After KU’s blowout loss last night, a breadbasket is the only type of basket worth talking about today. Fortunately, I’ve got news about one of Lawrence’s larger bread-makers. The downtown bakery Great Harvest Bread Co. has new owners and also several new offerings.
Longtime Baker Bob Garrett — known by many as Baker Bob — sold the store at 807 Vermont St. in early December. The mother-daughter duo of Marty Peterson and Sarah Burtch have bought the business.
“I’ve always enjoyed baking, and who doesn’t love bread?” said Burtch, the daughter in the duo.
Burtch — who has been a longtime customer of Great Harvest — said the store is keeping the favorite recipes and bread varieties that have made the shop popular since its opening in the mid-1990s. The shop still makes about a dozen varieties of bread per day but plans to have more of a rotational menu to entice shoppers to try more seasonal offerings too.
Among the new offerings are a dessert called a Savannah bar, which is a fruit streusel bar that features different fruits each day. Thus far, fruit combinations have included blueberry, strawberry, caramel apple and others. Also new is something called Popeye bread. It features spinach, red peppers and parmesan cheese. I assume you could dip it in Olive Oyl. (Get it? Yeah, marketing cartoon-related food products is my fallback career.)
Also new to the store is a line of organic peanut butter, including something called butter toffee peanut butter. How decadent sounding. As I’ve long said, any food with “butter” in its name twice is a food worth breaking out the fancy stretchy pants for. In addition to peanut butter varieties, the store also is carrying an almond butter and other butters made from pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds, which is aimed at people with nut allergies.
A line of jams, jellies, spice rubs, corn bread mixes, oatmeals, trail mixes, brownie mixes and other such products also are being offered at the store.
The store is part of a chain of more than 200 Great Harvest bakeries, but each store is individually owned. The store will continue to use freshly ground whole wheat that is milled at the store daily to produce its breads.
Burtch said the new owners plan a few renovations to the building, but said that work would not begin for a while. Hours of the store remain unchanged: 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday and 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturdays.
In other news and notes from around town:
• Lawrence-based Allen Press has a new chief executive officer. Randy Radosevich, a former manager with the commercial printing firm Henry Wurst Inc., began his duties as CEO of Allen Press on Monday.
For those of you not familiar with Allen Press, you must not be very scholarly. Allen Press is one of the larger printers of scholarly journals in the country. It has its headquarters and printing facility in East Lawrence near Hobbs Park at 11th and Delaware streets.
Former CEO Gerald Lillian announced late last year that he was leaving the company after 10 years to start a new small business with his wife. Dee Ann Berry has been serving as interim CEO for the company. She will remain at Allen Press as the company’s chief operating officer.
Radosevich comes to Allen Press after having managed the Kansas City production plant for Henry Wurst. He previously was a vice president for TNG Central Division, a leading publishing/periodical distribution company in North America.
Longtime Lawrence resident Rand Allen will continue to serve as president of the company, which has been operating in Lawrence for more than 80 years.
Compton confirms deal to redevelop Allen Press property at 11th and Mass.; Lawrence home sales fall in September
One of downtown Lawrence's more prominent corners may be set to change. Doug Compton this morning confirmed that he's reached a tentative agreement to develop the old Allen Press property at 11th and Massachusetts streets with a multistory apartment and retail building.
The talk confirms speculation that has been running through several real estate circles in town. Compton would not go so far as to confirm the tenant he hopes to land for the ground floor space, but multiple other sources tell me he is working with either the CVS or Walgreens drug store chain.
Compton confirmed he has entered into a partnership with longtime Lawrence businessman Rand Allen to develop all the property that Allen owns near the downtown intersection. The property currently includes a parking lot at the northeast corner of 11th and Massachusetts. It also includes a largely vacant industrial building that has frontage on both New Hampshire and Massachusetts streets.
Compton said his plans call for a seven-story building that will include space for 120 apartments above the ground-floor retail space. Underground parking for at least 120 vehicles would be constructed beneath the building. The building would stretch from a point just south of the Einstein Bagel store to the corner of 11th and Massachusetts.
"It is going to be a tall building," Compton said at a Lawrence Chamber of Commerce event this morning. "It has to be a tall building to make it work."
Compton said the project will be similar in size and scope to the multistory buildings that his company is building at Ninth and New Hampshire streets.
As for the retail tenant, Compton said he's received one round of approval from the national retailer, and he hopes to receive a final approval by mid-November.
If a deal with a tenant is struck next month, Compton said he would need to be able to deliver the building by 2016. Compton's most recent project, a multistory building hotel and retail building at Ninth and New Hampshire, took nearly two years to get City Hall approval.
"I'm hopeful the approval process will be easier than it was with the hotel project," Compton said.
Unlike the hotel project, this development won't abut a residential neighborhood. But the project will be right across the street from one of the more historically significant buildings in downtown — the Douglas County Courthouse, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Look for a more complete story on this news later today.
In other news and notes from around town:
• Maybe everybody was too fascinated with the start of the KU football season, or maybe everybody was glued to their TVs watching CNN or FOX's coverage of the impending government shutdown, or maybe it simply was just time for Lawrence's real estate market to have an off month.
Whatever the case, the latest report from the Lawrence Board of Realtors shows Lawrence home sales fell 8 percent in September compared to the same time period a year ago. The decline ended a streak of 17 straight months of increasing home sales in Lawrence.
But home sales are still way up for the year, and officials with the Realtors board didn't seem too concerned about the one-month decline. Surprisingly, they didn't attribute it to the city being gripped with Kansas University football fever. (There was a definite fever at Saturday's game — the type that comes with typhoid.)
Instead, they said interest rates did rise some in September as market-makers became concerned about the potential government shutdown at the beginning of October. Such uncertainty usually doesn't do good things for the home buying market.