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Downtown Merchants band together

By: Brandon Darnell, News Messenger Reporter
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Formed a little more than a year ago, the Historic Downtown Lincoln Merchants’ Association works to promote business in the downtown area, according to President Konnie Fritts. “We try to get our names and our faces out there and promote downtown,” Fritts said. Some of the nonprofit association’s events have centered around holidays while others have been to participate in community activities. A safe trick-or-treat event was held downtown Oct. 30, with downtown businesses handing out candy to hundreds of costumed children. For Christmas, the Historic Downtown Lincoln Merchants’ Association enlisted the help of Santa Claus for pictures with the kids and followed that up last month with a visit from the Easter Bunny. The Historic Downtown Lincoln Merchants’ Association is open to any business in the downtown area, which Fritts said is from the Auburn Ravine to Seventh Street along Highway 65 and several blocks to either side. Although joining the association will entail work and a $100 fee, Fritts said it is an investment. “Because the main purpose is to promote the downtown area, the more businesses involved, the more cohesive it becomes,” Fritts said, adding that she believes the association will prove even more vital once the Highway 65 bypass is completed. The next major event for the Historic Downtown Lincoln Merchants’ Association will be the Firemen’s Muster from July 17 to July 19, according to Fritts. She said the association started the event but has received support from all over the community, including the city, Soroptimist International of Lincoln, the Girl Scouts and the firefighters’ union. When it formed, the Historic Downtown Lincoln Merchants’ Association had between 20 and 25 members and that number has grown to about 45 members, Fritts said. “It’s all businesses, not just shops,” Fritts said, adding that banks, real estate and financial companies are all represented on the member list. To join the Historic Downtown Lincoln Merchants’ Association, call Konnie Fritts, owner of Sierra Hills Framing at 531 G St., by phone at 645-1644. - The Lincoln News Messenger profiles a nonprofit organization every week. If you would like to see an organization featured, please e-mail brandond@goldcountrymedia.com or call 774-7967.