Archive for Friday, October 8, 2010

Lost opportunity

The Lowe’s denial is another sign of Lawrence’s loss of fire and imagination.

October 8, 2010


At one time, not too many years ago, Lawrence was a city that other communities wanted to emulate. It was “on fire” and looked to as a city of opportunities. The city and Kansas University combined to provide an environment of excitement, optimism, enthusiasm and forward thinking.

Unfortunately, that fire and imagination have died. Only a few infrequent sparks remain of what once defined the city.

The headline out of Tuesday’s Lawrence City Commission meeting could have read: “What’s new?”

Once again, the city turned down an opportunity to attract a major retailer that would have provided employment opportunities, increased tax revenues for the city and an attractive building in the Bauer Farms development on West Sixth Street. Lowe’s is considered one of the nation’s blue-ribbon retailers in the big-box category and would have attracted new shoppers to Lawrence.

The cards were stacked against Lowe’s when the city planning staff recommended the project be denied. For example, at Tuesday’s meeting, a city official said he could not think of any commercial development in Lawrence that was bigger than the 600,000-square-foot node that the addition of Lowe’s would create at Sixth Street and Wakarusa Drive, apparently conveniently forgetting more than 2 million square feet of development in the 31st and Iowa area and approximately 1.3 million square feet in Lawrence’s downtown.

For several reasons, proponents of the Lowe’s project were unable to make a complete presentation showing the uniqueness and attractiveness of their proposal. Even so, it probably wouldn’t have made a difference.

The end result was that Lawrence lost Lowe’s, at least for the present time.

On the surface, Lawrence looks like a great retail market. In this case, the Lawrence site was one of only two locations between Chicago and New Mexico that officials had approved for a new store.

How long will it be before Lawrence and KU again stand out as an exciting, forward-looking, enthusiastic and welcoming combination with excellent visionary leadership?

In the meantime, how many opportunities will have passed by?


Gandalf 7 years, 7 months ago

Don't forget the CID taxing authority Lowe's demanded as a bribe to come. The answer is still no!!

RoeDapple 7 years, 7 months ago

Don't forget the $700,000 in sales tax benefits, the jobs, and the fact that most people in and around Lawrence want a Lowe's.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 7 years, 7 months ago

There is absolutely no proof that any "sales tax benefits" would accrue to the city or county. To the contrary, it's quite reasonable to expect that the vast majority of sales at Lowe's would almost certainly have come at the expense of existing retailers, meaning the city/county get little or no net benefit.

And the "jobs" argument is pretty much the same. Since Lowe's sales would almost certainly come at the expense of other retailers, those retailers, if they stay in business, would almost certainly reduce the number of employees to reflect that.

The only increased collections for the city/county would be in property taxes, but as with the two factors above, it's downright dishonest to look at only the potential assets, but not the potential liabilities. First, it's going to increase costs to the city/county to have Lowe's here. And if Lowe's causes other retailers to go out of business, the vacancies created could easily turn into blight down the line, which would represent not only increased expenses to taxpayers, but also a loss of previous investments by taxpayers.

That doesn't mean that Lowe's shouldn't be allowed to have a store here, but it does mean that uncritical and downright unthinking fluff pieces like this one ought not to force us to accept whatever proposal Lowe's and these developers throw at us.

Practicality 7 years, 7 months ago

Bozo, for your premise to be correct, that would mean that NO ONE from the Lawrence area ever leaves the city of Lawrence to shop at Lowes in KC or Topeka. I am sure that Lowes could tell you otherwise, which is why they want the store here.

Kendall Simmons 7 years, 7 months ago

And how many people do you know who specifically drive to Topeka or KC to shop at Lowe's now that we have Home Depot? It's one thing to "want" a Lowe's. Hey, it's a good store. But it's quite another to want one so badly that you drive to Topeka/KC to specifically shop at one.

And please note that bozo's comments referred to "the vast majority of sales"...not all sales. So, no, for his premise to be correct, it is NOT necessary for "no one" to leave Lawrence to shop at Lowe's elsewhere. (Also note that Lowe's is only interested in what's good for Lowe's, not what's good for Lawrence.)

jafs 7 years, 7 months ago

Thank you.

acornwebworks 1 Liberty One 0

Practicality 7 years, 7 months ago

The only person I can definitively state that I "know" that drives to Lowes in KC or Topeka is myself and a relative I rode with one time. But, I am not in charge of Lowes. We all know that when we are at many stores, the cashier often asks for a phone number or a zip code. One of the things this information is used for is where their customers currently reside. It stands to reason then, that Lowes recognized a significant number of purchases coming from the Lawrence area and that opening a store there would be profitable. Or, do you think, that a company as successful as Lowes, just throws darts at a map and opens a store at the location where the dart strikes?

Kendall Simmons 7 years, 7 months ago

1) I've never had Lowe's ask me for my phone number. (Even you don't claim that they do.)

2) There's a significant difference between shopping at a store because it's convenient to your home and shopping at a store because you happen to be in the area...and a difference between both of them and destination shopping sites (like The Legends)

We used to go to Topeka to shop every Christmas because of granddaughters who loved Hot Topic. And, while in the mall where Hot Topic is located, we did other Christmas shopping. But our granddaughters have outgrown Hot Topic, so we no longer shop in Topeka...unless we happen to be there for another reason.

We didn't need a Hot Topic in Lawrence. Nor did we need any of the other stores where we shopped.

Keep in mind that Lowe's doesn't just want to come to Lawrence. They want THAT location...and we'd be foolish to believe it had nothing to do with the potential extra sales tax that would go into their pockets...particularly since they specifically said the extra tax was a condition of their coming to Lawrence.

If we actually do want them so badly...and drive Home Depot out of business in the process...we could offer them the same "tax money to private pockets" option further out on 6th Street. I think we'd see their argument that 'there aren't enough houses there' would quickly vanish.

Jonathan Becker 7 years, 7 months ago

Don't confuse the facts with your comment. If you had read the proposal, you would have noticed that there was no such demand. Everyone is entitled to his opinion, but you don't get to make up your own facts.

Bob Forer 7 years, 7 months ago

I'd wager a dime to a dollar that Lowe's would would have said "no way" if acceptance of their plan was made contingent on them relinquishing the CID status of the property.

Kendall Simmons 7 years, 7 months ago

As Gandalf says, go to the city commission's website and read the Lowe's letter...then apologize to Gandalf. 'Twasn't him who made up facts.

< >

Go to the part that says:

"In addition to the entitlements discussed above, and as a condition of moving forward with the development..."

Heck, why do you think they're so adamant about THAT particular site? A percent of their sales as free money to repay them for building the store...of course they're interested! They'd be fools not to be.

jafs 7 years, 7 months ago

What other entitlements? As if an extra "tax" for their own use isn't bad enough!

Maddy Griffin 7 years, 7 months ago

So, just because we're not getting a Lowe's, we're no longer a city of opportunities?Give me a break.

BrianR 7 years, 7 months ago

Two Wal-Marts but no second 'home improvement' store?

I like the Lowes in JOCO and often go there instead of the Home Depot, which I really don't like. Another bad move, Lawrence.

Kendall Simmons 7 years, 7 months ago

Sorry, but Lowe's requires the special sales tax (that goes in their pocket) as a requirement of building a store here. In your case, though, I guess that would compensate for the gas money you'd save, so it's no big deal, right?

If Lowe's truly wants to enter the Lawrence market, then let them build their store further west on 6th and without the sales tax bonus in their pockets. If they aren't interested, then they aren't REALLY interested in building in Lawrence.

independant1 7 years, 7 months ago

If the plan just won't allow the Lowe's where Lowe's wants to build, then modify the plan, it's a good opportunity knocking. And shouldn't 'the city plan' be reviewed from time to time for modifications? Negotiate, give something/get something from Lowe's in return. It would benefit the city. Business, especially big business, is known for community involvement and philanthropic support.

LogicMan 7 years, 7 months ago

Real estate agents everywhere should be turning over every stone in town to find a better site for Lowes! We want them, just not there or with that higher sales tax.

More potential sites to consider: the trailer parks behind JCP, and the one next to ... home depot! Also the land behind the south walmart. Or maybe sears.

Janis Pool 7 years, 7 months ago

The city kicked itself in the butt when it allowed an area that could charge higher taxes. What business who has to charge more and still woo customers wouldn't ask for a different tax break? You are right that we say we are open and then slam doors in faces. But I we will keep doing so because no one learned from WalMart. But at least it will provide jobs for new law grads. As for location, I personally hate big box stores, and I am grateful Lowe's will not be across the street. But I would still welcome the company. Had Roommakers not just turned that property back to beautiful I would have recommended that spot.

Richard Heckler 7 years, 7 months ago

"David Cay Johnston then boggled the crowd with a blunt assertion: "We pay billions of dollars in taxes that never get to the government." Much of the sales tax we pay at big box stores and shopping centers is diverted to the large companies that own the stores. It's just one of the many swindles these chains have learned to perpetrate against city and county governments. This is so effective that the Cabela family, which owns a chain of big-box sporting goods stores, receives 137% of its profits from taxpayer subsidies. If they couldn't work this scam, they wouldn't be in business at all."

salad 7 years, 7 months ago

This is actually true. I've read his book "Free Lunch" and it outlines the whole vile world of govt. subsidies among other govt. handouts to the super rich at the expense of the rest of us. Yeah, let's cut their taxes too so that the super rich create all the jobs they created the past 8 years.....or are doing right now.

xclusive85 7 years, 7 months ago

This has to be incorrect. If Cabella's received 137% of its profits from taxpayer subsidies they would have more profits. You cannot receive more than 100% of your profits from any one thing. Only common sense right?

Richard Heckler 7 years, 7 months ago

The local real estate/development community is always putting the fear factor on the table.

Lowe's may not come to Lawrence for years - so what!!!! People have been into home improvement for 80 years long before the big box stores were around.

WE have: Home Depot - Taxpayers were forced to spend more than $2 million in street re-design. How many more millions does anyone want to spend?

MC Cray Lumber - a friendly place to shop. 1516 W 6th St

Westlake Ace Hardware - (785) 865-2622

Cottin's Hardware & Tool Rental - (785) 843-2981

Gragg's Paint Co - (785) 842-2710

Sherwin-Williams - (785) 843-8820

Ernst & Son (785) 843-2373 -

Lawrence Decorating Center www.lawrencedecorating.benmoorepaints... - (785) 842-0107

Westlake Ace Hardware - (785) 843-8484 -

Go shop at all of the above and create new jobs,more tax revenue and economic growth. That's all it takes.

Lowe's is not necessary. AND with all of the anti tax talk now they are okay with a special sales tax that would help Lowe's pay off this project then pocket that sales tax as profit till death do us part.

Why do so many want to pay an extra sales tax to bail out a development group that made a bad business decision?

Has the local commercial real estate industry lost all touch with reality? I say absolutely. These people believe it is up to the taxpayers to guarantee the local developer/real estate industry a profit on their risky speculation. I say no way jose' These people and our local Chamber of Commerce are all about wreckanomics.

Maybe Lowe's should buy out the Home Depot location with any special tax incentives? Why do big box stores and city hall think taxpayers should pay for a business to locate in Lawrence? Have we lost all sense of fiscal responsibility?

Richard Heckler 7 years, 7 months ago

Maybe Lowe's should buy out the Home Depot location withOUT any special tax incentives?

Richard Heckler 7 years, 7 months ago

North Lawrence is looking for a well furnished hardware store in Tanger Mall ( one of the other retail failures).

LogicMan 7 years, 7 months ago

Ikea, and an Aldi, would be much better fit for that site. Chamber of Commerce, etc., recruit Ikea to town!

WilburM 7 years, 7 months ago

Maybe the right store, but definitely the wrong site.

jafs 7 years, 7 months ago

An underlying assumption among many, including the author of this editorial, seems to be that continuing growth and development are uniquely positive things.

That's debatable at best.

Richard Heckler 7 years, 7 months ago

What makes this site a risky venture for any new retail and taxpayers?

  1. It was a bad business decision in the first place. It is not the taxpayers responsibility to bail this land speculation deal out of trouble.

  2. Sprawl Costs all of US

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


  1. 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

flyin_squirrel 7 years, 7 months ago


Why does KU need you teaching your classes when some of those same classes are offered at JCCC and KSU? It is because people want choices. And hopefully one of those other University's will have a job opening soon for you, so you will get out of Lawrence.

Kendall Simmons 7 years, 7 months ago

You HAVE a to Topeka if you want to shop at Lowe's.

Jeez you think we should have EVERY store that a few residents would like to see?

Practicality 7 years, 7 months ago

Who elected you Emperor of Lawrence? Why do you get to decide what stores are adequate in the Free Market of Lawrence? Businesses have the right to determine where they think a store would be successful. If you don't want to sell your land to a business, then don't, but don't try to tell someone else what they can do. If Lowes opened a business, and it failed to profit, they will bear that burden, not you. Why are you trying to force your desires on others? If you don't want to shop at Lowes then don't. If Lowes doesn't want to open a store in a place they think will not be profitable, then they won't. Pretty simple stuff.

Kendall Simmons 7 years, 7 months ago

Sorry, Practicality, but I asked a simple question..."do you think we should have EVERY store that a few residents would like to see?"

Because that's been the argument of some. That, because they like Lowe's, Lawrence should have a Lowe's.

The question has nothing to do with whether or not a store actually wants to come to Lawrence.

Frankly, I agree with you that businesses should (and will) make their own business decisions.

But I'd also point out that one of the conditions of Lowe's coming to Lawrence (and why they want that particular site) is because they want that special tax. The one where buyers' pay an extra "sales tax"...but the "sales tax" money goes directly into private pockets.

I don't fault Lowe's for asking. They'd be silly not to. After all, they could offer lower prices than, say, Home Depot, knowing that they'd make those lower prices up via their higher "sales tax".

But if Lowe's REALLY wants to come to Lawrence, they'll do so without the special tax.

And, if they don't come, it won't be because we drove them away or because there allegedly aren't any homes near the location 2 minutes further west down 6th Street (unless we all hallucinate when we drive by.)

The ball is back in Lowe's court. Either they really do see Lawrence as a viable market or they don't. And, if it's only viable if we pay them till eternity through a special "sales tax", then it's not really viable.

Practicality 7 years, 7 months ago

Like all businesses, Lowes will make its decision based upon projected profits. Obviously, they think that the 'special tax' would make opening a Lawrence store the most profitable for them. If they are moved to a different location, then their projected profit in Lawrence might be less than a competing location, which would then make it in their best interest to open elsewhere.

Lowes making more money in one location in Lawrence versus another location in Lawrence is not a valid argument for Lawrence not to have a Lowes, if one takes into account the benefits of having a Lowes in Lawrence. But, it is a valid argument for Lowes to choose another city to expand in. Lowes will make their decision on what is best for Lowes. Lawrence needs to make their decision on what is best for Lawrence. I believe having a Lowes in Lawrence is better than having a Lowes in Topeka, for the city of Lawrence. Cities are competing for businesses to come into their areas. That has always been the case. Just because Lowes might make a little more money, doesn't mean that it would be bad for the city of Lawrence.

jafs 7 years, 7 months ago

"Lawrence needs to make their decision on what is best for Lawrence".

Absolutely agreed.

Just because Lowe's thinks they can make a profit if they come here, and utilize the new CID "tax" doesn't mean it would be good for Lawrence.

Practicality 7 years, 7 months ago

Just because Lowes utilizes the special "tax" doesn't mean it is bad for Lawrence. How much revenue is generated for the city of Lawrence currently on that piece of land?

jafs 7 years, 7 months ago

I didn't say that.

Although I am opposed to those sorts of arrangements in general, and this one in particular, unless it is conspicuously posted at each business that charges it. And even then I think it's a bit absurd.

The point, again, on which we agree, is that a city should make decisions based on what's best for the city, not an individual business.

How that is decided is, of course, a subject ripe for disagreements.

JustNoticed 7 years, 7 months ago

Pretty simple minded. Try to understand that the resulting sprawl and blight harm the entire community, not just a failed business.

Practicality 7 years, 7 months ago

How does "sprawl" harm the community? How does a Lowes equal "blight"? Again, your personal preference does not speak for the community, and no, neither does mine.

Richard Heckler 7 years, 7 months ago

Sprawl increases the cost of running the city = higher taxes and user fees

Sprawl Costs Us All


Suburban sprawl has been rightly blamed for many things: destroying green space, increasing air and water pollution, fracturing our neighborhoods and forcing us to drive gridlocked roads for every chore. But there is one consequence that usually goes unmentioned - sprawl is draining our pocketbooks and raising our taxes.

Sprawl is the result of over five decades of subsidies paid for by the American taxpayer. These range from the obvious to the obscure and include big projects-like the billions we spend on new roads as well as smaller ones-like the tax-breaks that encourage businesses to move to the edge of town. We've subsidized sprawl at such a basic level for so long, that many people believe the status quo is actually fair and neutral. This is false-what we think of as a level playing field is tilted steeply in favor of sprawling development.

How we subsidize sprawl:

* building new and wider roads
* building schools on the fringe
* extending sewer and water lines to sprawling development
* extending emergency services to the fringe
* direct pay-outs to developers

How do we subsidize sprawl? Through an array of state, local and federal programs-and through incentives built into the develop-ment process itself. The biggest federal contribution to sprawl is the billions of dollars spent on building new roads. Over the past 50 years, we have built almost 4 million miles of highways. This massive network of roads has done more than speed us from point A to point B - it has reshaped the landscape by opening up rural areas to suburban development and it has reshaped our society by making the car king. Travel by car has become not just another option-in too many places, it has become the only option.

Other federal programs are also encouraging sprawl. For years we have subsidized construction in flood plains while making it far too easy to destroy critical wetlands. This encourages the destruction of open spaces and adds to the pressure to sprawl.

The growth of suburban sprawl, though aided by federal spending, is also the product of decisions at the state and local levels. The corporate enticement game-played by everyone from governor to county supervisor-encourages commercial development far from cities and towns. Over the past few decades, corporations have become increasingly skilled at playing one community against another in an effort to wrest greater perks from state and local governments. Big-box retailers and isolated business parks are unwittingly subsidized by our own tax dollars.

What's Inside

Richard Heckler 7 years, 7 months ago

"Sprawl subsidies are also built into the development process itself. Most new, sprawling development costs more to build and service than the taxes or fees it generates. When a new residential or commercial development is built outside of an existing community, roads, sewer systems and water lines have to be built.

As the development expands, it requires schools and emergency services. Where does the money for all this come from? In most cases, neither the developers nor the new residents pay their full, fair share - it is the rest of us who make up the difference. The bottom line is that new development is costing us money."

The city's current budget can be tied directly to infrastructure expenses needed to serve new housing developments.

If residential growth paid for itself and was financially positive, we would not be increasing taxes and user fees. Growth should be paying for itself but instead existing residents keep being asked to pay more.

But with increased numbers of houses you have increased demand on services, and historically the funding of revenues generated by residential does not pay for the services, they require from a municipality = tax dollar money hole.

If the "bedroom community" were such a great revenue generator Lawrence residents should be receiving annual tax dollar refunds after 27 years.

Practicality 7 years, 7 months ago

So merrill, I guess it would be best to have just one or two giant skyscrapers and everyone in the city could live in them. Is that what you are advocating?

Also, couldn't one argue that the lack of productive employment and the lack of taxes generated from businesses require the need to keep asking the citizens to pay more?

jafs 7 years, 7 months ago

Sure, which is exactly why various tax abatements do nothing to "balance" the tax base, which is one of the claimed goals of getting more businesses in town.

Practicality 7 years, 7 months ago

ummmm, we have no taxes now, isn't some better than none?

jafs 7 years, 7 months ago

That would depend on a careful analysis of the costs involved for the city in infrastructure creation and maintenance, and associated costs and unintended consequences.

And, if the company gets a 100% property tax abatement, then the answer is no - the addition of that company does nothing to help out the homeowner as far as their share of taxes.

thefactsare 7 years, 7 months ago

Lawrence has never approved an 100% tax abatement so there is always an immediate property tax benefit to the taxing entities.

jafs 7 years, 7 months ago


Any sources for that?

I've heard that they have in fact approved such abatements for periods of up to ten years.

Bozup 7 years, 7 months ago

Maybe the Lowes should go into North Lawrence. Maybe it could revamp the retail area. Studies could be done till the day we all die but it will always be a huge gamble. But instead going off and building in new areas we should think about the dead zones areas that we have already created. Heck guarantee that one day someone said the Tanger strip mall would be there forever with plenty money to the city! what a epic failure that was. Now that anyone driving east going west 1-70, the first thing they see is a half empty strip mall! That doesn't represent a city with forward looking! Think we lost fire ,imagination, excitement, optimism, enthusiasm and forward thinking to big box stores to begin with. Why lose alittle more to another box?

gl0ck0wn3r 7 years, 7 months ago

Why does Merrill hate the working class?

George Lippencott 7 years, 7 months ago

Why will these people not move a mile? It really is not about money, taxes or jobs. It is about mutual respect. The city offered a location close enough to not really impact planning by Lowe's. Lowe's seems to want to cram it down our throat. That gets my back up. Build it where offered or lose my business forever.

gl0ck0wn3r 7 years, 7 months ago

How are they cramming anything down your throat? They want to build a business in a location that they - for whatever reason - have determined as the best location for their business. Why is it incumbent upon them to change to a less desirable location? Somehow I doubt you would have such a cavalier attitude about what they should or should not do if it was your money or your property at stake. It's always easier for the faux-progressives like Merrill and the anti-business gang in Lawrence to tell other people what to do with their money. All these people who want to put something out at Tanger: why don't you go buy the location and develop it? Oh right, you don't have the money, do you? You just want to tell other people what to do with their money.

Lowes has forced nothing on Lawrence. They wanted to build at a location and the anti-business environment here denied them permission. As a result, they've decided to abandon their plans to build in Lawrence. That's not cramming. On the contrary, the anti-business agenda - the people who insist Lawrence is too good for a Lowes or that Lawrence doesn't need more jobs and a wider tax base - have crammed their agenda down the throat of Lowes and the silent majority who would likely prefer a wider set of options. Congratulations. Lawrence deserves its reputation.

jafs 7 years, 7 months ago

Lawrence approved a certain zoning for the development that was sought by developers as a condition of purchasing the land, according to what I've read.

Hardly anti-business.

That zoning doesn't allow for such a large building - Lowe's applied for a change of zoning and were denied.

The original decision was made at the request of the developers, who claimed they wanted to create a certain kind of development.

Do you think that the city should simply do whatever any business asks them to do?

independant1 7 years, 7 months ago

Don't know what prompts Lowe's to want that parcel in particular. There are references to their market studies.

But it doesn't really matter, if any buyer has money and wants to spend it a particular way they should go for it.

If refused zoning change, they may be pursuaded by city to change their choice of locations.

The city made a decision, it may not get a new Lowe's unless city offers some incentive for making Lowe's alter their proposal. This could end up more expensive for city to get the new store at alternate location.

kitten 7 years, 7 months ago

Um...back when Lawrence was a city that other communities wanted to emulate, a city that was "on fire," there wasn't a Lowe's, a Gap, an Abercrombie & Fitch, an American Eagle Outfitters, a Pita Pit, a Border's, a Starbucks, a Best Buy, a Target, two Wal-Marts, etc. etc. etc.

It's correct that only a few infrequent sparks remain of what once defined the city. The rest have been buried under the avalanche of corpro-sameness that make Lawrence impossible to differentiate from the zillions of strip-malled, big-boxed cities across the nation.

pizzapete 7 years, 7 months ago

Wow, good point. I remember years ago people coming to Lawrence for the unique mom and pop shops that sold products you couldn't find in other cities like Topeka and Overland Park.

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