Archive for Friday, August 17, 2012

Highly anticipated opening of new Dillons set for Sunday

Workers put the finishing touches on grocery displays Friday at the new Dillons store at 1740 Mass. The store is set to open its doors to the public at 7 a.m. Sunday.

Workers put the finishing touches on grocery displays Friday at the new Dillons store at 1740 Mass. The store is set to open its doors to the public at 7 a.m. Sunday.

August 17, 2012


Dillons sneak peek

Steve Birchfield, manager of Dillons on Massachusetts Street, talks about the new store prior to its grand opening Sunday. Enlarge video

An Dillons employee gets things set for the grand opening of the new store at 1740 Mass.

An Dillons employee gets things set for the grand opening of the new store at 1740 Mass.

The new Dillon's store at 1740 Mass. will have a great array of fresh, local produce.

The new Dillon's store at 1740 Mass. will have a great array of fresh, local produce.

Dillons employee Mike Kutsch helps stock a cold case in the new Dillons, 1710 Mass., on Friday.

Dillons employee Mike Kutsch helps stock a cold case in the new Dillons, 1710 Mass., on Friday.

Dapper Dillons.

As leaders of the grocery store chain work to put the final touches on their new store at 17th and Massachusetts, they wouldn’t mind at all if that becomes the new nickname for what they’re touting as a state-of-the-art city market.

“This is going to be a nice store for any part of town,” said Steve Birchfield, store manager for the multimillion-dollar grocery that opens on Sunday. “We know that our previous store here might have been a little maligned and called Dirty Dillons, but I promise we’re turning that around in a big way.”

Area residents will get a chance to see for themselves as the store opens at 7 a.m. Sunday. Store officials will host several city and area leaders for a ribbon-cutting ceremony at 9 a.m. Sunday.

At a media tour on Friday afternoon, company officials provided a sneak peek at the store. Among the highlights:

• About 10,000 square feet of additional space compared with the 1960s-era store that was razed last year.

• New amenities, including a Starbucks coffee shop, a sandwich grill, a Chinese deli, a sushi bar and an outdoor dining area along Massachusetts Street.

• A dedicated organic food section.

• An expanded pharmacy with a drive-thru off New Hampshire Street.

Store officials will spend most of Sunday’s ribbon cutting — which will include Baby Jay, the Kansas University cheerleaders and free food samples — touting all that is going on at the store. But store leaders also hope shoppers notice what’s not going on at the store, namely most of the building’s overhead lights.

The store has about 50 skylights, and on Friday the store was fully lit with only about 10 percent of the light fixtures turned on. The store is a prototype design when it comes to energy efficiency, and includes special sensors to control its utility bills and coolers with smart chip technology designed to cut down on energy usage.

“This store is 30 percent more efficient on an energy usage per square foot level than the previous store was,” said Scott Rooks, an energy engineer for Dillons. “That ends up being a very significant number for us.”

The store also is aiming to divert from the landfill or incinerator about 90 percent of all the waste the store produces. The store is the first Dillons store in the country to offer single-stream recycling receptacles throughout the store, said Sheila Lowrie, a spokeswoman for the company.

The Lawrence store also will feature unique signs, including pictures of area farmers who have grown food that is sold in the store. Lowrie said it is part of an effort to highlight efforts to stock the store with regional products as much as possible.

“We have definitely heard from our customers that they are looking for more local produce,” Lowrie said.

The green features of the store have Dillons leaders excited because they believe the ideas in the Lawrence store can be transferred over to new stores the company will build in the future. But Birchfield said he thinks customers are going to be most impressed with the wider array of services offered at the store. The old store largely included just a fried chicken counter and salad bar, in addition to the standard grocery features.

“I think the Starbucks is going to be very popular,” Birchfield said.

The store also will include an artisan cheese shop that will offer about 100 cheeses, an olive bar and a large bulk foods section that will include grinders to make your own peanut or almond butter.

The various new departments have boosted employee totals at the store. The store will employ about 200 people, up from about 90 at the old store, Birchfield said.


Abdu Omar 5 years, 10 months ago

But no BANK!! Why? People at Babcock and the surrounding area need to have a bank close by. Why didn't Dillons put in a bank? The need for a bank is very strong as they cannot walk downtown or go other places for their banking needs. Think about that!!!

Lisa Naumann 5 years, 10 months ago

Maybe approaching the bank itself about constructing a branch location near Babcock would be more productive than criticizing Dillons for failing to be all things to all people?

Scott Tichenor 5 years, 10 months ago

Because, well, you know, people in East Lawrence and surrounding neighborhoods don't have any banking needs, no money, etc.

tomatogrower 5 years, 10 months ago

Dillons is an example of how a business should interact with their community. Instead of coming in and saying, we are going to build this, here's the plan, we could care less if you like it, they talked to the community and changed their plans to help give the neighborhood what they wanted. Thanks to Dillons for being a part of a community. And thanks for providing so many jobs. And thanks for making your store more energy efficient. I'm looking forward to shopping there.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 10 months ago

I'd say it was the exact opposite-- the developers and the city commission told the neighbors, this is what we're going to do, deal with it (and BTW, we're going to let you help subsidize it.)

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 10 months ago

They got shut down by HRC on their first design, which prompted a redesign, which HRC (and the neighbors) also rejected. The city commission then overruled HRC. There was no "design, feedback, revisions, feedback, revisions. " It was take it, or leave.

And you're very naive if you think that all the tax subsidies these developments will receive won't have to be made up by other taxpayers, including those in the immediate neighborhood.

jafs 5 years, 10 months ago

What sort of tax subsidies did Dillon's get for this project?

irvan moore 5 years, 10 months ago

dillons made a very substansial investment in our neighborhood and is an anchor that benefits those of us who appreciate it and also benefits those who don't

Glenn Reed 5 years, 10 months ago

Yay! I'm gonna have a grocery store within walking distance again!

Though... I was a bit concerned when they first started the demolition....

irvan moore 5 years, 10 months ago

come to think of it i haven't seen victor for a year or so either

JackMcKee 5 years, 10 months ago

The poor East siders are lucky, Dillons is a vastly superior grocery store to Hyvee. The "rich" West sider's Hyvee on C.P. lacks numerous items after the remodel. It's amazing that they could increase the size of the store, yet decrease the variety of higher end items. Some of them aren't even that exotic. For example, Safflower oil. I use that to fry and for grilling. Is at Hyvee on C.P.? Nope. Dillons has it. Hyvee does have lots of gross olive oil and 50 varieties of canola oil, though. I have to go the Mediterranean Market for Olive Oil. Want sushi rice? Not at Hyvee. Looking for ground buffalo? Nope. Frozen crab legs? Try somewhere else. A decent filet? They have some weird steak "glued" together with blood. Self checkout? Forget it at Hyvee. Hyvee frequently runs out of things and their produce is questionable. If you want ramen noodles, though, Hyvee is your spot. They have about 500 different kinds of beef, shrimp and chicken flavored noodles. You'd think the margins on a $.30 package of ramen noodles would be dwarfed by a decent filet, but I guess if you sell enough ramen it makes sense? Maybe it's just a poorly run store.

JackMcKee 5 years, 10 months ago

In the case of Hyvee on Clinton Parkway, the glass is full. Full of cup-o-ramen.

Topple 5 years, 10 months ago

I'm not a huge fan of the Clinton Parkway Hy-Vee either, but since I moved right down the street from it, it seems silly to drive across town to the 6th street Hy-Vee.

JackMcKee 5 years, 10 months ago

You sound like a typical Ramen lover. Probably stuff your pantry with them every chance you get.

tifosi 5 years, 10 months ago

Look again, Hy-Vee on Clinton Parkway has everything you just said they didn't. I know. Hy-Vee also charges everyone the same price for everything, no card needed. Hy-Vee still believes in service, thus no self-checkouts. Midwest owned and operated as well, Your Dillons dollars go to Ohio.

Jack McEnaney 5 years, 10 months ago

The Dillons Dollars help the entire country. Didn't Forbes just name Kroger the most generous company in the country? Hyvee quality and service are quite inferior to dillons. The best way to change that for hyvee would be to stop disparaging dillons and work on improving their own image.

tifosi 5 years, 10 months ago

Nothing disparaging. I just listed the reasons why I prefer Hy-Vee. I think Dillons/Kroger is a fine grocer and pretty succesful across the nation. Just not for me.

Jean Robart 5 years, 10 months ago

I would rather shop ANY TIME at HyVee as opposed to Dillons. The prices at Dillons are much too high, especially for things like laundry detergent and dishwashing detergent.. I can only occasionally afford Dillons--even for the stuff I would use the loyalty card for.

Lisa Naumann 5 years, 10 months ago

FYI, Ohio is considered a Midwestern state. From Wikipedia: "The region consists of 12 states in the north-central and north-eastern United States: Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota and Wisconsin."

Lisa Naumann 5 years, 10 months ago

According to your logic, traveler12, the only honest press is negative press. On the contrary, a large company that that includes sustainability as a significant aspect of its business model IS newsworthy. The fact that Dillons built its most cutting-edge, waste-conscious, energy-efficient store here, instead of, say, Columbia, Missouri, is actually quite a compliment to the City of Lawrence and its citizens.

chili86103 5 years, 10 months ago

Thank you, Dillons! I worked at the old store for 10 years, over 15 years ago, and enjoyed the clientele it generated. The building needed a remodel years ago, but out of community respect, they held off closing the doors of the nearby renting-businesses. In addition, needing more parking to expand was a big concern. They would have had to buy out local residents to accommodate the city planners, etc. Dillons, you worked your magic and again produced a beautiful, community-minded store. Congratulations and best wishes for your success again on Mass Street. This is a much needed and truly deserved store for such a fine neighborhood and hometown.

chili86103 5 years, 10 months ago

PS - I loved my Dillons! I only wish there was one near my present home! I miss the smell of chicken and great glazed donuts!

lunacydetector 5 years, 10 months ago

it wasn't called 'dirty dillons' because it was old and dirty. it was called 'dirty dillons' because of the unkept clientele that frequented the store. if a person slept in their clothes and didn't bathe, it was another option instead of one of the walmarts.

tomatogrower 5 years, 10 months ago

On the west side of town all the people have those cushy desk jobs, and probably go home to change after work, so they can look wonderful when they go to the grocery store. Working class people on the east side stopping on the way home to grab something for supper are just too dirty for lunacy detector. I mean, that guy is all sweaty, and has concrete on him, ewww. He can't be bothered to shop with the little people.

tifosi 5 years, 10 months ago

Look again at thise prices, I think you will find you are wrong. The new managers at both Hy-Vee's in the last 3 or 4 years know how to be compettive in this town.

Jean Robart 5 years, 10 months ago

HyVee is NOT more expensive than any Dillons. They have better organization, don't sell stuff that isn't wanted, and has much friendlier staff.

Topple 5 years, 10 months ago

Wow, are you serious? Dillons is more expensive than Hy-Vee for pretty much everything minus milk.

mom_of_three 5 years, 10 months ago

Actually, as someone who has shopped both, Hy-vee is higher on some items than Dillons - ALOT higher on some items.

Leslie Swearingen 5 years, 10 months ago

Does anyone remember back in the day when Weavers was right next to Dillions and there was a drug store next. Then Dilions bought both stores and had all that extra space? I thought it was HUGE. It's hard to believe that Weavers was in such a small space.

Terry Sexton 5 years, 10 months ago

Your memory is foggy. That was Calhoun's Department Store next to Dillon's. A really cool dude named Jim Myers was the manager. I knew his kids. Great family & a nice place to shop.

Leslie Swearingen 5 years, 10 months ago

Thank you for the correction. I took my daughter there for all of her clothes when she was five and she is thirty-five now. It was a nice place.

Catalano 5 years, 10 months ago

I hope Sharon shows up at the grand opening. I ran into her a few weeks ago and she's been working at the Dillon's at 6th & Wakarusa as it's much closer to her home and she's decided to stay there. I told her no matter how great the new Dillon's was that it wouldn't be the same without her. She is the best! Hope George comes back, too.

Leslie Swearingen 5 years, 10 months ago

Calhouns. Yep, I been told. I would have sworn it was Weaver's. Was there a hair salon and a drug store in that area?

Stephanie Hull 5 years, 10 months ago

I don't remember the name of the hair salon, but the drugstore was Raney's. Lots of good memories cutting through there on my way home from grade school at Cordley in the 70's.

KUGreenMachine 5 years, 10 months ago

Dillons winning formula: Nice new store... Same crappy service.

classclown 5 years, 10 months ago

Concerning Jack's remarks about self checkouts, I refuse to use them. Part of the price you pay for every single item in the store is meant to pay the wage of someone to check me out at the register.

If I have to do the work myself, then I should get a discount of the price of all the goods I buy but I don't. By using the self checkout, you are paying a business money in order to pay a wage to another person. However the company does not use it to pay a wage to anyone but pockets that money instead.

In essence, those of you that use the self checkout are paying too much for the items you buy..

P.T. Barnum was right.

JackMcKee 5 years, 10 months ago

wrong, it's people like you that make everyone else's groceries more expensive.

Lisa Naumann 5 years, 10 months ago

So your criterion for determining whether or not a company is ethically-run boils down to whether or not it offers self-checkout? LOL! And in what world is Walmart a steward of anything but brazen greed?

The Walmart heirs collectively hold more wealth than the bottom 42% of Americans combined. Per Mother Jones, "Since 2007, Walmart stores have been flooded with millions of folks who've lost their shirts in the housing bust, stock market crash, and stalled job market—people who can no longer afford to buy anything that isn't made in China and sold by someone making close to minimum wage. " Furthermore, "Between 2007 and 2010, the collective wealth of the six richest Waltons rose from $73 billion to $90 billion, while the wealth of the average American declined from $126,000 to $77,000."

But never mind all that, or the foreign sweat-shops fueled by child labor, or the disappearance of local Mom and Pop dry goods stores unable to compete with Walmart's oceans of cheap overpackaged plastic trash. No, it is most certainly the U-scan that will end American democracy as we know it.

Here's a revolutionary idea: Don't like self-checkout? Don't use it.

tomatogrower 5 years, 10 months ago

And yet, this Dillons store is hiring more people. Actually, the store on 23rd street seems to have more people. There is always someone close by to answer questions. Not like in places like WalMart where you can search for days for assistance. (hyperbole alert)

Leslie Swearingen 5 years, 10 months ago

Actually, it is not hyperbole, it is quite true. I use one of those motorized carts and it is so much fun to putt putt down aisle after aisle with no employee in sight Maybe I should bring a bull horn and yell, "attention shopper in aisle....." Might work.

Maddy Griffin 5 years, 10 months ago

Yay!! I no longer have to go through that pitiful little speed trap by Haskell to get to the grocery store!! Now if they could just finish the bridge.

chootspa 5 years, 10 months ago

I'm puzzled why you'd have to go by Haskell to get groceries? Did you shop at a gas station?

lohrewok 5 years, 10 months ago

I love self-checkouts! They are one of the main reasons I will pick Dillions over Hy-vee every time. I seem to always pick a line where I'm waiting so self-checks are often a much quicker option for me.

Leslie Swearingen 5 years, 10 months ago

I prefer the self-checkouts, it makes it so much easier to just walk over and run a few item over the scanner and pay.

Richard Heckler 5 years, 10 months ago

I like the number of new trees......

The skylights have to be cool...

Self serve just about anything eliminates jobs. Simply because one may be employed today is no indication one will be tomorrow. Not in the USA.

Jobs are good for the economy.

Pastor_Bedtime 5 years, 10 months ago

In New Jersey I hear you can't even pump your own gas because it "eliminates jobs." Do you support that here?

mitavanam 5 years, 10 months ago

I'll miss the vibe of the old building but I'm glad Dillons is still on Mass. It was a drag to shop on 23rd.

classclown 5 years, 10 months ago

Just to clarify, my previous post was not an attack against Dillons. Just against self checkouts. Wherever they may be.

I'll shop at Dillons, but I will always use a cashier and get what I pay for. Just as I will at any store that has self checkouts.

brewmaster 5 years, 10 months ago

The opening of the new Dillions store in Lawrence, KS. is so surreal. Its epic!! Its biblical!! It is a defining moment in human history!! Oh, I almost forgot...can we get a mop-up in aisle two for that pickle jar spill.

Alceste 5 years, 10 months ago

frankie8: Does anyone remember back in the day when Weavers was right next to Dillions and there was a drug store next. Then Dilions bought both stores and had all that extra space? I thought it was HUGE. It's hard to believe that Weavers was in such a small space.

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ It was a dry goods store, but not Weavers. Alceste believes it was Calhouns. Too, it was a Rainey's drug store with a great little neighborhood diner like counter "in the back".

Leslie Swearingen 5 years, 10 months ago

Ah, yes, my daughter and I would go to Dilion's then to Calhouns, then to Raineys. We lived just a block or so from there so that made it nice for us. It was 1978-79. Thank you.

colorado 5 years, 10 months ago

We are so fortunate to live in this community. Our downtown is not a blight... Old things are made new and valued. Good job Dillons! The store is beautiful. Unfortunate there has not been investment interest in opening a grocery store in North Lawrence. Very smart for the new dollar store to pop up in that location..but not the same of a full store.

irvan moore 5 years, 10 months ago

just got back from checking out the new store, wow. they did a really nice job, it's a happening, people everywhere, good job dillons, even got to see and visit with oew

Leslie Swearingen 5 years, 10 months ago

Missed that,. now must go back to store, am thinking if I missed that, what else did I miss? Thanks for the heads up.

JackMcKee 5 years, 10 months ago

So the last five times I've purchased avocados at Hyvee on CP they've gone bad in one day. I bought some taters a week ago. They sprouted in days. Whoever said you can find ground buffalo, sushi rice etc at Hyvee is an absolute idiot. You can't. The store does it's best. It has to cater to students living off of $15 per week in grocery money (so they can afford $200 bar tabs), young families living day to day (there's even some section 8 housing on the west side - gasp) , and the stereotypical wealthy west siders. I don't blame the store. I blame the piss poor job of planning that Lawrence has done. Let's just stick stuff randomly all over the place is their mantra. It sucks. Thus the reason that strategy isn't adopted very often.

Lawrence is a silly town run by people that would be the village idiots in most other cities.

Katara 5 years, 10 months ago

You also need to store potatoes in a dark cool place so they last longer and don't spout quickly.

derdair 5 years, 10 months ago

My goodness, you have a bone to pick, don't you? The store is lovely. We East Lawrence residents are thrilled to see this investment in our neighborhood. I attended every public meeting they held and although not every concern was addressed, many were -and after talking to neighbors and friends, I think we are all very pleased with the store, the selection, the attention to environmental impact, and the jobs it created. I'm glad my store is back, I'm glad I can walk to the store again, I'm glad they did this right.

Leslie Swearingen 5 years, 10 months ago

Yep, because you can get food with food stamps and, guess what, deli food!

maybeso 5 years, 10 months ago

Dude, you can certainly use the Dillons card at self-checkout. Calm down.

53girl 5 years, 10 months ago

I went to the Grand Opening...whew! Too many cars trying to park. The lot is much smaller than I thought it would be. But I am so glad it it open again; what a pain in the butt going clear over to 23rd street! One thing I noticed tho, is that the amenities are way too fancy for all of us "poor folk on the East side"! Hahaha

Ralph Gage 5 years, 10 months ago

Wow! Great store. Everyone will want one within walking distance. Mega traffic problems today but heck-- what would you expect? Way to go, Dillons!

colorado 5 years, 10 months ago

One never knows what can happen in life. Divorce,illness, job loss, company failure, crash as in 2008 and many like events before...define rich, define minute your good...the next...not so much..stuff happens

Flap Doodle 5 years, 10 months ago

Self-checkouts are such a convenience that I'd pay more to use them. That way I won't get stuck in line behind some crabby self-righteous duffer buying bad produce.

maybeso 5 years, 10 months ago

Thrilled for East Lawrencians about the new Dapper Dillons. As for me, one word: CHECKERS! Also, when on earth will North Lawrence ever get a grocery store?? Seriously.

Rex Hargis 5 years, 10 months ago

N Lawrence had a grocery store. It was across the street from Johnny's. It was poorly kept up and not very well shopped. I think it closed around '80.

Mike Hatch 5 years, 10 months ago

I mostly shop at HyVee. The main difference is the staff.

If there's ever more than 2 carts at a check-out waiting, managers jump in to open new lanes and start checking customers themselves and/or get others to help out. Doesn't seem to matter what department employees normally work in, when lines start to form, it turns into all hands on deck to prevent long waits.

At Dillon's? The lines can grow halfway down the frozen food aisle and all you get are dirty looks from the employees wandering around or hanging around the "courtesy" desk.

They aren't the cheapest grocery in town, but have some pretty decent specials. And their parking is a lot better than the Dillon's on 23rd and west 6th.

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