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Dillons on 23rd Street plans some renovations; redevelopment of former Jock's Nitch building continues

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Look for some changes at the Dillons store on 23rd Street. No, Amazon is not buying the store as part of its plan to take over the grocery world and start delivering food via drones. (What’s the big deal? Flying food in my house is common, although it doesn’t involve a drone — just an ill-timed comment about the meatloaf.) While drones aren’t in the mix, the Dillons store does plan to add a convenience.

Plans have been filed at City Hall for the Dillons at 1015 W. 23rd St. to add a pharmacy drive-thru. Several of the Dillons stores in town have a drive-thru pharmacy, but the 23rd Street store does not. The plans filed with the city allude to some future renovations too. A manager at the store directed all my questions to a corporate spokeswoman. A spokeswoman for Dillons on Thursday confirmed plans are in the works for the store, but she couldn't yet provide details.

The plans on file, though, call for the drive-thru pharmacy to be built on the east end of the building. It would involve adding a canopy, some landscaping islands, lane markings and other such improvements. Pretty standard stuff.

The plans filed with the city also call for the installation of some new freezer display cases inside the building. Also pretty standard stuff. (We need a drone dropping watermelons from 2,000 feet to liven this article up.) Maybe this will do it: The plans also call for “entrance consolidation” to be done at the store as part of a separate project. Mysterious . . . but not all that interesting. Actually, who knows. I’m assuming the entrances they’re talking about are the entryways into the building rather than entrances into the parking lot, for example. Either type of change could be significant. Perhaps there is a larger store makeover planned as part of this separate project. I’ll keep an eye open for more details.

In the meantime, expect to see some construction work in the foreseeable future at one of the busier grocery stores in town.

In other news and notes around town:

• You perhaps have noticed some construction work across the street from Dillons. We reported a few months ago that clothing retailer Plato’s Closet was moving into a portion of the space previously occupied by Jock’s Nitch at 1116 W. 23rd St.

Indeed Plato’s Closet has moved from its west Lawrence location and now is open at the 23rd Street location. It soon will be getting a new neighbor. Renovation work is underway for Midwest Vacuum to move into another part of the building by Oct. 1.

The pair may make an odd couple, in that Plato’s Closet is expected to be a big draw for the nearby college crowd that is looking for affordable, gently used clothing. I don’t know about you, but I didn’t buy many vacuum cleaners in college. Once the piece of pizza got stuck in the first one, I took it as a bad omen.

Sarah Degondea, owner of Midwest Vacuum, is excited about the pending move. The store currently is located at 1149 W. 23rd, in the strip center that includes Party America, Copy Co, UNI Computers and several other businesses.

Degondea currently rents that space, but she decided to make the move because she had the opportunity to buy the entire Jock’s Nitch building. (Jock's Nitch is still in business, but closed that 23rd Street location.)

“Even being an Iowa State grad, I really, really like Lawrence,” she said. “I wanted to buy real estate. I wanted to make a larger investment in Lawrence.”

In addition to the vacuum space and the Plato's Closet space, the building has one more 1,200 square-foot unit, which Degondea is marketing as office space.

As for the vacuum store, it will have about the same amount of space and will continue with its current business strategy. It sells upper end vacuum cleaners, and repairs about any type of vacuum cleaner.

“We repair what the big boxes sell,” she said.

Degondea said the business is considering getting back into the sewing machine business. The store currently does repair sewing machines, but doesn’t sell new models. She said she is learning about that business and may add a line of sewing machines in the future.

Only half-jokingly, Degondea said she also is considering offering vacuums for rent, particularly to the college market, especially during move-in an move-out times.

“They probably should use one at least once a quarter,” she joked.

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