LJWorld.com weblogs Town Talk

Two convenience stores coming to downtown Lawrence


Here’s a tip for you: Make sure your stock portfolio includes plenty of exposure to cheap snack food and elastic waist bands. I may be providing a serious boost to both products.

There are at least two efforts underway to bring a full-fledged convenience store — minus the gasoline — to downtown Lawrence.

The largest effort comes from Scott Zaremba, an owner of the Lawrence-based Zarco convenience store chain. As we reported last week, Zaremba and his partners are opening up a Sandbar Sub shop at 745 New Hampshire, the former spot of the Mirth Cafe.

But Zaremba has confirmed to me it will be much more than a sandwich shop. Zaremba plans to use the approximately 3,500 square foot space to create what he calls a “24-hour destination for downtown.” There will be restaurant food — the sub sandwiches and the Sandbar’s hot breakfast menu will lead the way — but there also will be all the items you would expect to find at a Zarco convenience store. That means fountain drinks, basic grocery items, bottles of Advil (not that you would ever need one of those at work), and . . . well, this is going to get really long if I list everything a convenience store sells.

It won’t be the full-fledged grocery store that many downtown leaders have been clamoring for, but it seems like it will be a significant step in that direction. Zaremba said he sees a need to provide convenience items to the growing number of people who are living downtown. Plus, he said he thinks the large number of office workers in downtown will appreciate the store too.

“Really, where can you go downtown and just get a fountain drink and get in and out without standing in a large food line?” Zaremba said.

Another feature not often found in downtown: The store will be open 24 hours a day. Zaremba said he hopes to have the business up and running before Aug. 10. That’s the date of the anniversary party for The Sandbar — the downtown tavern, not the sub shop. Longtime Sandbar leader Peach Madl is a partner in the Sandbar Sub Shop chain.

Last week we also reported that Peoples Bank was going to have a presence at the location. I haven’t yet had heard back from Peoples officials, but Zaremba confirmed the bank will have a quick service banking operation inside the Sandbar business, which Zaremba said he will brand as Sandbar World Headquarters.

But I mentioned there are two efforts underway to bring convenience items to downtown. The other one is smaller but already underway. Tobacco Bazaar has moved from its location at 19th and Massachusetts to 14 E. Eighth Street in downtown. In addition to selling all sorts of cigarette, tobacco and pipe items, the store also sells an assortment of convenience items. That includes candy, sodas and energy drinks, batteries, and — wait for it — beef jerky. To top it off, the business is setting up a chip section too.

Beef jerky and Doritos in one location, and just steps away from my office: Perhaps now you understand why I’m in the market for an elastic waistband.

In case you're trying to picture where 14 E. Eighth Street is in downtown, it's basically right around the corner from the old Mirth Cafe location. So, these two businesses will be neighbors. It will be interesting to watch how that plays out.

Tobacco Bazaar currently is open from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. on most days, except it is open to 11 p.m. on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays.

There is one question unanswered about the two businesses: Will either have slushies? My waistband was afraid to ask.


pagan_idolator 5 years, 1 month ago

Sandbar Subs has the absolute best chicken salad I have ever eaten.

flloyd 5 years, 1 month ago

Why would you want to eat a chicken?

workinghard 5 years, 1 month ago

It has always bugged me that almost all businesses that have slushies do not have a sugar free one. There was one convenience store in Olathe that had them but I have never seen another place with them. Maybe Sandbar sub shop people will see this and think about it. If anyone knows of a place in Lawrence that has them, please tell us where. When my car's air conditioning broke in the middle of summer, slushies was the only thing that saved me.

always4ever 5 years, 1 month ago

I discovered that even Sonic does not carry a sugar free slush.

otto 5 years, 1 month ago

Seems like it might be easier to fix your ac than find sugar free slushies.

jack22 5 years, 1 month ago

Wanting a sugar free slushie sounds to me like ordering a pizza without cheese. Isn't the sugar a big part of why people order those drinks? I just use my blender when I'm wanting a healthy natural crushed ice drink.

irvan moore 5 years, 1 month ago

I've seen the sign at the station on 23rd for the subs but have never tried one, are the subs and especially the philly good, how do they compare to others

John Hamm 5 years, 1 month ago

I like their sandwiches - especially the Chili Dog.

workinghard 5 years, 1 month ago

Yeah, I saw a very young man smoking a pipe yesterday. He must think it's safer than cigarettes. It is sad to see young people get addicted to tobacco.

patkindle 5 years, 1 month ago

it always amazes me about lawrencians can always find something to whine about douglas county must be the whine capital of ks

Meatwad 5 years, 1 month ago

I vote for a Diet Dr Pepper slushie! I would buy one every day! In the summer anyway.

he_who_knows_all 5 years, 1 month ago

And just where can I get a fountain drink downtown before I arrive for work at 6:00 am?

A 24/7 downtown convenience store works for me. Especially for Diet Mountain Dew.

Meatwad 5 years, 1 month ago

I tried Sandbar Subs on 23rd. It gets a thumbs up. I will be glad when the new one opens.

OldEnuf2BYurDad 5 years, 1 month ago

A 24/7 store downtown? I hope there's room in there for a police substation.

homechanger 5 years, 1 month ago

I have an apartment downtown for weekend partying. Will be glad to get bags of ice and mixer for my drink late night.

Tonya Foster 5 years, 1 month ago

ok, back to the slushies..........with the money you spend slurping down slushies , perhaps you should use it to repair your AC. Just sayin. Don't get me wrong, I love a good slushy.

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