Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Central and Oliver

This is an intersection that I travel through almost everyday when I ride to work. We have also lived near here for close to 30 years and we have seen many changes over time. Some changes for the better. Some, not so much. The northwest corner has a rather new and large convenience store. I get gas here often because it is on the way to work and convenient. Many years ago there was a gas station here as well, but it was more of the type you would have seen 50 years ago. Just sold gasoline and had a bay for minor repairs. Eventually that service station became a tire store before that was eventually torn down and the convenience store was built. A little further down the street you can see a strip center. These are all over the place and this area is no exception. There is a restaurant, a jewelry store, a cookie store and a fish store. Ahhh, Progress!
Just on the north side of the convenience store is another building that has housed many things over the years. Originally it was a smaller convenience store. Then a client of mine, who was sort of semi-retired, but who had a dream of owning a coin and stamp collecting shop, rented this place for many years. Some years he did pretty well, some he just got by, but he loved his hobby and spent many years running the coin shop. He was a great guy and I always enjoyed working with him. He has long since passed away, but I still remember him fondly as I pass by the place. The northeast corner has a lot of history to it as well. For now it consists of a vacant building (which I failed to get a picture of) that used to be a liquor store. It was operated for many years by a couple that we got to know a little bit. The husband passed away and his wife operated the store for many years. As liquor stores go, it was fantastic. They had a lot of very fine wines in addition to the normal liquor store fare. They were always good about making suggestions for wines to go with certain foods and for certain occasions. The wife eventually sold the store to one of the employees. But eventually that person had a sick older relative in another state that they needed to go care for. The store has been vacant ever since. There was also a small movie theatre on this corner. In its day it was quite the place. It didn't survive the industry's gravitation to multiple screen complexes and eventually closed. For many years there was a restaurant in the front part of the theatre. It was called Dr Redbirds Medicinal Inn. They had great and unique sandwiches. One of the first video rental stores in town opened up later in the main portion of the theatre building. Remember renting VHS tapes? They were there for many years until a Blockbuster Video opened up about a mile away. The local store couldn't survive the competition with the big chain store nearby. The theatre building has since been demolished, and the area is essentially vacant land, except for the new Burger King. Ahhh, Progress! A new place where you can get way more calories than you need in one sitting. I noticed this car for sale on the corner. Sign says it runs good. It was a bit ironic to me because this how I sold my car a couple of years ago, albeit at a different location. Place it in a busy or well seen parking lot with a sign on it. Someone eventually saw it and called me. The southwest corner of Central and Oliver has seen many things over time as well. I like to refer to it now as the place where people can be taken advantage of. The building right on the corner houses a furniture, electronics and appliance rental store. It is one of those places where you can buy something and eventually pay 2 or 3 times the amount of money for an item before you completely own it. They prey upon people with bad or no credit. this building was once a dress shop for many years, then a Dollar Store before the rental place moved in. Next to it is a place where you can buy supplies for your swimming pool if you have one. So the place is sort of an area for both high and low income patrons, each getting their desires fulfilled.

And of course, right south of the rental store is a PayDay Loan company. The ultimate in financial ripoffs. Imagine paying $45 in fees for a $250 loan for two weeks, until next payday. The effective interest rate on that transaction is astronomical. These stores are all over the place now, seemingly at almost every major intersection in town.

One of my clients used to own a couple of these joints, and made some good money doing it until everybody plus their mothers, brothers and sisters opened up similar stores. They seem to thrive on people that don't believe in banks anymore. The bad thing about these places is that once you get one of the loans, many times the person has to do it again 2 weeks later ($45 again) and the cycle repeats itself endlessly.

The southeast corner now has a boarded up old grocery store. How I miss that store! The size of it was maybe only 3 times the size of the convenience store on the opposite corner. But what a great store it was in its day. The Dillons chain of stores is prevalent throughout Kansas and is now owned by Kroger but still uses the Dillons name.

We used to refer to this as the little Dillons. We lived just a few blocks from here for many years and used to walk over here to get groceries on occasion. A mile north and a mile east is another Dillons we call the medium Dillons, a larger size but still not huge. Then 2 miles east of the little Dillons is what we refer to as the big Dillons, a store we despise because it is so frigging big.

Close to the little Dillons is a little shopping center with a take home to bake pizza place and a bakery/restaurant separated from the old grocery store by only a small parking lot.
On many mornings as I pass through the intersection, I can smell the wonderful aromas coming from the bakery. One of those things you can see and smell and sense on 2 wheels, but never notice in a car. As I was wandering around with the camera, I notice my reflection in the window of the bakery and felt the need to take a picture.
And here is the big Dillons. Damn near everything you want or desire can be found here at this big box grocery store. Not unlike the WalMart Super Centers or the new Super Target stores. Frankly, I can find it very easy to avoid these places. For one thing, the things you need when you go to the store are always at opposite ends of the store, so it becomes a major hiking expedition to visit these places IMHO.
It is hard to see in these pictures how big this place is. There is a new Kroger Finance office here. A recent television advertisement says you can even buy pet health insurance here. I don't even know what pet health insurance is, but can imagine that in most cases it would be a ripoff. Ahhhh, Progress!
Out in the parking lot to the big Dillons is a restaurant and a Krispy Kreme doughnut shop (factory). Krispy Kreme, I believe, originated in Chicago, but now seems to copy what Starbucks did with coffee for the doughnut industry. The world needs a Krispy Kreme on every corner, don't we? Ahhh Yes, more useless calories.
I counted 7 Krispy Kreme trucks in the parking lot. Am I stupid? Is there really that much demand? The store was a bit of a novelty when it first opened up with much fanfare. I haven't been there in a long long time.
Finally a shot of the medium Dillons, the one where we do most of our grocery shopping. Large enough to carry lots of items, but not requiring all day or concerted physical effort to traverse the store. Max loves the medium Dillons. He has been there many times. Alas, I am not sure I could buy pet health insurnce here.
Ahhh, Progress!
BTW, this is the first post generated and posted from my new Laptop. No small animals were harmed during this process.


  1. The last time I lived in a place like this (Ft Myers) I got depressed. Thanks for the memories.
    Good job with the laptop, now all you have to do is do it again (tax day can be deferred I'm told).

  2. cap2385:

    interesting concept doing an expose on intersections. Just as informative as walking down dark streets in the middle of the night while walking your dog and snapping photos into bedroom windows, whether it be by Bonneville or Nissan.
    You sure know a lot about the history of those business's . I noticed there is another Sym rider in your neighborhood. You've got a few pictures of it in front of the grocery store(s).

    bobskoot: wet coast scootin

  3. Conch,
    Didn't mean to make you depressed. After all, you live in paradise, don't you?
    Thanks for reading my ramblings though.

  4. Bobskoot,
    It's just a place I travel through almost every day. Seen a lot of changes over the 30 years or so that I have lived near here. Some of the changes I am not impressed with. Was probably quite the place in its heyday though.
    Do you miss Hawaii?

  5. Wow, what a great tour guide your are. I'm guessing your an expert historian because many of the business are or were clients over the years?

  6. cpa3485/Jim:

    going away is good, but coming home is good too, esp with memories of a good time. We have never gone anywhere warm during the winter and it was my plan to share our travels via pix and video. I'm not sure I would actually live on an island in the middle of the Pacific. After a time you would have explored all the roads and sights, then what ?
    I think much better to be on the mainland somewhere warmer than Kansas.

    bobskoot: wet coast scootin

  7. Our local paper has been publishing an ongoing series of historic photos of our area. I have realized that making a photographic record of a town is a pretty cool thing. How many people whiz by places every day and never even have a clue about what used to be there? About ventures started and ended? This stuff should be preserved.

    We actually have a few Krispy Kremes out here. One reason they seem to be popular is that they make donuts available for fund raisers. I do have to say that on a cold morning of riding, getting one hot off the cooker is pretty neat!

  8. Dear CPA3485 (Jimbo):

    So what kind of laptop did you get? I find getting a new computer to be unbelievably exciting. Actually, I have a kind of affair with them. My current acquisition is the most sophisticated unit I have ever owned. And I'm glad I had the foresight to splurge a little last summer, when my other one blew up.

    If I had a regret about this machine, it was in getting a 15" screen instead of the 17" one. But the 17" screen would not fit in my panniers.

    Your storefront-by-storefront tour of the frontier was very interesting. How long have you lived in this town? There was one thing I missed whether I lived in Lake Placid, NY (super rural) or where I currently live now (40 miles north west of Philly). And that is the kind of super liquor stores you find in New Jersey.

    The snow is scheduled to start faling here in a matter of hours. I hope your riding weather is better than mine.

    Fondest regards,
    Jack • reep • Toad
    Twisted Roads
    New blog posts every Monday and Thursday

  9. Chuck,
    Your flattery of my client base is nice but unfounded. The only client in the area was the guy who had the coin shop. He was a great guy. Most of my clients are individuals, some having some small businesses that I help them with.
    Thanks for visiting.

  10. Dan,
    The Krispy Kreme does a lot of meetings here as well, supposedly providing the need for all the trucks. They opened up with a big fanfare, that eventually died down. I suppose they are doing okay, but don't really know.
    Our local historical society has a great group of old pictures on a website. Dom Chang, a while back, did some posts on before and after pictures which I really enjoyed. I may do a few like that in the future. Historical sights here are relative to the age of this city. It wasn't founded until 1870 or so, so we cannot say we are relly old. But Wyatt Earp was a former sheriff here and there is some very interesting history. I may do some more along that line in the future.
    Thanks for stopping by,

  11. Jack,
    The weather here has been frustrating to say the least. We have had a lot of little pissy 1 or 2 inch snows accompanied with more fog than I can remember. To me, if it's going to snow, I'd much rather have a bunch of inches of the stuff so I can take the Subaru out and go driving for fun.
    The new Laptop is a Lenovo ThinkPad Edge. A new design with a 13" screen. I love it so far. It runs circles around any other computer I have ever had. I haven't had a Laptop for many years, just didn't need one. I came very close to buying an Apple, but all my office stuff is PC based, yeah you can make it work, but more costly.
    Take Care,

  12. cpa3485:

    No one asked me about my new laptop I purchased on Boxing day. It's a Toshiba 16" 4gig 500G HD windows 7. I have been doing all my video editing on it. I would have preferred a 14" screen like my old Acer, but they were more $$.

    bobskoot: wet coast scootin

  13. Sounds like you've witnessed a lot of change in your community. Change. It's the one constant. It's everywhere.

    Re: pet insurance. I heard a NPR program once on people who had taken out pet insurance. Some of the animals had chronic illnesses, others had mysterious allergies, and some felt it was best for baby animals who, like infants, need a lot of upfront care. I recall that someone got insurance for a rather exotic animal and the surgery it required down the road, made the insurance seem worth it. I remember thinking these were people with too much money and too much time on their hands. But after the program, I understood why they would do it. I'd never...but...