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Retirement didn't suit Lashley, now back in bar

Kim Hajney, general manager, has joined owner Kenny Lashley in operating Kenny’s Lawton Bar. Lashley is a veteran of the bar business, having previously owned The Water’s Edge in River Falls. (Herald photo by Bill Kirk)

LAWTON--When Kenny Lashley isn’t cutting down trees, he’s hosting people who want to cheer up with fun and refreshments.

Lashley celebrated his 72nd birthday Friday on-the-job at Kenny’s Lawton Bar, the establishment for which he took ownership this month. A veteran of the hospitality business, he’d been out of it for around five years.

“I tried retirement and it didn’t work,” he said, though he wasn’t truly retired because that other enterprise, Ken Lashley Tree Service, continues.

The owner relies on Kim Hajney as the bar’s general manager so he can devote daytime hours to such pursuits as being 70 feet off the ground in a bucket, “waving a chain saw,” Hajney said (an eight-year stint employed by Northern States Power Company “all over Minnesota” helped him to become so skilled, he said). When he comes down, he fills his evenings serving a thirsty public.

Lashley said he spent 12 years in River Falls, arriving in the mid-1990s and running The Water’s Edge in that city (near the former Lund’s Hardware) until the end of the 2000s. There are some differences between his urban experience and new rural one.

“This isn’t as big,” he said, estimating the Lawton place can seat approximately 30 people inside. “And there’s no college here.”

A couple of years ago, still involved with the tree-cutting service his father, Clarence, began in Racine and for which he’s labored since 1955, along with a brother, Don, Lashley started thinking about operating a bar again, he said. He heard the Lawton site was for sale; it had been Uncle John’s for a half-dozen years, then leased for about a year.

For more please read the July 30 print version of the Herald. 

Bill Kirk

Bill Kirk was editor of the Pierce County Herald in Ellsworth, from 1988 to February, 2015 and is now on staff as a reporter. He holds a bachelors degree in journalism from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. He previously worked in the media distribution department at the University of Minnesota's Minneapolis campus and is past editor of The Tri-County News in Osseo, Wisconsin.

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