News and notes from around town:
• In today’s economy, used merchandise is becoming more sought after merchandise. A used appliance and merchandise shop called 2nd Time Around has opened at 500 E. 23rd St. in the location formerly occupied by Pro Sound.
The store focuses on used appliances and electronics, but also has the hallmark of used merchandise stores in a university town — guitars from college students who realized they weren’t Jimi Hendrix after all.
Store manager Candy Campbell said the business will focus more on the appliances. The 3,000-square-foot store has a shop where many of the used items are refurbished before they are sold, Campbell said. Campbell said that the store will buy merchandise from the public, but that the store is not operating as a pawn shop — in other words, it won't give you a loan on merchandise you bring in.
The business, which has two employees, is open from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturdays.
• The opening of 2nd Time Around coincides with the closing of the Yellow House, the longtime used merchandise store at 19th and Massachusetts streets whose owners have been in the news for all the wrong reasons.
When I interviewed the manager of 2nd Time Around on Tuesday afternoon, I asked her if the store was in any way associated with the former Yellow House. She said it wasn’t.
“The only association we have with them is we bought some of their leftover inventory, but there really was very little they could sell to us,” Campbell said.
But then on Wednesday morning, I checked out a sign I had seen hanging on the Yellow House store. It said the store moved to 500 E. 23rd St. and now was operating under the name 2nd Time Around. So, at this moment, I’m not sure what is going on — other than somebody’s marketing plan isn’t in synch. I’ll let you know if I find out more details.
Also, there was one other interesting sign in the window at the Yellow House given the legal entanglements of its owners. It reads: “When the world says give up, hope whispers ‘try it one more time.’”
UPDATE: I called Campbell back Wednesday morning and she stood by her statement that 2nd Time Around had no affiliation with the Yellow House. She said the owners of the Yellow House allowed the sign to be placed in the store’s window as a favor. The sign, which is titled in capital letters “WE’VE MOVED” shouldn’t be interpreted to mean that the Yellow House has any involvement in the new store. I asked Campbell, who is a manager of the new store, who the owners of 2nd Time Around are. She declined to comment. A search of records at the Kansas Secretary of State didn’t provide any information about who the owners of the business may be. According to Douglas County records, the building is owned by former Lawrence nightclub owner Dennis Steffes, who was in the news frequently when he owned the Last Call in Downtown Lawrence. I don’t know whether Steffes is involved in the ownership of the business.
• Mystery also surrounds the Shell gasoline station at 1733 Mass. The store is closed, but a sign on the door says only temporarily. The signs lists a contact of Sammi, but when I reached Sammi he said he couldn’t talk about the situation until he had further discussions with Shell representatives. He did say he hopes to reopen the store “very soon.”
Sammi wouldn’t give his last name, but the station did get a little bit of press from the Journal-World back in April when owner Sammi Sangam started selling homemade Indian food out of the store in an effort to boost sales. He called the idea “Curry in a Hurry.”
What is certain about the business right now is that its sign that is advertising $2.95 per gallon gasoline is attracting a lot of attention. In the approximately one minute that I was at the store Wednesday morning, two vehicles pulled up to the pumps, only to be disappointed.
• Keep an eye out for new announcements from the Bioscience and Technology Business Center at KU. Matt McClorey, director of the center, told a crowd of business leaders recently that a Fortune 500 agricultural products company is seriously considering locating a small-scale biomass pilot laboratory in the center. McClorey didn’t reveal the name of the company, but said it was attracted to KU research on biomass.
“This company sees the opportunity in the future that your water bottles, your shampoo bottles, those sorts of items are going to be made with biomass,” McClorey said.
McClorey also said an Indian pharmaceutical company is considering taking space in the facility. The company, which was not named, is doing collaborative research with KU.
With the pace that space is being filled at the center, expect a discussion this year about planning for an expansion at the facility.