The Sandbar, a downtown beach bar, has been a staple on the Lawrence bar scene since 1989. A little over a decade ago, Sandbar founder Peach started dabbling with the idea of expansion.
“The subs story started when I found out that most downtowns would not allow a bar to go in without food sales,” she said. Overland Park and other similar towns—including Lawrence-- have zoning regulations to prevent the same type business.
Longtime bartender and manager David Johanning agreed to take over the responsibility of the Lawrence bar while Peach explored expansion options. This was during the time the Legends shopping center in nearby Kansas City was under construction. “We were asked to participate in the original Legends plan,” Peach said, “but realized we were not experienced enough at that time to handle such volume.”
The small town of Ottawa, close to home, was a great place to test ideas and concepts. Peach opened a second Sandbar location that was a restaurant and bar (click here to read more stories about the Ottawa adventures) and enjoyed it, but she knew it wasn't quite the right match.
During this time, the Madls became friends with the Zaremba family of Zarco66. The Zarembas had just bought a store in Ottawa, and Scott and his family often came into the restaurant on wing night.
A downtown Ottawa sub shop without table service was the next effort, and boy it worked. It was great fun, Scott came down and enjoyed the food and a partnership was born. We now have three Sandbar Sub Shops inside Zarco66 convenience stores in Lawrence and Ottawa.
Now how did the relationship with Peoples Bank happen? Peach explains, “Well, back in the old days, banks would sometimes be ‘not nice.’ My husband and I had the opportunity to buy the building the original Sandbar bar was in. However, I was rejected by a bank my accountant referred me to-- because ‘you receive the majority of your income from the sale of alcohol and we are a family owned bank.’”
Their regular bank wouldn’t loan money for properties outside of Baldwin City. So one day Ted said, “Hey, I have a cousin who’s a banker, let me call her!”
“That's when I met Maley Wilkins of Peoples Bank, and she took great care of us.”
Another connection to Peoples Bank comes by way of the Winter family, who are well-known around the Lawrence area.
“When we first got the Crystal Plaza Theater in 2005, it was struggling, “ Peach said. Peoples Bank kept sponsoring events and coming by and supporting us in many ways in Ottawa. The late Wint Winter, Sr., who was chairman of Peoples Inc., was a wonderful man and he is honored at the Plaza Grill and Cinema with a picture on the Wall of LOCAL Stars in the lobby.
As for the new Sandbar Subs World Headquarters/Peoples Bank adventure in downtown Lawrence?
Peach says it came about when Scott and Maley spent time talking instead of listening to speakers at a Chamber event and came up with this wonderful plan.
“And Ted and I said ‘we're in!’” said Peach.
Usually, this is where they say the rest is history, but in this case, the next chapter is just beginning.
Be sure to join us on August 10 for the big block party bash! Click here for more info.