Larry’s Shortstop has new owner, new name and new look

The convenience store also houses the Topeka Time and Temperature line
Published: Nov. 30, 2022 at 6:28 PM CST
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - Larry’s Shortstop was know as the king of convenience while also featuring memorable food, but new ownership is in town and a new look is here.

“They come in and they bought the place,” said Tammy Volz, manager of the new SQRL, pronounced Squirrel. “They totally redid the floors, new paint job, we’re waiting for a new kitchen, new gas pumps, new gas lighting outside, new ceilings out there, lighting, it’s really been nice.”

The new owner is Chris Lehnhoff. The changes are mostly made to the building itself with Larry Jones leaving behind the same good recipes for you to enjoy.

“The new owners are wonderful,” said Volz, “everything is staying the same, the food is staying the same, the customers are loving it and we love it. Same recipes, same everything, just the new remodel. That’s all I can really say, it just keeps building and that everyone just enjoys coming to Larry’s.”

The change in ownership could also mean an end to Topeka history that’s lasted for 80 years. Larry Jones bought the Topeka Time and Temperature line from a lawn care business roughly 15 years ago and now the new owners are unsure if they will keep the line going, shut it down, or let someone else take it off their hands.

“I’m kind of sad that they can’t find anybody just to take it over,” said Jones. “I’m willing to give the equipment over to anybody. There would be a little bit of money to put it in, but not a huge amount at all, all you have to do it just pay a phone bill.”

In an age of all things digital, time and temperature voice Randall Hinton says don’t treat the line as a novelty.

“People know the phone number they’re going to call it because it’s a matter of convenience,” said Hinton. “It’s not just older people that call it. Yes, the calls cue old, but at the same time once people know the phone number they’ll dial it because they get in, they get what they want and they’re on the way.

He says the volume of calls varies from day to day, with an average call rate of 2,000 calls a day!

“They will call for instance right after power outages,” said Hinton, “because they might want to check the time on some of their clocks or of course they also call during inclement weather and during temperature spikes and after the semi-annual time changes they also call as well. So, the calls go up and down but the average is about 2,000 calls a day for Topeka.”

“I hear a lot about it though, I really do,” said Volz. “People do talk about it!”

While one piece of history’s future may be uncertain, another’s has just started a new chapter.

“If you haven’t been here at Larry’s,” said the old Larry’s Shortstop, come and see us. It’s a nice convenience store, it’s growing, you’re going to get a smile, so just come and see us.”

The number for the Topeka WeatherFone Time and Temperature is (785) 233-6471. SQRL is located at 3834 SW Topeka Boulevard.