Archive for Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Town Talk: Library vote dissected; Garmin finds Lawrence; new business pins hopes on pinups

November 3, 2010, 12:23 p.m. Updated November 3, 2010, 4:48 p.m.


News and notes from around town.

• A wrap up of election results shows the Lawrence Public Library bond issue found good support in all areas of town, but opposition was more likely on the west side of the city. A total of 13 of the 49 Lawrence precincts voted against the library proposal, but none had negative votes that registered 60 percent or more. That was in contrast to 10 precincts that supported the library to the tune of 70 percent or more.

The 13 districts that voted against the library, and their percentage of no votes, were:

— Haskell Indian Nations University, 56.5 percent.

— Langston Hughes, 55.8 percent.

— Corpus Christi, 55.7 percent;.

— Kennedy Elementary 53.3 percent.

— Free Methodist, 52.9 percent.

— Lawrence Heights Christian Church, 52.8 percent.

— United Way building, 52.4 percent

— Mustard Seed, 52.3 percent.

— Church of Christ, 51.6 percent.

— Southwest Junior High, 51 percent

— Holcom 50.8 percent.

— First Presbyterian, 50.6 percent.

— Deerfield Elementary, 50.1 percent.

You can see a map and the complete results broken down by precinct here.

• Leaders of the new West Campus bioscience and technology incubator said in September that a powerhouse corporation was close to signing a deal to take space in the facility. Now it appears that deal is done. Multiple sources confirmed that Olathe-based Garmin Industries plans to move into the center in January, with about 12 to 15 computer-related jobs. The maker of GPS and other electronic devices wants to be closer to the engineering and software development talent available at Kansas University. A leader at the incubator facility said he couldn't yet comment on the deal.

• Talk of a different type of incubator was on the minds of some downtown business owners Tuesday morning. In a meeting with City Manager David Corliss, members of Downtown Lawrence Inc. asked if the city had considered creating a retail incubator for downtown. Corliss said the idea has come up as part of the city’s retail task force, but the group hasn’t yet decided on a direction.

“A key issue is what should be the city’s role in an incubator,” Corliss said. “Should the city own the building, should it operate the incubator, or should it just take steps to encourage an incubator?”

Retail incubators have popped up in other communities around the country. The idea is that small mom-and-pop businesses have access to lower rent spaces and also can receive some business management assistance from more experienced retailers. Communities, though, have taken different approaches on whether the project should be led by the public or private sector.

The city’s Retail Task Force is expected to deliver a report to city commissioners on a host of retail issues by early 2011.

• Pinups — you know, the type of pictures teenage boys drooled over in the 1940s and ’50s — is a new industry in Lawrence. Longtime photographer John Gladman and business partner Carol Ann Zuk have opened Bombshell, a new business that allows women to come in and pose for pinup-style photos at Gladman’s North Lawrence studio. The process involves some hair work and an hour-long photo session, Zuk said. Once the client settles on a particular shot, Gladman then begins digitally painting the photo to give it that original pinup look.

Zuk said the business has taken off since August, and the company is now booked several weeks in advance. Zuk said pinups have become a hot national trend, but that Bombshell is trying to carve out its own niche. Although the process does still involve wearing tight and revealing clothing to “show off the lines of the body,” Zuk said Bombshell does much less altering of the photos with computer programs.

“Our business is about taking women of all shapes and sizes and making them feel good about where they are right now, not after they lost 20 pounds or had plastic surgery or something,” Zuk said. “I feel like the media are really damaging women’s self-esteem with some of the expectations they are creating.”

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Evan Ridenour 7 years, 7 months ago

No to the idea of a publicly funded retail incubator. There are already enough conflicts of interest between the city government and downtown as-is.

cowboy 7 years, 7 months ago

Given the other options that cities use to generate new businesses i.e. jobs , the incubator is the one with immediate payback , immediate creation of small business jobs , they generate business opportunities at the most basic level , the individual .

When compared to the huge approach of Bioscience devo churning of loads of dollars on the mere chance of a hit the direct incubator approach is a winner. If you approach it as an incubator district you have created a new destination for downtown shoppers wanting an alternative to corporate retail who are the dominant tenants downtown anymore. You also stem the tide of just degenerating into a bunch of bars and bad food establishments.

I would much rather see the 18 mill that is going to be flushed down the library commode spent on this project.

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