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At Rainbow’s end: Farewell celebration planned for market

By: Liz Kellar The News Messenger
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After 39 years, Lincoln’s Rainbow Market is closing its doors for good on Wednesday. The shelves already are depleted, the cake-decorating kits are for sale and some employees already have moved on to other jobs. But many residents are determined to give the downtown grocery store a fitting send-off, organizing a “farewell celebration” from noon to 3 p.m. Saturday. “I heard they were trying to quietly close and go away,” said Jennifer Pattison, one of the organizers. “It just didn’t seem right.” While plans still are fluid, there will be cake and music from the Captains of Spaceship Earth, as well as the Lincoln High School marching band. Pattison noted this was only appropriate, as the high school band played when the market opened at its current location in 1983. Rainbow Market has been operating in Lincoln since 1969, when the owners purchased Creer’s Market in what is now the Ace Hardware store. Rainbow moved to its current location on Highway 65 in 1983. Rainbow Market opted not to renew its lease after months of negotiations. Mayor Primo Santini and council members are slated to issue a proclamation honoring Rainbow. “Rainbow’s been part of my life since I moved to Lincoln in 1980,” Pattison said. “Most of the people I know grew up with Rainbow.” Pattison said the market’s owners needed to be recognized for their community service, including longstanding donations to many local charities. She recalled that when the river levee broke in the 1980s and refugees were being housed at the high school, Rainbow brought food for those who were displaced. “I still like going to Rainbow,” she said. “The people are friendly, they know who you are, they take care of you.” It is the personal touch that organizer Charla Barringer said would be most missed. “We’re really saddened, first of all, that they have to close,” she said. “It was such a big deal in our lives. It was always the main store in town. I figured we should give something back, to say, ‘Farewell and we’ll miss you.’” Barringer said shopping in the store a little more than a week before it is scheduled to close was “weird.” “You walk in there and the shelves are getting bare,” she said. “I love the idea of the small town, when you go into the store and know just about every face there. You’ve known them all your life … (Rainbow) is just one more thing to go – it stinks. I realize eventually it’s going to happen – you just don’t want it to.” If you’d like to buy a cake for the party, make a presentation or post a farewell message, e-mail FarewellRainbow@yahoo.com.