Archive for Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Town Talk: Pawn shop set to expand; airport hangar project delayed; a battle between Lawrence and Salina may be looming

January 12, 2011


News and notes from aound town:

A rendering of a proposed expansion of the Jayhawk Pawn & Jewelry store at 1804 W. Sixth Street.

A rendering of a proposed expansion of the Jayhawk Pawn & Jewelry store at 1804 W. Sixth Street.

• Maybe they’re not the Pawn Stars that you see on the popular television program on the History Channel, but business is good at Lawrence’s Jayhawk Pawn & Jewelry, 1804 W. Sixth St. So good, in fact, that the store has plans for a more than $700,000 expansion. The store has received a building permit from the city to essentially double the store’s space.

John Geery, the store’s manager, said business always has been good at the pawn shop, but it has about doubled over the last several years. Now, though, it has gotten to the point the store is becoming too cramped.

“We’ve got merchandise piled up on merchandise,” Geery said. “I’m a big fan of having a lot of stuff to show people, but it has gotten to the point that we need to do something.”

Plans call for the building to expand to the east, with some parking being moved to the back of the building. Construction is scheduled to start this spring.

Once the project is completed, expect the pawn shop to expand its offerings in both guns and jewelry. Geery said business for both has been good.

And yes, Geery says he does often get asked whether the Pawn Stars television show has helped business. He’s not sure whether it has brought new people into the store, but he is confident it has helped people better understand what a pawn shop is. I got a taste for what a pawn shop is back in December of 2008, when I spent a day there and wrote an article about it. I discovered it is a great place for odd stories. I just wished I would have pitched the idea to a TV executive.

• A plan to build more t-hangar space at the Lawrence Municipal Airport has been put into a holding pattern by city commissioners. At their meeting Tuesday evening, commissioners said they wanted more information about whether the project would be financially self-supporting. The city’s Aviation Advisory Board is recommending building 20 new t-hangars at a cost of about $1.3 million, in part because the airport has a waiting list of about 40 pilots who want t-hangar space. At one point in time, it looked like the project would about break even. But city staff’s analysis found that rental revenue from the hangars — even when you take revenue from the 30 t-hangars that exist at the airport today — isn’t enough to cover the costs. For the first 12 years of the project, the city will have to take money from its general bond fund to cover the payments. Overall, the subsidy would be about $1 million over a 12-year period. The project would start repaying the bond fund in its 13th year, and would fully repay the bond fund by year 21. At year 30, the hangars are projected to be about $1.2 million in the black. But in the interim, the subsidy would reduce the city’s ability to do other citywide projects, or would force the city to raise the mill levy to make up the difference.

But members of the Aviation Advisory Board asked city commissioners to take a harder look at the project. They said if the airport can host 20 more planes a year, that there could be a significant boost in taxes that the city collects in fuel sales at the airport. Tom Kern, who is president and CEO of the chamber of commerce and a member of the aviation board, ran an analysis that estimated the city could receive another $100,000 a year in fuel taxes. That could be a game-changer in the financial analysis of the project. City commissioners are expected to receive another report on the project in the coming weeks.

• The issue continues a trend of the city commission trying to figure out how much to invest in the airport. The commission has expressed optimism the airport can spur economic development in the city. Already, the city has spent around $600,000 to extend a city water line to the airport. But in November it scaled back plans for $1.9 million worth of sewer improvements at the airport.

A big question is whether Lawrence-based DAR Corp. still has plans to locate a new facility at the airport. DAR in March 2009 said it was seriously considering the airport for a new engineering and production facility for a prototype aircraft that DAR would be designing for a Chinese company. The project is expected to employ up to 65 engineers, mechanics and other technical positions during its first five years. The average salary would be near $80,000 a year.

But then in January, DAR officials confirmed that Salina also was a strong contender for the project, if the deal with the Chinese materializes.

I talked with Willem Anemaat, president of DAR Corp., today and he said Lawrence is still in the running for the project. But first the deal with the Chinese must get completed. The private Chinese company must get governmental approval to have the design work for the plane done in the U.S. That has been a complicated process as the Chinese government has become more concerned about China’s struggles to engineer many of the projects that get built in China.

But Anemaat said he hopes the project gets a ruling in the next three months. At that point, it becomes a contest between Lawrence and Salina. It sounds like Salina has some issues going for it. The Hawker Beechcraft plant in Salina has been laying off employees, many of which are just the type DAR will be looking for. The Salina airport also is home to a vocational school that trains aircraft workers. But DAR has a close relationship with Kansas University, having been founded by Dr. Jan Roskam, a former distinguished professor in aerospace engineering at KU.

“It primarily comes down to whether we can get the right people in Lawrence,” Anemaat said. “It is going to be a really tough choice for us.”


greenworld 7 years, 1 month ago

Is it really merchandise piled upon top of merchandise or people have pawned off to many xbox's , guns and jewelry?? I wonder how much is ligit and gets ran through the police data base?

puddleglum 7 years, 1 month ago

you mean 'too many'?

I buy stuff from there all the time.
as I understand it, they run everything through the police data base and leads on line. it is a real pawn shop, not a 'yellow house'

ralphralph 7 years, 1 month ago

RE: Pawn Shop - has gotten to the point that we need to do something. Uh ... lower the prices and sell the stuff.

RE: Airport Hangars. applause Did somebody really wonder out loud whether something built at an airport would pay for itself? They have a list of 40 pilots who want PUBLICLY SUBSIDIZED T-hangar space. This is one of those "core function" issues, to me. Do we really need to be subsidizing the facilities for airplanes that are either: (1) toys, which the toy owners can pay for themselves; or (2) business tools, which the businesses can pay for themselves.

The entire airport needs to be "self supporting" and self financing. You wanna fly? Pay for it.

rollcar 7 years, 1 month ago

My experience with this store wasn't a favorable one. I had some merchandise stolen from my home (tools, jewelry, camera equipment, etc) and some of it ended up there. They were very rude and treated me as if I were the criminal! Apparently they had made the thief pawn rather than sell the items, and then told me that I had to wait until the pawn period expired to come in and purchase them, because as far as they were concerned the merchandise belonged to the person who brought them in. Nevermind that I was there with a uniformed officer and a police report. How very generous of them to allow me to buy my own stolen property back! The officer explained to me that while I had the legal right to take them to court to force them to turn over stolen goods, the pawn shops know how to play the game and will frequently "lose" the items before the court date. In fact he told me that if you have any interest in getting something back (like sentimental value), you had better play ball with them right away, because if you come back tomorrow you likely won't get a second chance.

I realize that people have differing experiences and opinions about places like this, but that's mine. They prey on thieves who are desperate to unload stolen goods quickly, and serve people who don't mind buying them.

puddleglum 7 years, 1 month ago

I am very very pretty, and I hate it when ugly things are posted.

your story is not accurate at all. Pawnshops don't prey on thieves one bit.
If you are in bed with thieves, you will end up in prison like, like, like-uh what was the name of that fencing operation on Mass st. that got closed down? I forgot. A repudable pawn shop will do the opposite. In fact, just last week I heard that Jayhawk Pawn suspected a dubious character of wrongdoing and called police (it was on the scanners) I got down there in time to see the police handcuffing and taking away a criminal who was trying to sell stolen jewelry.

They can't "lose" your item before the court date, because the item would be in the possession of the police, so try harder with your story. I'll patiently wait right here for you to concoct further uninformed criticism.

I frequent this store all the time. congratulations on the expansion! They must be doing something right.

rollcar 7 years, 1 month ago

How do you figure my story is not accurate? It happened exactly as I described! I am simply telling you my first hand experience. I have a copy of the police report showing the property as stolen, and I have a copy of the receipt where they made me buy it back. Hard to argue with that.

Regardless of whether the officer was accurate in his unflattering portrayal of the pawn industry, the fact remains that this store purchased stolen property, was informed of it by police, and did not hand it over but told me to come back with cash upon expiration of the pawn to purchase it back.

impska 7 years, 1 month ago

You could probably still file a small claims lawsuit here. You have your police report, you have your police witness, you have your items and your receipt. You could try to get the money back.

Andrew Reeves 7 years, 1 month ago

Couldn't you and the police find out who sold your goods to the pawn shop and try to build a case on that information?

I've never had problems with this establishment. I think Geery and Co. do a fine job!

pizzapete 7 years, 1 month ago

You know the economy is in the sewer when pawn shops are full and need to expand.

puddleglum 7 years, 1 month ago

sounds like someone lost his wedding ring at the ol' pawn shop

kneejerkreaction 7 years, 1 month ago

I guarantee you can buy brand new firearms for about 30% less than what they want at Jayhawk pawnshop. Their other prices seem to be right in line with that retail pricing strategy, way too high. No wonder they have merchandise piled up to the ceiling. Good luck with that expasion.

puddleglum 7 years, 1 month ago

cheaper than cabela's without the annoying 'take a number-wait in line' attitude and without the ridiculous high tax. Cheaper than bullet hole's prices and without the talk-down swat-team-wannabe attitude. they have met or beat every price on a new gun that I have ever purchased. 30% less? show me. A friend of mine just bought a Kimber for $29 less than a dealer on gunbroker and didn't have to pay the transfer fee or shipping-so I would say he got a really good deal. I just bought a 4th gen Glock new for the same price that Cabela's was trying to sell a used one for. its hard being as pretty as me, but don't get all bent out of shape about it.

compmd 7 years, 1 month ago


The sticker prices they have on their used guns aren't that great, but if you know what you're talking about and make them an offer, they'll make a deal. Also, anyone who buys a regular, non-collectors item firearm at Cabela's is absolutely retarded.

Steve Jacob 7 years, 1 month ago

They want to expand without city money, they can charge whatever they want.

puddleglum 7 years, 1 month ago

I'm ready for war with Salina! let's roll!

JackMcKee 7 years, 1 month ago

Notice they aren't asking for TIF or property tax abatements from the city unlike some, ahem, other local businesses. If a business needs to expand/move they will happily pay for it themselves. No welfare for Treanor, Fritzle or Compton!

compmd 7 years, 1 month ago

Come on Mr. Anemaat. How long are you going to lead on the people of Lawrence? You're seriously going to pay 65 people an average of $80,000/year? $26 million just in salary over 5 years? Seriously? I know people who have worked at DAR, and I think that's hilarious.

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