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Dillons completes renovations at Sixth and Lawrence store; Wal-Mart begins work at South Iowa location

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Surely this age we're living in will go down in the history books as . . . The Gilded Grocery Era. I will tell my grandkids how there used to be a day when you couldn't go into a grocery store and get fresh ground peanut butter, and they will laugh at me. (Maybe because of the peanut butter, or perhaps because by then I'll be an old man with eyebrows like hedge rows.)

But the point is, we're living in a great age to buy groceries. Nearly every place in Lawrence that sells groceries has undergone some type of significant renovation in the last several years. As we've reported several times over the last few months, the Dillons store at Sixth Street and Lawrence Avenue is the latest.

Dillons officials on Wednesday declared the renovation of the store complete, and held a well-attended ribbon cutting. The major structural change to the building was the addition of a drive-thru lane for the store's pharmacy. But there was more to the renovations than that. Dillons pulled building permits for $1.2 million worth of construction on the site, making it the 10th largest building project in the city, thus far, in 2013. Here's a look at other improvements at the store:

• A revamping of the natural and organic foods department, which is branded Nature's Market. It includes a new bulk foods section.

• Hand-made sushi

• New selections of gourmet cheeses and an olive bar. (My grandkids will laugh when I tell them I used to have to order gin to get an olive at a bar.)

• An expanded salad bar

• A new beverage center with expanded fountain drinks and coffee selections

• A new floral department

• New color schemes throughout the store, and new energy efficient lighting

Dillons is holding special events through Saturday to celebrate the renovations. The Sixth and Lawrence store will host a t-shirt sidewalk sale from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. today and Friday and from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday. On Friday and Saturday, pay attention here, the store will offer large amounts of food samples. So, while I'm uncertain what historians will call this age we're living in, I have no doubt what this weekend will be labeled at the Lawhorn household: The Toothpick Times. As in: Kids, any food with a toothpick stuck in it, grab it, because that's supper tonight. (Don't feel sorry for them. They love it, especially when we put on the fake mustaches and wigs to go through a second time.)

•••

What's better than writing about one retail renovation? Well, writing about two, of course. Bob Catlin, the store manager at the Walmart on South Iowa Street, confirmed to me renovations are underway for that store.

Catlin said perhaps the most noticeable interior improvements will be all new fixtures and cases for the store's produce department. The exterior of the store, however, also will get a new look. He said the entire exterior of the building will be repainted with a different color scheme, and new signs for the building and along the road are on the way. All the departments of the store will remain open during the renovations, which are expected to be complete sometime next month.

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  • Comments

    Crystal Patterson 1 year, 7 months ago

    Any word if they are getting the Chinese food department back?

    Chris Jeter 1 year, 7 months ago

    Last I'd heard was the Chinese food stand was gone. If you are looking for a quick and good replacement. The Chinese at Hyvee is good and the husband/wife combo that staff it are a hoot.

    Chad Lawhorn 1 year, 7 months ago

    I've asked Dillons about it. I'll let you know if I get a response. Thanks, Chad

    Chad Lawhorn 1 year, 7 months ago

    Sheila Lowrie, a spokeswoman with Dillons, confirmed to me that the Chinese kitchen was removed from the store as part of the renovation. She said the company used the space to make room for other requested items from customers, such as a gourmet cheese section. Thanks, Chad Lawhorn, Journal-World

    gatekeeper 1 year, 7 months ago

    That bites! They had a gourmet cheese section before the remodel. They got rid of the Chinese kitchen so they could have sushi (which is probably mostly talapia anyways).

    The organic section is very nice and the store now smells better.

    Louis White 1 year, 7 months ago

    The organic section sucks now. No organic apples now and they quit carrying the dried figs from Greece. The faux-wood flooring tiles are black with grime. You couldn't even walk in that place for 8 months without being run down by something akin to a zamboni. Just another good thing ruined by progress.

    jesse499 1 year, 6 months ago

    They talk about all the stuff they add for the few but they don't talk about the stuff they took away that a lot of people liked same old story.

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