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Downtown Lincoln businesses doing well

By: Kathy Dorsey Special to the News Messenger
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Readers of the Nov. 26th News Messenger might be tempted to believe that downtown businesses are not doing well because a couple of merchants are experiencing a slowdown. But most downtown businesses, including the new ones, are doing very well and seeing increases in both sales and profits. In addition to Lincoln High School’s winning football season, this city can be proud of its business successes. We have much to celebrate. “It’s the economy, stupid” was a phrase used by the Clinton campaign during its 1992 presidential election to defeat George H. Bush. I believe it was wrong then and wrong now to blame just the economy for any business success or failure. Businesses succeed or fail, based on their ability to plan and adjust to many variables of which the economy, competition and bank closures are just a few. Our only constant is change – count on it. A good economy does not ensure success. Badly-run businesses can fail anytime, in good economic times or bad. Well-run businesses succeed, regardless of economic conditions. Take a look at our downtown-core businesses. In the restaurant sector, Kim’s Country Kitchen is now open for dinner Wednesday, Thursday and Friday in addition to its hugely successful Taco Tuesdays. Simple Pleasures’ Diana Burke and her sister launched a new product line called Mom Likes Me Best and celebrated 30 years in business. Awful Annie’s wins awards for outstanding breakfasts that accounts for long weekend lines. Buonarroti’s started wine-tasting events. And let’s not forget Lincoln Chinese and Los Gallos, which are open daily and where it may be difficult to find seating during lunch or dinner. Our McDonald’s is in the top percentile nationwide. On the retail side, I’m one of three partners at a new art, antique and gift gallery, The Place!, that opened Aug. 1 and is receiving great support from artists and customers alike. Sierra Hills Framing also displays works by local artists. The Book Cellar continues to grow and is a terrific anchor for us at the south end of G Street/Highway 65 while Fashion Fo Paws anchors the north end. Big O Tires just hosted a customer-appreciation week. Then there’s Foto’s Market where you can find just about anything along with a butcher who remembers your individual choices. And there’s Ace Hardware where you can find just about everything else. Need to cash a check or use an ATM? You will find Umpqua and US Bank. These businesses represent a small number of the successful downtown businesses responding to change and meeting community needs. The professional sector is also robust. Accounting firm Jensen and Smith recently expanded its operations to occupy most of the Adams Hayes Building on Fifth Street, thereby necessitating a move by Therese Adams’ law office to a larger space in the Fiddyment Building on Second Street. Mane Productions celebrated 30 years in business. F Street recently saw the addition of a new business, Nails by Kendal, which has already added another business day to its weekly calendar. De Anna Salon de Beauté is thriving in its new location on G Street. Bob Romness, Lincoln Area Chamber of Commerce CEO, reports 70 new members this past year. Despite the “mortgage” mess that we’ve been reading about for months, Maidu Financial specializing in mortgages is writing new business and adding staff. Branch Manager Lynda Armes is immediate past president of California Mortgage Brokers’ Association. While the housing market was badly hurt by the mortgage mess, Barringer Realty and Pavilion Realty remain open for business. Ron Barringer and Gene Thorpe are seasoned real-estate professionals. They’ve adjusted their businesses to meet fluctuations in the housing and commercial markets. Many more successes in all sectors are too numerous to mention here. If any group was hurt by the economic “downturn,” it was our nonprofit sector. However, Lincoln is special. Unlike other cities I’ve lived in, our nonprofits here network and build coalitions to meet the needs of individuals who have been hurt by job losses. Please remember the nonprofits this season. Downtown Lincoln is vibrant and vital. It’s yours to discover. Take time to explore all that it has to offer. My husband and I could invest anywhere but we chose to invest here. The rewards have exceeded our expectations. Kathy N. Dorsey is owner of Wardrobe at 517 G St. and one of three partners for The Place! at 505 G St. She can be reached at 645-0660. To the extent that we can, we try to give back to our community. As the saying goes, “you get out of it what you put into it.” I encourage you to get out and show your support for downtown Lincoln. You will be happy you did and so will the more than 130 successful businesses that make up your downtown. As always, thank you Lincoln. Kathy N. Dorsey is owner of Wardrobe at 517 G St. and one of three partners for The Place! at 505 G St. She can be reached at 645-0660.