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Archive for Sunday, August 14, 2011

Everything must go: Longtime employees help close down Dillons

Shoppers were taking advantage of the last day them Dillons store to be open in the 1800 block of Massachusetts on Saturday August 13, 2011 as the store was offering items up to 50 per cent off before the store closed at 6:00 p.m making room for a new store to be built.

August 14, 2011

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Megan Allred and her son Wyatt, both of Lawrence, were among the many shoppers hitting the aisles at Dillons, at 1740 Mass., which was closing on Saturday to make way for a new Dillons store at the same location.

Megan Allred and her son Wyatt, both of Lawrence, were among the many shoppers hitting the aisles at Dillons, at 1740 Mass., which was closing on Saturday to make way for a new Dillons store at the same location.

Bakers at Dillons since 1980, Julie Sutheimer, left, and Karen Strickland worked their last day at Dillons at 1740 Mass. Both bakers have jobs at other Dillons stores.

Bakers at Dillons since 1980, Julie Sutheimer, left, and Karen Strickland worked their last day at Dillons at 1740 Mass. Both bakers have jobs at other Dillons stores.

For some, Saturday’s closing of the Dillons at 1740 Mass. meant discounted ice cream and TV dinners. For others, it meant saying goodbye to familiar faces.

Two 30-year employees of Dillons said they were sorry to go, and hoped they would be able to return to work at the location when it reopens next year.

“We started together and we’re closing it down together,” said Julie Sutheimer, who began working in the bakery department in 1980.

Her friend Karen Strickland had been working in the bakery since 1979.

The pair went to same high school, have children who are close in age, but now will be parting ways. One will be going to a store in Topeka, the other going to the Dillons at Sixth Street and Wakarusa Drive.

“We have built great relationships with customers, and it’s hard to say goodbye,” said Sutheimer.

One of those customers walked over to the women and thanked them for their service. It was a common occurrence throughout the store Saturday, as customers asked employees where they would go, and if they would come back when the store reopened.

District Manager Kim Svoboda was in from Topeka to mark the store’s last day.

“This is the only time you’d see one of our stores looking like this,” she said, noting the half-empty shelves growing more disorganized as customers picked through them.

Packing up an entire store takes a lot of work, but Svoboda has done it before. Inventory and equipment will be moved to different locations throughout the company. The store’s oven is going to Eldon, Mo. Wichita is getting its rotisserie. Canned goods and other items will go to area stores.

But frozen foods and other perishable items would not be sent out, thus discount prices. By 9:30 a.m., they were going for half off.

“I’m going to stock up so I don’t need anything until the new store opens,” joked Mary Gray, who had been shopping at that location for 30 years.

Gray will have to a wait a while to shop at her favorite location again. The company said the new store, first proposed in November, should take from 10 to 12 months to complete.

According to its plans, the new store will be 43,000 square feet, 10,000 square feet larger than the current store. That extra space will be used to put in a Starbucks, spacious organic food and deli sections, and a drive-thru pharmacy.

“I’m sad, but it’s going to be nice,” said Gray, who has been shopping there since the store opened. “They deserve it.”

In the meantime, Dillons has set up a temporary pharmacy at the corner of 19th and Massachusetts streets to continue serving customers until the new store is ready.

Comments

cwatts 2 years, 8 months ago

R.I.P #43..and thanks for funding at least one college education...and an experience in customer service more valuable in my 25 years in corporate america than my business degree from KU..

If you worked there in the late 70s or early 80s...let me know..

Thanks HomeSlice for the walk down memory lane..I recall the people and events listed..both at Dillons and in Lawrence during this time...also worked for Keith L

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matahari 2 years, 8 months ago

Oh yea, I went in Thursday and Friday looking for deals....nothing. They didn't even have "my milk" no salad bar, nothing. So all of east Lawrence folks who don't own cars will have a three hour reverse round trip on the bus....great, forget about ice cream. Wonderful. I am pretty upset about everything/body moving to the west side of town...but after all they get the "good water" and deserve better than the east siders.

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matahari 2 years, 8 months ago

It was the best one of all because you didn't have to walk miles and miles! i could get in and out in 20 minutes. I must have asked 20 employees where I should shop now? Not one of them suggested one of the "other Dillons stores" In fact I got no suggestions at all. So instead of twice a week shopping, since this is my hood it will be Checkers for perishable, and Aldi once a month for canned stuff and staple...and for what? another 10,000 feet and a Starbucks. Oh boy! Maybe I'll try and live on rice and beans from that trendy"healthy food store" that is somewhere downtown. Where I don't know, but I am sure not going to pay $5 a lb for pea/nut butter

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Daffy 2 years, 8 months ago

I won't shop at big corporate businesses. They steal money from the middle class. Lawrence should have not let them build there. A dog park or a hacky sack game area would have been better.

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Jean Robart 2 years, 8 months ago

I did not like shopping at the Mass St Dillons for a couple of reasons. It felt dirty and neglected(though the employees there were good). And Dillon's is just too expensive to shop at for anything but card specials.

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Spangler 2 years, 8 months ago

I thought they didn't allow cameras in the store.

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Andini 2 years, 8 months ago

From now on I will be calling the 6th & Lawrence Avenue location "Dirty Dillons".

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George_Braziller 2 years, 8 months ago

I think it will probably take longer than originally planned. This morning I asked one of the near-by business owners if he had heard when demolition would begin. He was told it would be at least two months because that was the estimate for how long it would take to do the asbestos abatement.

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StirrrThePot 2 years, 8 months ago

I love running over there on my way home from picking up the kiddos because it was on the way. I'll miss it, but am looking forward to the new store.

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KS 2 years, 8 months ago

This is just a speed bump in the road of life. It will be back and better. This ultimately will be great for Lawrence. The time will go fast.

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lunacydetector 2 years, 8 months ago

it wasn't until november 5 when they publicly made the annoucement, but they were already in discussions with the city.,,,,,so, go back into october at least of last year. october, november, december, january, february, march, april, may, june, july, august.....11 months before they could tear down and rebuild on their own property.

9 months longer best case scenario than most towns. nice job lawrence. we're so special. keep that bad to business reputation alive.

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kurtkummer 2 years, 8 months ago

I remember my Mom shopping at Dillon's back in 1961-62, The live lobster tank, the little cartoon theater for us kids to watch 'Felix the Cat' or something while our Moms shopped. Good stuff.

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hwk4life 2 years, 8 months ago

Will miss this store, they had the best sea food/catfish at a super discounted price. Grocery shopping will never be the same, so long my friends.

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Multidisciplinary 2 years, 8 months ago

HomeSlice, That was so true, so Lawrence.. Bravo.

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PrimalScream 2 years, 8 months ago

So an entire store will be closed for a year, but the pharmacy will be available? As long as the drugs can be sold, damn everything else?
Please don't respond post with anything about the old people in the area needing their prescriptions. Just like the Hyvee remodel, the first thing done was the drive thru for the pharmacy.
Drugs, drugs, drugs.

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cletus26 2 years, 8 months ago

I thought the store was kind of ghetto. i didn't like shopping at that location at all. hopefully a new look will and the closing time will cause some of the old panhandlers and such to hang out somewhere else. and maybe i will try shopping when it reopens.

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bobberboy 2 years, 8 months ago

great chance for Dillons to let alot of long time employees go and hire new ones in a year at lower salaries. Thanks Dillons.

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socialintelligencecounts 2 years, 8 months ago

I'll miss the store. Glad I skipped the last-minute sales though. Don't need that madness. My freezer is pretty full anyway.Thanks for your great service--appreciate that the store wasn't too much a haven for busybodies compared to many places in Lawrence. Loved the salad bar and great customer service from Sharon ,Howard, and George.

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George_Braziller 2 years, 8 months ago

Anyone know demolition of the building is scheduled to begin? I want to be there with my camera.

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FlintlockRifle 2 years, 8 months ago

I remember when Mr. Keith Lucus openen this store as the manager, wow where has time gone. Also I can recall when Karen was just a little kid in our old area of town, fun times, thanks

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grammaddy 2 years, 8 months ago

Went in for milk. There were more customers than groceries in there. Got some REALLY good deals. Can't wait to shop in the new store.

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Richard Heckler 2 years, 8 months ago

We went in for toilet paper only to realize the frozen and dairy were going for 75% discount. Shopping for our Mother is usually what takes us to Dillons but 75% off in their Natural Foods frozen and dairy definitely caught our eye. Most items down to $1.50 or less. Our savings according to Dillons pricing came in at $226.00. Not too bad to the point it was almost fun.

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