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


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.


Richard Heckler 6 years, 10 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.

George_Braziller 6 years, 10 months ago

They must not have sold as much on Friday as they thought they would. When I went in all the signs said 25% off on Friday and Saturday. Oh well, I still ended up getting two pounds of shrimp for $6.00.

Maddy Griffin 6 years, 10 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.

FlintlockRifle 6 years, 10 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

Jay Keffer 6 years, 10 months ago

Worked there back in the day, for Keith and others. Name that come to mind:

Ron Good David somebody, the one man Gestapo Robert and his sister Bernadette Charles or Charlie The dude who fell down the stairs, got a free ride, but finally quit (dumb) Randy Strickland Terry Grammar (sp) The dude who wore clogs and caught endless grief The Karlins Ashby Moon Bruce Chapin O.C. Smith and all his arch enemies Keith's grandson who married one of the twins (had to) Crazy stock crew Some very nice ladies Many others I can't recall names for One of more of the Potters - I think The undercover cop that caught people every shift even though everyone knew who he was The produce manager with the hair weave and gold tooth The butcher crew who were all cool The guy that killed someone while reaching for a cassette tape in his car - no charges filed Lewellyn (sp) The Aikens - one who lost out on a promotion due to a wrestling match in the breakroom that ended up with a hole in the wall Jeanette Dude that bet everyone he could stuff two bags of chew in his mouth and not puke (lost)

All the wild and wacky customers: Tan Man The opera singer - aka the Stanton Island Ferry The guy that wore the superman glasses and wondered around downtown muttering Some stinky bums The rich guy that wrote all the LTEs and hit on all the checkout girls - nerd Bill, owner of Red Lion

And the activities: Drag racing on the parking lot 3.2 beer Company parties in long forgotten venues Fire that burned down the store Taking the gas off of the whipping cream cans

On and on....

cwatts 6 years, 10 months ago

HomeSlice..thanks for the walk down memory lane..I too worked at this Dillons..late 70s...early 80s...and remember most of what you listed....also when Keith L ran it....

David Lahm Charlie Watts Bruce Anderson Tom Chapin Robert and Linda Trybom Keith's grandson...still happily married to the sister.. Jerry the two bags of chew...BTW..there were other such bets such as downing a 16oz bottle of syurp...lost on both of those bets Larry and Ron Akin The Karlins (Gary, Tom, Karen) The cop..and his secret hiding spots to what/catch shoplifters The stock crews The parties The fire in 1974 that burned down the store (Keith had the melted pennies from the safe) The parking lot activities..usually as the stock crew was leaving late at night ..and all the lawrence icons you listed of that ERA..Tan Man, Bill (where Demspy's is today) and the Red Lion..Statan Island Ferry ..even the whipping cream can..and other cooler stories..

R.I.P. #43...i could not have paid for college without this job...from which i learned and have applied more experience in corporate america in the past 25 years than from my business degree from KU...

Jay Keffer 6 years, 9 months ago

Hey cwatts - I remember you well! Thanks for filling in some of the gaps.

Those were some good times, to be sure. I had forgotten some of the names - Jerry Thurber was a memorable guy. I remember a party where he ran into a brick wall full stream and broke his nose. He used to greet all the customers with 'What's up dog?' and Bruce would just crack up.

There were the parking lot beer fests, and parties around town. Remember one at some apartment complex near campus in the party room. Spinning records, dancing, and a keg or two. A really cute girl who had a long distance boyfriend that Bruce really paid attention to, but no dice. Then the parties out at the house southeast of town, I think everyone that lived there worked at Dillon's at the time. One day -time party that ended up with a broken picnic table jumped on by Randy Smith - who lept off the deck and shattered it. Somebody hurt their back..... Those guys were crazy.

Help me remember one of he night managers - David someone? Dated a woman who worked there, tall, long brunette hair, got married and then divorced later.

Keep the memories coming, that was a great era.

George_Braziller 6 years, 10 months ago

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

socialintelligencecounts 6 years, 10 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.

Reuben Turner 6 years, 10 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.

PrimalScream 6 years, 10 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.

George_Braziller 6 years, 10 months ago

Wow. I never knew that only "old people" needed a pharmacy. I'll be sure to let everyone east of Mass. know that they don't need their birth control pills, antibiotics, or asthma medication. After all, only "old people" need things like that.

hwk4life 6 years, 10 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.

Kurt Kummer 6 years, 10 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.

lunacydetector 6 years, 10 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.

KS 6 years, 10 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.

StirrrThePot 6 years, 10 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.

George_Braziller 6 years, 10 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.

Spangler 6 years, 10 months ago

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

Jean Robart 6 years, 10 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.

matahari 6 years, 10 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

matahari 6 years, 10 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.

cwatts 6 years, 10 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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