Advertisement

Archive for Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Town Talk: Former Gaslight spot in N. Lawrence to get new life, and bikes for rent; Wall St. Journal speculates Knology looking for buyer; former Rod’s Hallmark going out of business

February 29, 2012

Advertisement

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:

• The trio of burgers, billiards and beer always has been high on my list of favorite tavern-like items beginning with ‘B.’ But how about brie, bikes and beer? A new North Lawrence business is set to give it a try.

Craig Nowatzke — who for years ran a street cart hot dog stand at Ninth and Mass. streets — is set to open Gaslight Gardens at 317 N. Second St. in the little stone building just south of Johnny’s Tavern.

The business is going for a European beer garden theme, with a twist. The establishment also will rent bicycles by the hour for folks who want to ride along the adjacent Kansas River levee trail, or perhaps even take the bikes into Downtown Lawrence. As for the brie, well, the tavern won’t have a grill, so Nowatzke plans to serve some meats and cheeses and baguette sandwiches.

Nowatzke is a North Lawrence resident and a big fan of the levee trail system. He also said he’s a big fan of beer and patios.

“I have taken a couple of trips to Europe, and it is all about small places and outdoor patios,” Nowatzke said. “I realized that’s really my style too.”

The Gaslight space — the name derives from the Gaslight Tavern, a counterculture icon that existed on Mount Oread in the ’60s and ’70s — is notoriously small. The legal occupancy of the space is 39, but you all would have to be really good friends to get that many in the room. Nowatzke said 25 is a more reasonable number, but he said the revamped patio area will easily hold 40 people.

The new “biker” bar, though, will mean an end to Nowatzke’s days of running the corner hot dog stand. Nowatzke over the years became a bit of a downtown fixture. Nowatzke, who uses a wheelchair, would draw quite a bit of attention as he would set up his Sun Dog hot dog stand, and I can attest he had quite a following. I spent one very hot day with him in June 2009. It still makes my Top 5 list of articles I’ve most enjoyed. Nowatzke said he is looking to sell the stand, and hopes somebody will keep the corner business going.

As for Gaslight Gardens, he said he plans to have a grand opening on St. Patrick’s Day weekend. Just so you know, I’ll do green beer, but I won’t do green cheese. Well, if I had enough green beer, I might.

• It looks like it may be time to keep an eye on Lawrence’s largest cable television provider. The Wall Street Journal — citing sources familiar with the situation — reported Tuesday that Knology had hired a financial adviser and is looking to be acquired.

For those of you who don’t remember, Knology is the company that purchased Sunflower Broadband from the Lawrence-based The World Company — the owner of this Web site and the Journal-World — in October 2010.

The Journal report didn’t include much speculation on potential buyers of Knology, and Knology officials did not respond to the Journal’s request for comment. But the article did raise the possibility that a buyer won’t be a cable company at all. The report noted private equity firms are enamored with cable companies because of their monthly cash flows.

Knology — based just outside of Atlanta — has about 800,000 subscribers in Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Florida and Kansas. Interestingly, the company has more customers who subscribe to its phone service, about 277,000, than it has for its video or Internet services.

The share price for Knology jumped about 10 percent on Tuesday after word of a possible deal surfaced. The Journal speculated the company could sell for about $1.5 billion.

Or, of course, it may not sell at all. But it is something to keep an eye on.

• There is news of another business shakeup, this one much more certain. Rod’s Card & Gift — for years it was Rod’s Hallmark — is closing. The business at 2329 Iowa St. began a going-out-of-business sale today. My understanding is all merchandise is 25 percent off.

Rod’s parted ways with Hallmark in June, ending a run spanning many decades with the Kansas City greeting card giant. A message on the store’s answering machine said the store was closing because its owners had decided to retire after 48 years in business. The manager of the store told me via e-mail that a closing date for the store hasn’t yet been set. I’ll also keep my ears open for news of any tenants that may be filling that space, which is in the shopping center just south of 23rd and Iowa streets.

In today’s high-tech world, the greeting card business is an odd one. But who would have thought even 10 years ago that Lawrence — which is home to one of Hallmark’s larger card manufacturing plants in the country — wouldn’t have a Hallmark-branded store?

Comments

Steven Gaudreau 2 years, 1 month ago

Are the police going to set up sobriety check points on the bike path?

0

Cindy Wallace 2 years, 1 month ago

Hey Chad! Sounds Great!! Although I have not yet read all of the post's; the first thought coming to my mind is 'why not use your street cart and still sell hot dogs?' What better end to a good bike ride than to have a good cold beer and dog?

Hope you consider it....best of luck to you!

0

Lee Eldridge 2 years, 1 month ago

I've been very pleased with Sunflower / Knology over the years. We work from home and rely on our phone service AND internet service. Never a problem with the phone lines. And the internet speed rivals just about any service in the country. Have had a few issues with the multi-room DVR service, but they've always been very responsive and professional about getting a tech out to help.

And your pin number is right on your bill.

0

ChootemLiz 2 years, 1 month ago

I wouldn't say nobody cares. I would consider myself a regular customer and Rod's had a lot more than cards and a lot of things other than Hallmark stuff. I will miss the store and the people there. It is certainly sad to see more businesses closing in Lawrence.

0

ChootemLiz 2 years, 1 month ago

I wouldn't say nobody cares. I would consider myself a regular customer and Rod's had a lot more than cards and a lot of things other than Hallmark stuff. I will miss the store and the people there. It is certainly sad to see more businesses closing in Lawrence.

0

Curtis Lange 2 years, 1 month ago

Welp. Called the Rod's closing bit right after they stopped selling Hallmark stuff. No Hallmark cards = nobody cares about the store.

0

blue73harley 2 years, 1 month ago

The ONLY reason I switched from Direct TV to Sunflower/Knology was to get cable internet and get rid of dial-up. ATT is not available where I live. I really liked Direct TV service. And to get Hughesnet internet = big$$$$.

0

blindrabbit 2 years, 1 month ago

someodynew and fanofKU: Regarding your comments about DirecTV: Are you in an area not served by cable like usins!

0

demonfury 2 years, 1 month ago

Lawrence is in serious decline people. Knology has lost hundreds of customers thru foreclosures, people who have moved away, and those who have converted to other cheaper forms of entertainment or simply cannot afford TV. Their service is ok, but their pricing is outrageous. We'll see more and more businesses close up shop as the disposable $$$ in Lawrence isn't anywhere near what it used to be. Old Navy, Sears, Rod's, Obsessions, and a whole host of others have already closed or announced closings. It'll get worse before it gets better. The liberal media wants to paint a rosy picture of the economic recovery so as to sway opinion towards Obama coming into the election months. To get the truth out of the media is nearly impossible, and to get it from a politician is impossible. However, you get it when you see the reality of it right here at home. I just hope people are smart enough to know that, but I'm not holding my breath.

0

Kelly Anderson 2 years, 1 month ago

Chad please find out why the store Obsessions closed so suddenly. I was just shopping there and they were talking about all the new springs stuff in the back they were getting ready to put out!!! I loved that store. They are already scraping the name of the front glass. What gives???

0

Richard Heckler 2 years, 1 month ago

Give up TV per se and start renting flcks.

0

ladybug1 2 years, 1 month ago

What I dislike about Knology is trying to even talk to a customer service rep. You have to go through all of the computer prompts and then have a pin number and all of this other info. How did Sunflower operate without us having to give a PIN number? I haven't been too impressed with Knology.

0

blindrabbit 2 years, 1 month ago

We've had DirecTV for 6 years (out in the country, in area not serviced by cable), we had HughesNet before. I consider the service very good, have had some outages, but customer service responds very quickly. They have several levels of service, but we do not use for movies. The dish size has decreased and so it is not objectionable.

0

4chewnut 2 years, 1 month ago

Anyone have experience with Direct TV? Good ? Bad ?

0

Gotland 2 years, 1 month ago

Chad,

You should post Craigs phone number for anyone interested in buying the hotdog cart.

0

Gotland 2 years, 1 month ago

Chad,

You should post Craigs phone number for anyone interested in buying the hotdog cart.

0

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 2 years, 1 month ago

"The report noted private equity firms are enamored with cable companies because of their monthly cash flows."

If you think customer service is bad now---

0

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 2 years, 1 month ago

Looking forward to the reopening of the gaslight, and no one better to do it than Craig.

0

somedude20 2 years, 1 month ago

Congrats Craig. I wonder if Craig has thought about using his cart there to sell a more expanded menu. I have seen many a people stuff their faces with Craig's wieners and meatballs

0

Paul Geisler 2 years, 1 month ago

I'm SO excited about Gaslight Gardens! I've known Craig since my years at KU and my wife grew up with him in KC! He truly is one of the nicest guys around and his positive attitude is an inspiration to many! I'm really looking forward to enjoying a cold brew at Gaslight Gardens after a bike ride along the levee trail! And with a grand opening scheduled for St. Patty's day that is going to be one hell of a way to get started! Yeeeehaw!

0

Bursting 2 years, 1 month ago

The time can't come soon enough. Cox, Time Warner, and Comcast are all cheaper than knology! I tell people from KC my combined cable/internet bill from Knology and their jaw drops.

0

Brian Hall 2 years, 1 month ago

And thus begins Sunflower Broadband's long journey into being bought and sold every two to five years before eventually succumbing to a broadband giant like Cox, Time Warner or Comcast.

0

roosmom 2 years, 1 month ago

I love the new Gaslight concept. I wish Chad the best and hope to be a regular.

0

Commenting has been disabled for this item.