Iwig Dairy Store opens second Lawrence location north of the river

Grand opening

The North Lawrence Iwig Dairy Store, 622 N. Second St., will celebrate its grand opening on Aug. 3. The store plans to have a cookout and free dips of Iwig ice cream.

The store’s regular hours are 9:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. weekdays, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturdays and noon to 5 p.m. Sundays.

The downtown Iwig Dairy Store, 1901 Massachusetts St., is now open the same hours.

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Worker Annie Windholz stocks a milk cooler on Thursday, July 18, 2013, at the new Iwig Dairy Store at 622 N. Second Street in North Lawrence. The store opened July 13.

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The new Iwig Dairy Store at 622 N. Second Street in North Lawrence.

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Containers of ice cream are stacked in a cooler at the new Iwig Dairy Store at 622 N. Second Street in North Lawrence.

Iwig Family Dairy has opened its second Lawrence store, this time across the river where parking is a little dusty but isn’t such a tight squeeze.

“There’s lots of room,” owner Tim Iwig said. “They can park right in front and dash right in. They can pull around back if they want to, and pull out around the other side.”

The North Lawrence Iwig Dairy Store opened July 13 at 622 N. Second St., in a cream-colored building between two automotive shops — Jake’s and Bob’s.

There are no grocery stores in North Lawrence, and Iwig said the only other place he knows of to buy a gallon of milk is the Dollar General at 1001 N. Third St. In addition to attracting North Lawrence residents, Iwig hopes his store will be a regular stop for commuters and rural residents on their way home from work.

The store is bare-bones for now. In addition to Iwig’s milk, ice cream and other dairy products, there’s a smattering of locally made foodstuffs and fresh produce from North Lawrence farmers.

Iwig said he wants to expand to sell ice cream by the cone, which requires installing equipment to get the proper city permits. He’s also working on a soft-serve style vanilla frozen yogurt recipe.

“We think that will draw customers in there,” he said. “But we need to boost sales. We’re coming down to the wire now.”

In November, the Iwig Family Dairy filed for Chapter 12 bankruptcy. The business’s hearing on its reorganization effort is on Aug. 13.

After two years of crippling drought, Iwig has a “huge” hay crop and is optimistic his corn crop will be good, too. Also, Free State Brewing Co. is making more beer than ever — which means Iwig can get more of the low-cost spent grain he feeds his herd.

With feed costs going down, the missing piece is sales going up, Iwig said.

The new store was opened to help move more milk. In addition to the store at the dairy itself in Tecumseh, Iwig stores are located at 1901 Massachusetts St. and 724 SW Gage Blvd. in Topeka. Iwig also sells to a number of Lawrence restaurants.

“We need to make the bankruptcy court realize that we’ve made a major step here, and made major inroads to solving our problems,” Iwig said.

Iwig advertises its milk as free of antibiotics and artificial hormones widely used to increase milk production. It’s also vat-pasteurized, a rarely used low-temperature process that fans say is the next best thing to raw milk for taste and nutrition.

Marty Falkenstien, who manages both Lawrence Iwig stores, envisions the North Lawrence location as a gathering place once it can sell ice cream by the cone. She said she’d like to lead nature walks across the river that end with an ice cream cone, and she’s working to restore a shady but overgrown garden behind the building.

“Is this a nice place to eat ice cream or what?” she said.

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