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Cecile Corral

Weaver's celebrates 150 years of community retailing

October 10, 2007

This week I learned about the 150th birthday of a small, single-unit department store — Weaver’s — tucked in the community of Lawrence, Kansas.


I had a feeling, as I made my initial phone call, that reaching Weaver’s top executives would be far easier than reaching some assistant buyers at big box stores.


I was right.


Joe Flannery, president, took the time — "As much as you need," he said — to candidly answer my questions, first about his softening but here-to-stay home textiles business and then about the store’s history and his tenure there as a member of the third family to own and operate Weaver’s.


The more I spoke to him, the more I wanted to shop Weaver’s for myself.


The national chains satisfy, with their prolific real estate locations and collectively broad assortment of goods.


But I envy Lawrence residents. It must be refreshing to have the option to shop a store with such a community-focused perspective on retailing, not to mention a legacy shoppers can trace back to their own ancestors. Not many small or even middle — forget big – cities still offer a Weaver’s of their own to local customers. (Lawrence’s population is just over 80,000.)


As longtime vendor, Kurt Hamburger of Lintex Linens/Cobra Trading, summed up, "We are certainly going to do business with [Flannery] as long as I am alive, and I only wish there was a Weaver’s in every town the size of Lawrence in the U.S.”


The article on Weaver’s is set to run in HTT’s October 15 issue, complete with old and new photographs.