WRITER: Chad Lawhorn

Lawrence's Kmart distribution center still has hope, thanks to latest twist in bankruptcy case

Kmart — and its approximately 300 local jobs — is still kicking. Sears Holdings Corp., which is the parent company for both Sears and Kmart, agreed Tuesday to consider a revised takeover bid that would stave off a complete shutdown of Sears and Kmart stores across the country. The mega bankruptcy case has major Lawrence implications because Kmart operates a Lawrence distribution center that historically ...

Downtown retailer that featured local handmade goods closes; big day for future of Lawrence's Kmart distribution center

I don’t think anybody has ever wanted to buy anything I’ve made, unless you can count the neighbors who have offered to pay me to remove some of the creations out of my yard. But plenty of handy people in Lawrence do sell their creations, and they're losing a place to market their wares in downtown Lawrence. The unique shop Made, at 737 Massachusetts St., has closed its doors after about seven years in ...

Wrap, taco shop featuring fresh ingredients signs deal to locate in west Lawrence

I know Johnson County SUVs that have a freezer and a deep-fat fryer, but there soon will be a Johnson County-based restaurant chain opening in Lawrence that brags about having neither. Twisted Fresh has signed a deal to locate in the shopping center at the southwest corner of Sixth Street and Wakarusa Drive. As the name implies, fresh food is a hallmark of the menu. More specifically, wraps, tacos and a ...

Retail sales hit $1.6 billion during 2018 in Lawrence, but spending was still sluggish

Now that the calendar has flipped to 2019, we can talk about this $1.6 billion that you’ve spent. While that sounds similar to the lecture I get regarding my New Years Eve charcuterie plate (chocolate-covered almonds are expensive), I’m actually talking about retail spending in all of Lawrence. The year-end numbers are out, and Lawrence consumers topped the $1.6 billion mark in 2018. While that may sound ...

A look at the top local stories of 2018

Maybe you want to remember 2018. Maybe you don’t. It has been that type of year, as our list of the top local stories of 2018 confirms. There have been leadership shakeups — some with retirement cards, some with pink slips. There have been murders and the trials that come with them, complete with twists and turns. There have been historic budget cuts at KU, and the trepidation that the 2019 budget-cutting ...

2018 sets record for most building construction in Lawrence; a look at the 15 largest projects of the year

Everything from high schools to hospitals has added up to a record-setting total of $260 million worth of new construction projects in Lawrence in 2018. It is a new record that is certain to grow. The latest report from Lawrence City Hall only tracks building permits that have been issued through the end of November. When the city adds on December building permit totals next month, the Lawrence construction ...

LMH expected to hit $1B mark in 2019, but finances are tightening for the hospital

Lawrence Memorial Hospital is projected to become a billion-dollar entity for the first time in 2019, but despite the massive revenues, leaders are dealing with a tightening financial picture. The 2019 budget approved by the board of LMH Health last week shows the nonprofit health system continues to take in far more revenue than it has in expenses, but a tight labor market and more aggressive contracts with ...

Smoothie franchise set to open on south Iowa Street

I may get a lump of coal in my stocking (maybe that is what people mean when they say coal is making a comeback), but at least I soon could have a Blimey Limey in my stomach. South Iowa Street soon will be home to a new smoothie franchise that will feature all types of island concoctions. Tropical Smoothie Cafe is opening its first Lawrence location at 27th and Iowa streets in the shopping center that includes ...

As boardwalk project along the Kaw seeks approval, familiar question arises: How tall should the buildings be?

Downtown Lawrence doesn’t get to have all the fun when it comes to arguing over how tall buildings ought to be. It looks like North Lawrence will get in on the action too. If you remember, we reported last month about a proposed major development in North Lawrence along the Kansas River on property surrounding the iconic Johnny’s Tavern building. The development definitely would bring the idea of taller, ...

We may be top-ranked in basketball, but this report says we're quite a bit lower on list of college towns

According to the pollsters in college basketball, we can legitimately chant, “We’re No. 1!” In the broader world of college towns, add two zeros to that number, and you’ll be right on target. Yes, there is a new report out that ranks Lawrence No. 100 among small college towns in the U.S. You are right, that doesn’t sound as good in a chant, especially when you consider there were only 200 towns ...

Eagles club to take over longtime Lawrence bar and grill location in early 2019

A longtime Lawrence bar and restaurant building that once was home to a fake club soon will be home to a real private club. The building at 530 Wisconsin St., which used to house The Yacht Club, will become the new home for the Eagles club in early 2019. If you have forgotten, The Yacht Club was a longtime college bar and grill, but it wasn’t actually a private club. Come to find out, you didn’t need to ...

KU struggling to explain why it went into 'stand-down' mode in investigating basketball recruiting allegations

University of Kansas Chancellor Douglas Girod has said KU is officially in “stand-down mode” when it comes to figuring out whether KU basketball coaches acted improperly in the recruiting scandal that is gripping the sport. The reason, Girod told the Journal-World in November, is because the University of Kansas was awaiting direction from the NCAA. But now, university officials are struggling to show that ...

Photos: Douglas County hosts sendoff for longtime administrator Craig Weinaug

Douglas County Administrator Craig Weinaug retired Friday. He held the position for 26 years. “I have loved this job,” he recently told the Journal-World. “I won’t say I’ve loved every minute of it, but I have loved this job for a very long time, and I love this community and county government.”

It doesn't pay to be small in Kansas; new numbers show economic downturn for many counties

In national politics there is lots of talk about red America and blue America, but perhaps the more important split is big America and small America. New federal figures show just how much the economies of small-town America are getting hammered, and Kansas got hit harder than most, according to one measurement in the new data. For the first time ever, the federal government has produced data showing the gross ...

Lawrence gasoline prices now among lowest in the country; an update on plans for Casey's on Sixth Street

There is really no excuse this Christmas for me to not get something fabulously expensive like a yacht or a nongeneric jar of peanut butter. In past years, I’ve always excused such omissions because I know Lawrence residents have dollars sucked out of their wallets by some of the highest gasoline prices in the state. But this year, we are living in a bizarro world where elves evidently are tall and Santa ...

'Pet campus' with day care, grooming and more could develop along Wakarusa Drive

First I had to learn about the phrase “pet resort.” Now, it appears I need to learn about a “pet campus.” (Apparently it is not enough for my dog to have better vacations than me. He soon will have a better GPA, too.) Whatever the case, a pair of for-profit pet businesses are teaming up with a pair of nonprofit animal firms with hopes of building a pet campus along Wakarusa Drive. Preliminary plans ...

Have an idea on what kind of businesses should come to downtown? There's a text line for that; plus, an update on grocery store project

A couple of months ago, I told you how Downtown Lawrence Inc. was looking for ideas on what new types of businesses ought to locate downtown. At that point, the organization hadn’t yet gotten a formal system set up to take your ideas, but it has one now. The executive director of Downtown Lawrence Inc. tells me the ideas are starting to trickle in: an arcade, a grocery store, a bowling alley. Here is one ...

Plans filed for homeless drop-in center in downtown Lawrence

Plans have been filed with Lawrence City Hall to convert a downtown building into a drop-in center where the homeless can do everything from take a shower to get some temporary relief from the elements. City commissioners will have to approve the plans before they can move ahead, and it is unclear whether the proposal will bring up a new round of debates that surrounded the homeless and their presence in ...

As KU Athletics posts another financial loss, leaders say focus needs to be on increasing revenue, not decreasing expenses

After Kansas Athletics posted a second straight year of financial losses, KU Chancellor Douglas Girod’s office highlighted the need to grow revenue and upgrade athletic facilities. Not mentioned was the idea of cutting expenses of the athletic department, despite new financial statements that showed the department’s overall expenses grew about twice as fast as revenue and income last year. After Kansas ...

Plans filed for a Starbucks on 23rd Street

Plans call for Lawrence to get a new drive-thru Starbucks, and, just to add extra fun, it will be next door to a place that sells lots of power tools. (The only thing that makes a project go faster than a power nailer is a power nailer with a trigger finger fueled by a triple espresso.) Look for a Starbucks to be built at 23rd and Ousdahl in the parking lot of the shopping center that includes the Harbor ...