Archive for Monday, February 6, 2012

Town Talk: Headmasters moves out of downtown; community orchard, other gardens planned on city land; Del Monte expanding dog food plant

February 6, 2012


Subscribe to the Town Talk email edition

Subscribe to the email edition of Town Talk and we'll deliver you the latest city news and notes every weekday at noon.

News and notes from around town:

• A longtime downtown business has headed west. Headmasters indeed has moved its salon business out of the old multi-story building at 809 Vermont St. The company has moved into significantly smaller space at 1410 Kasold Drive in the Orchards Corner shopping center. The move ends 38 years of Headmasters operating in downtown.

“It is just time for different things,” said Patrick Toal, an employee and spokesman for the salon. “We’re going in different directions. The location is more central, parking is free, and the building is just one level.”

The business is keeping its designation as an Aveda salon. The business also continues to be owned by Micki Colgan. No word yet on whether a new tenant has been found for the Vermont Street building, which is owned by landlord Jim Grimes.

• If you are like my wife, you’ve been known to get into some fisticuffs in the fruit aisle of the grocery. (She doesn’t really like fruit that much, but she does like to ram people’s grocery carts.) Well, there may be a new option in the future. A community fruit tree orchard is being planned along the Burroughs Creek Trail in East Lawrence. The idea is part of the city and county’s Common Ground farming program that we reported on several weeks ago.

The program involves allowing individuals or organizations to grow crops on publicly owned land that is currently not being used for much. An advisory board recently has recommended that the city approve four projects for the program’s first year. They are:

  1. A community orchard by Skyler Adamson and the Lawrence Fruit Tree project. The site will be near 13th and Garfield streets in East Lawrence. According to the application, the orchard will be open for picking by all community members. The Lawrence Fruit Tree project also will hosts frequent workshops at the site to teach community members about fruit production.
  2. A children’s community garden at John Taylor Park at 200 N. Seventh St. in North Lawrence. The garden is proposed by Justina Gonzalez, and it will be operated in partnership with the nearby Ballard Center.
  3. A neighborhood garden at 1304 and 1315 Pennsylvania St. The garden will be run by Michael Morley and the Sustainability Action Network. The project will include frequent classes on gardening and food preservation.
  4. A larger scale farming operation near the Kansas River levee at Eighth and Oak streets in North Lawrence. The project will be run by Johnson County Community College’s Sustainable Agriculture Program. JCCC officials are working with the Community Mercantile’s Education Foundation to supply food grown at the site to Lawrence public schools.

City commissioners at their Tuesday evening meeting are expected to direct staff members to begin negotiating formal agreements that will allow each of the groups to use the city land as part of a low-cost lease.

Originally organizers of the Common Ground program had envisioned a larger program. The group identified 14 sites across the city and several in rural Douglas County that they said were eligible for the program. But upon further review, several of those sites were deemed to be more difficult to farm than originally expected. The program did attract applications from 14 different community members or organizations. The group said it wants to look at ways to expand the program to other sites in future years.

• If fruit is not your thing, maybe Kibbles ‘n Bits is more your speed. Believe it or not, Kibbles ‘n Bits dog food may be the Lawrence product that reaches more households than other — even more than Kansas basketball. My understanding is that the Lawrence Del Monte plant at 727 N. Iowa St. is the main production center (I think only production center) for Kibbles ‘n Bits dog food. Well, there are signs that the Kibble business is good.

Del Monte has filed a site plan to add 3,000 square feet onto the 250,000-square-foot plant. My understanding is that the addition won’t create many new jobs, but rather will allow the company to install some additional packaging equipment. What I’ve heard is that the company is working to make the packaging for the dog food more environmentally friendly. But that is all unconfirmed.

A spokesperson at Del Monte hasn’t returned my calls for several days. Who would have thought the dog food business is so secretive. Maybe they’re afraid we’ll actually figure out what the heck Kibble is.


d_prowess 6 years, 3 months ago

Chad, if my memory is correct, the Del Monte plant used to be the sole producer of Kibbles n Bits but a few years ago the company had a risk assessment and decided that they had to develop a production line for this product somewhere else in case something catastrophic ever happened to that facility (fire, tornado, ect.). Obviously they felt the world could not handle a Kibbles n Bits shortage so the Lawrence plant is not the only producer anymore.

EJ Mulligan 6 years, 3 months ago

Love, love all the community garden proposals. I especially love that the JCCC garden would supply the schools.

But, they are working with the Merc to get the food to the schools -- nevermind that the gardens the Merc oversees (West Middle School, for one) don't even supply the school cafeterias where they are grown. There is something very wrong with that.

flipbackseamonster 6 years, 3 months ago

That's not true, produce from West Middle School is in their cafeteria.

"Last year, the Growing Food, Growing Health garden crew harvested 2,360 pounds of produce and 560 pounds of it went into the school’s cafeteria. The students also sold $3,823 worth of produce which went back into the project."

cozborn 6 years, 3 months ago

who is going to trim the fruit trees so they fruit properly, also will this program still be around when the trees finally fruit?

Commenting has been disabled for this item.