Archive for Thursday, August 18, 2011

Town Talk: Iwig Dairy looking to open retail store in Lawrence; Natural Grocers project to reconfigure 23rd Street driveways; that’s not a boat in the Kaw

August 18, 2011

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News and notes from around town:

• More news for my elastic waistband. Homemade ice cream from fresh cream that comes from just up the road sounds fantastic. It also is sounding more and more like the newest business to come onto Lawrence’s retail scene. Tecumseh-based Iwig Family Dairy currently is looking for a space to open a Lawrence retail store. Iwig general manager Collin Billau told me the store would not only sell Iwig’s glass-bottled milk, but also would sell ice cream that it makes at the dairy. Plus, the store would have jams, jellies, salsas, granola, farm-fresh eggs, and in-season produce from farmers around the area. So, in other words, it is kind of like a farmer’s market that is open everyday. Iwig has been selling its milk in Lawrence for several years at local grocery stores. But recently it has been selling milk at the Thursday farmers’ market at Cottin’s Hardware. Seeing Lawrence consumers up close has convinced dairy leaders that Lawrence is definitely their type of town.

“I think our growth could be exponential in Lawrence,” Billau said. “The consumer attitude for this live-local type of philosophy is pretty strong in Lawrence.”

Billau said the company would like to secure a spot by the end of this month so that it could open in the fall. He said that the former Joe’s Bakery location near Ninth and Mississippi is high on their list, but he’s uncertain whether a deal can be struck since the building only is for sale and not for lease. The company also is looking at the 12th and Connecticut area and the 19th and Mass. area. Don’t look for the store, though, in a downtown Massachusetts Street location. Billau said the company has researched the market and found that even though there is much talk about the need for a grocery-oriented downtown business that such a venture is tough to make pencil out.

Iwig — in addition to its on-farm store along Tecumseh Road — has a retail location in Topeka on Gage Boulevard. It has been part of the company’s growth since it started bottling its own milk again in 2004. The dairy has been in the Iwig family since 1910, and it once bottled its own milk in the 1950s and 1960s. But in the early 2000s the dairy made a big bet that consumers were ready to start drinking fresh milk out of old glass bottles again. The dairy started off with white and chocolate milk, but now they also have strawberry, orange cream, cookies and cream, root beer, banana-flavored, raspberry, and a coffee-flavored milk is on the way. I can’t imagine how jumpy those cows get drinking all that coffee.

• The food market business is an active one in Lawrence right now. Of course there are the expansions going on at Dillons and Hy-Vee, but there is also the new project by Natural Grocers. Despite having written about the project a few times, I’m still getting questions about what is being built where the Burger King used to be at 23rd and Naismith. Well, it is a national organic food and vitamin supplement chain called Natural Grocers by Vitamin Cottage. I mention this again to catch people up who have taken a nap during the summer, and also because there’s a little bit of new action at the site. The project has qualified for a state-program to improve traffic flow on 23rd Street by reducing or reconfiguring business driveways along the road. Currently there are three driveways along 23rd Street for the Natural Grocers site and the adjacent Party America site to the west. The new project will require the driveway for the Natural Grocers and the eastern-most driveway for the Party America store to become “three-quarter driveways.” That means the drives will be built in such a way that left-turns onto 23rd Street will be prohibited. Accident data shows that turning movement has been a risky one at that location. The western-most driveway for Party America will continue to allow left-turns onto 23rd Street. That driveway also will be widened to allow it to handle more vehicles under the new configuration. The total project will cost $75,000. Natural Grocers will pay for $25,000. The state will pay for $37,500, and the city will pay for $12,500. If project costs float higher, Natural Grocers will pick up the difference.

A portable toilet rests in the Kansas River near the downtown bridges in August 2011. The toilet presumably came from the adjacent Bowersock construction project.

A portable toilet rests in the Kansas River near the downtown bridges in August 2011. The toilet presumably came from the adjacent Bowersock construction project.

• Speaking of floating, have you seen the newest addition to the Kansas River? Drivers over the Kaw’s Mass. Street bridge in downtown may have noticed a blue box in the water just east of the bridge. No, that’s not new fish habitat. (Definitely throw those fish back.) It is a portable toilet that evidently was being used on the adjacent job site where crews are building a new hydroelectric power plant for the Bowersock Mills & Power Co. The Porta-Potty has been in the river for several days now. Apparently vandals or something caused the Johnny-on-the-Spot to get dumped. We’re assuming there is no Johnny or Ted or Bill inside. No word yet on when it will be removed.

Construction crews work on building the foundation for the new Bowersock power plant on the north bank of the Kansas River in August 2011. That's a backhoe in the bottom of that hole.

Construction crews work on building the foundation for the new Bowersock power plant on the north bank of the Kansas River in August 2011. That's a backhoe in the bottom of that hole.

While I was investigating the Porta-Potty (you don’t want to admit to doing that very often), I did take some pictures of the construction project underway. The Bowersock plant is the largest construction project of the year in the city, at a little more $20 million. It looks it. That is one deep hole they are digging over there. I have a call into Bowersock’s leader so she can give us an update on how the project is coming along.

Comments

pagan_idolator 3 years, 8 months ago

I see it every day when walking to work. Kind of funny but I wish they would fish it out of there.

Kent Fisher 3 years, 8 months ago

It might actually IMPROVE the quality of the river water.

Jonathan Kealing 3 years, 8 months ago

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bill_%26...'s_Excellent_Adventure

I looked for a video clip, but can't find one. I'll keep looking though.

ranger73 3 years, 8 months ago

I thought that was a telephone booth...For all you youngins there used to be public pay telephones that were self enclosed...back in them thar dinosaur days before cell phones when we used to walk up hill in the snow everywhere without shoes.

Steve Jacob 3 years, 8 months ago

Downtown too expensive for a new store owner, big shock.

Steve Jacob 3 years, 8 months ago

How about no left turns into Dunkin' Doughnuts and Wendy's too then. You know how many times a car blocks the left west bound 23ed trying to get into those places during rush hours?

Tony Kisner 3 years, 8 months ago

Valid points but you will agree Burger King was awful.

classclown 3 years, 8 months ago

Bill and Ted used a phone booth, not a toilet.

classclown 3 years, 8 months ago

Although to be fair, I'm always hearing people yacking away on their cell phones while sitting on the can doing their business. So I guess in a way, that makes porta-potties the phone booths of the 21st century.

Therefore, I can see where Chad and Jonathan would have been confused.

Jonathan Kealing 3 years, 8 months ago

Could be that I misinterpreted Chad's remark. I thought it was a Bill and Ted reference; Chad may have been going for something else entirely!

valree 3 years, 8 months ago

Yay for Iwigs! That is awesome!

Does anyone know what is going into the Old Chicago building?

classclown 3 years, 8 months ago

jkealing (Jonathan Kealing) says…

Could be that I misinterpreted Chad's remark. I thought it was a Bill and Ted reference; Chad may have been going for something else entirely!

=============================================

Granted. To me it reads like a Bill and Ted reference, but who knows what was going through his mind at the time. Maybe he was going more for a Tom, Dick, or Harry type of reference.

I guess we'll just have to wait until he pokes his head in here and sees the fuss.

Chad Lawhorn 3 years, 8 months ago

Although I did see Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure in the theater, it was not on my mind at 6:30 this morning. Just my way of saying that I assume there's no — in Bill and Ted's terms — dude in the toilet. Party on, dudes. Chad

classclown 3 years, 8 months ago

valree (anonymous) says…

Yay for Iwigs! That is awesome!

Does anyone know what is going into the Old Chicago building?

===================================

Some place called Saints pub. http://www2.ljworld.com/news/2011/aug...

guess_again 3 years, 8 months ago

Another yea for the Iwigs!

But I do scratch my head a bit on the idea of root beer milk. I guess that would perk up a root beer float though.

Danny Novo 3 years, 8 months ago

Then you haven't had it. You know the part of the root beer float that's left when you eat all the ice cream out of it, at the bottom? The really good stuff? That's what the root beer milk tastes like. They've only had it once at Hy-Vee, but I pine for it.

Casey_Jones 3 years, 8 months ago

"You know the part of the root beer float that's left when you eat all the ice cream out of it, at the bottom? The really good stuff?"

Oh gross, people like that? I was just about to comment that it sounds like the end of a root beer float after you don't want to drink anymore. The BEST way to enjoy a root beer float is when the ice cream and rootbeer are as cold as possible and it freezes into a crunchy shell over the ice cream.

Maybe we should get root beer floats together and you can drink my leftovers. haha

guess_again 3 years, 8 months ago

I want some frosted A&W mugs.....waaaaaaaa.

Chad Lawhorn 3 years, 8 months ago

Sorry about that. I posted this on the Bella Sera article but not here:

UPDATE: I covered the auction this morning. It sold to the bank (M&I), but not for the amount owed on the loan. It sold for $2.75 million. Normally, the opening bid on a foreclosure is what's left unpaid on the mortgage. But in today's world, I guess that is not always the case. I talked with the attorney for the bank and she said operations at the condo complex would continue as normal. She said the bank would be looking to take offers on the property. There were many Lawrence developers in the crowd this morning, but none bid. The bank's bid was the only bid. The bank certainly interested in selling the whole property in one deal, but It sounded like the bank may entertain offers from individuals who want to buy a single condo unit. Thanks, Chad

Steve Jacob 3 years, 8 months ago

I guess if you want a deal on a place, buy now. I don't think any bank wants that on the books for years.

nomorebush 3 years, 8 months ago

Saturday a toilet was on the bridge for the deck crew.

Dave McClain 3 years, 8 months ago

Bill or Ted......What, no Bob jokes here???

Curtis Lange 3 years, 8 months ago

Would prefer for Lawrence to see Shatto milk over Iwig.

rugbydog 3 years, 8 months ago

Hey, why not support a local business? Shatto is in Missouri. Local farmers, as well as any other businesses, need all the support they can get.

schula 3 years, 8 months ago

Have you had Iwig chocolate milk? It is awesome -- tastes just like melted chocolate ice cream.

Scruggsy 3 years, 8 months ago

It's the new Brownback Brown Trout Sanctuary of Brownbackistan...

Rae Hudspeth 3 years, 8 months ago

Left turns on 23rd are only a problem when drivers don't know how to use turn lanes.

And in my observations in town, the majority of drivers here do not. They'll wait til both ways are clear to go all the way across instead of using the blasted turn lane in the middle.

"http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-_8W78kKyIfo/TbiXmdLt9gI/AAAAAAAAAbk/dfXuB55_6Ec/s1600/59a_confusing_road_signs.jpg"

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