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We need more residents/business owners like Campbell

By: Carol Feineman, News Messenger Editor
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Lincoln resident Leslie Campbell is the kind of business owner every downtown needs. She is a cheerleader for the city's success. Campbell opened the popular The Green Goat on 660 5th St. in March 2010. The store features her homemade natural goats’ milk soaps, lotions and scrubs. Candles are seasonal. For almost 2½ years prior, Campbell’s products were only available online (thegreengoat.net). But being in Lincoln’s downtown appealed to Campbell because of its old buildings. “I love the buildings here, the charm,” Campbell said. “It’s a walk back in history. I’m a Southern California girl – we don’t have this kind of culture where everything is old.” While her store is tiny at less than 500 square feet, I easily get lost there as I marvel at her herb- and fruit-scented soy candles and skincare products. Judging from friends who are happy customers, I’m not the only one with that sentiment. The Green Goat is both artistic and soothing to customers. Campbell’s clientele returns regularly to check out her wares. And Campbell wants all businesses in downtown to be successful, not just hers. "We're in an economy crisis. When someone comes in my store, I promote everybody on this block, Al's barbershop, Panadera La Michoacana, the coffee shop," Campbell said. "It's the right thing to do. Everyone here has to be an ambassador for the city. All businesses should support each other." Without fail, Campbell practices what she said former Lincoln economic and redevelopment manager Steve Art suggested last year: Spend $50 every month on three businesses. "It's supporting the businesses and it's supporting Lincoln's tax base," Campbell explained. The business owner also stands up for what she believes in, even if it's not always what others want to hear. Campbell is not afraid to sign her name on News Messenger blogs while others addressing her use aliases. “I don’t fault them for using an alias. I’m comfortable speaking on behalf of my shop,” Campbell said. For instance, Campbell responded last Thursday to the June 30 front-page story, "It's official: Cops, firefighters to go. City Council adopts budget with 3-2 vote." Campbell blogged, "It is inconceivable to me to see, know, and for its Township to Not have a VOICE on Letting go of those who Help, Serve & Protect this Town! I do not get it, Its wrong in so many ways. ... The Library: hmm I know that the Friends of Lincoln Library with its volunteers, Care about our children's future. )))What say the council((( Really? Its the darn summer and perhaps Children would have Loved to go to Their Library, Maybe they cant Drive down to 12 bridges." Campbell's response was due, in part, to listening to Carnegie Library visitors at the venue's closing party the day before. Parents there talked about the need for good places that their children could visit. "I don't know all the facts and I'm not behind the scenes," Campbell told me Friday. "But I'm an outsider who lives here, looking at the obvious. If you take a little from everyone, it will work, in my opinion. If the city manager and his assistant take 15 percent off and tweak their packages, if the public sees they care about the city; that would be a standup, leading by example." Campbell's desire for Lincoln centers on all businesses here "working as a team." It's up to the individual businesss owners, and not the city, to market Lincoln, according to Campbell. She's discouraged when she hears Farmers' Market visitors greeting others after a year’s lapse. “To hear that residents haven’t been here for a year hurts businesses downtown,” Campbell said. “When I hear that, I get sad. Downtown has a lot to offer.” In Campbell's opinion, residents should frequent the main part of town. "A dog wakes up and greets you happily. Every day is a new day for the dog," Campbell said. "If businesses have that same mentality, that 'thank God, you're alive,' we could bring people into town. If everyone can take that lesson from a dog, we would be good stewards of our town." Al Holland, owner of the Lincoln City Barbershop a few doors from The Green Goat, appreciates Campbell’s efforts. “Leslie’s a good businessperson, a good neighbor,” Holland said. “She’s totally supportive of the city of Lincoln and its commerce. She’s just downright good people.” These are extraordinary times. We need caring individuals such as Campbell to help keep us focused.