Northeast Joco

October 22, 2013

Learning can be fun at new Merriam store

Johnson County retail and restaurant news: Lakeshore, one of the nation's leading retailers of educational materials for children, has entered the market with a new Merriam store. Florida-based “better burger” chain coming to Leawood. Wal-Mart opens new Shawnee store.

Lakeshore Learning Store says it offers educational materials that make learning fun.

The California-based retailer has entered the area market with a new store in Merriam Town Center, 5670 Antioch Road. The 5,500-square-foot store offers customers a wide selection of toys and games, most of which have been developed by teachers.

“We believe children learn through play,” said Ray Hernandez, training manager for the company. “Hands-on material that works great not only in the classroom but that also works at home.”

Lakeshore opened as a toy store in 1954. But then teachers started requesting more educational materials and it expanded its offerings.

The stores will open any product for customers to try before they buy — including science kits, arts and crafts projects, addition and subtraction games, vocabulary games, and word puzzles. The stores also carry backpacks, desk organizers, supply boxes, stickers and other merchandise.

Lakeshore also will offer free teacher workshops and family events throughout the year. From 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturdays, families can come in for Free Crafts for Kids, a craft session that will range from making seasonal decorations to making cards or keepsakes. This Saturday, children can make a trick-or-treat cup, and then on Nov. 2 they can make a scarecrow windsock.

The stores also have free resource pamphlets including “Is My Child Ready for School?”

Lakeshore has 59 stores in 28 states.

Better burger chain opening Leawood location

A Florida-based “better burger” restaurant has its sights set on Leawood.

A BurgerFi franchisee is in negotiations to open in Park Place, 11635 Ash St. If all goes as planned, the restaurant would open by late February 2014.

The chain, which was founded in early 2011 in south Florida, offers burgers made with all-natural grass-fed beef ( meaning free range, no growth hormones, no antibiotics, and never frozen). The menu includes Angus burgers, brisket burgers with 28-day dry-aged ground brisket, veggie burgers made with quinoa, Kobe beef hotdogs, craft beers, wine, and frozen custard and frozen concretes made with cane sugar.

It offers 30 different burger toppings including fried egg, American cheese, white cheddar cheese, Peter Luger Steak Sauce, grilled mushrooms and BurgerFi Chili. French fries — hand-cut, never frozen — also can come with such toppings as Parmesan cheese and herbs, or salt and vinegar.

“I’ve been in finance my whole life. One of the best restaurant analysts wouldn’t recommend a stock unless he had tried everything on the menu,” said Josh Kurzban, BurgerFi area franchisee with his wife, Michelle. “We did the same with BurgerFi and we were sold on the fact that natural is better and we think it is ideal for the Johnson County discerning consumer.”

The Kurzbans also hope to open a Lawrence location.

The founders of BurgerFi got the idea through their upscale south Florida restaurant called The Office. One of the top selling menu items at The Office is an all-natural burger selling for $18. They decided to showcase an all-natural burger in a fast casual concept called BurgerFi, standing for the “burgerfication“ of the nation. BurgerFi’s burgers are under $10.

BurgerFi restaurants also have many “green” components, including chairs made from recycled soda bottles and tables made from recycled milk cartons.

The North Palm Beach, Fla.-based BurgerFi currently has 31 locations.

Wal-Mart Shawnee store opening

Wal-Mart plans a 7:30 a.m. ribbon cutting Oct. 23 for its new store at 5701 Silverheel St., Shawnee. The 148,000-square-foot store will be open 24-hours-a-day, seven-days-a-week.

To reach Joyce Smith, call 816-234-4692 or send email to Follow her on Facebook and Twitter at JoyceKC

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