a while but those here voluntarily will leave, property values will drop, taxes will increase or service will decline and the death spiral will start. We are too big now for the university crowd to support the economy.

Go to it. The Republicans love people like you as they drive people like me back to them. I tried supporting the Democrats but in this town too many are extreme like you.

Yeah, bring in a bunch of upper middle class retirees and tax them to oblivion. Wonderful but morally bankrupt!

BigPrune 7 years, 10 months ago

Smart Growth Ruining Our Quality Of Life All hail the outdated sacred cow (that never allowed for the growth in the '90's) Horizon 2020 (outdated the day it rolled off the presses).

Merrill, we tried your "progressive" philosophy......nobody is buying the b.s. anymore.

jafs 7 years, 10 months ago


The article states specifically that Lawrence has a smaller amount of shopping revenue RELATIVE TO OTHER SURROUNDING COMMUNITIES and that it has generally had a much larger amount (also relative to those communities).

That means that although people may in general be shopping less due to the recession, Lawrence is getting a smaller market share of shoppers than usual.


Smart growth would be better than stupid growth.

Richard Heckler 7 years, 10 months ago

The more people that work out of town spend more money out of town.

This past holiday season the entire USA sales were down according to radio news. Which says to me people spent less money across the board.

Flooded retail markets do not produce economic growth instead they produce economic displacement. The westside is not producing economic growth it is losing money. At 6th and Wakarusa three grocery stores are struggling. Allowing a 3rd grocery store was economic nonsense.

After 4 years not enough retail tenants can be found for Wakarusa and 6th. It is my guess neither Lowes nor COSTCO will be coming anytime soon. There is barely enough business to keep Home Depot afloat. After Pay-Less closed down it was difficult finding any home improvement store. When word was out that Home Depot was coming no other store was interested.

Protection One will likely be vacating the Tanger location.

Lawrence,Kansas is not a retailers dream face it. Too much existing with too few supporting dollars = net loss. Retailers know these things. Placemakers noted at least 4 years ago Lawrence was a flooded market.

Tighter markets = economic growth.

Sigmund 7 years, 10 months ago

merrill (Anonymous) says… "Allowing a 3rd grocery store was economic nonsense."

Just because more stores share the same sales doesn't mean it has any overall economic impact to the city as sales taxes which will be the same! The only economic impact to the city is that real estate taxes are increased as the new building on the 3rd property increased in value.

gl0ck0wn3r 7 years, 10 months ago

"merrill (Anonymous) says…If tax dollar revenue is down it may be because the Bush-Cheney admin put million out work rather suddenly which means those 8 million will spend wayyyyy less which impacts soooooo many other buisness people thus the domino effect."

That's some nice copypasta there, Richard. It's sad when you fail so remarkably. Keep mowing lawns, old man.

Richard Heckler 7 years, 10 months ago

After tax abatement expired the closing of Sauer-Danfoss Plant in Lawrence, Kansas may well have cost Lawrence 100 shoppers. How many other shoppers have simply moved away after foreclosures or being laid off or both?

Other small business operations have closed doors in Lawrence.

It is all relative.

Down sized stores in the Lawrence area do not provide as many selections nor the best prices as can be found in full blown big box stores. Then again the Lawrence market does not warrant full blown big box stores.

Wal-Mart has failed Lawrence. It is not bringing in new retail dollars just merely taking away from the other store(s) = economic displacement. ZERO net gain.

Lawrence,Kansas is neither a retailers dream nor a shoppers paradise face it. Too much existing retail with too few supporting dollars = net loss.

Richard Heckler 7 years, 10 months ago

Fact is shopping downtown Lawrence and Cottins Hardware Store is a pleasant experience. If a shopper and/or visitor needs a pleasant break the Free State Brewery is not far away...some of the best brew on planet earth.

The diversity of downtown Lawrence is soooooo sweet compared to the boredom of a shopping center or big box building. Legends gets boring quick.

The Chaos of large indoor shopping centers is a boring disaster.

Wal-Mart is chaotic at best and NOT the great bargain center of the century. Which is why it is failing Lawrence. If you've seen one Wal-Mart you've seen them all.

Again the diversity of downtown Lawrence is soooooo sweet compared to the boredom of a shopping center or big box building.

particalzman 7 years, 6 months ago

So who decided that we as Kansans would be better off not being able to purchase these products? While the rest of the country is making POT LEGAL, here in hill billy KANSAS we are to dumb to make our own decisions. Why does are state money get spent this way, and not for any good. Then to raid the place, seize there property all before it is even ILLEGAL. I remember once hearing something to the effect of INNOCENT UNTIL PROVEN GUILTY. However are Kansas Government is more worried about building more COAL POWER PLANTS, with no regard for our AIR QUALITY. Yet still there is also no protocol for or against noxious chemicals or other refined air pollutants that cause server illness. No jobs, no public transportation for 95% of it's residents, more taxes then most other states. Well here is to the LAND OF OZ CHITS.

MyName 7 years, 1 month ago

What we need is more and better jobs in Lawrence. The rest will follow.

Richard Heckler 6 years ago

Lawrence is a college town which the primary focus is education. That is where the money is so why not focus on more institutions of education? Build a business college,an art institute,a Vo Tech campus and a ASE automotive certification institute.

The real estate executives want us to believe that shop till you drop can easily generate the same revenue as the 25,000-30,000 college kids bring to town.

In more than 25 years of shoving that down the throats of taxpayers what we have is a failing philosophy. Now these same thinkers are draining the wallets of taxpayers building just about anything connected to sports. They are thinking they can sell more real estate spending zillions of dollars on "athletic projects". In doing so this group has our school district recklessly spending money to support another failed philosophy.

The new hotels are being built to further this failing philosophy.

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