The subject is the closing of the Eagle
I have spoken with various staff
members out at the Eagle store, from cashiers and stockers to
assistant managers. Most of them have heard the rumor by this time,
have talked about it openly in their staff meeting, and from the
cashiers to the store manager, no one has heard anything from up above
about the store's closing. However, some of them admit that they
might be the last ones to know.
I wish I could dispel this rumor, but
at this time it will have to remain a rumor.
Some six months ago our Lincoln Eagle
store changed over from a Country Market store to Eagle Discount
Foods. Veteran Eagle shoppers were dismayed that many of their
favorite items either disappeared from the store or moved somewhere
else in the store. Eagle made this changeover because they were
losing market share to the other food stores in town -- Kroger, IGA
and Aldi. The move to become a discount market brought in many new
customers who seem to have become Eagle customers now.
Those of us who have shopped there
forever notice that there seem to be a lot more customers in the
store now. That's a good sign.
While lowering prices may have helped
lure more customers to that store and extend the longevity of that
business here in Lincoln, I think there is something more
fundamental that is keeping customers away from Eagle.
Getting to the Eagle store is difficult
and always feels dangerous. With just one entrance to the store,
which it shares with Wal-Mart, connected to an overcrowded and badly
designed Wal-Mart parking lot, I think shoppers are repulsed and
frightened away. These driving problems place a psychological
barrier to shopping at Eagle that can easily be remedied.
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Compare this to the Kroger parking lot,
with two wide entrances on Woodlawn and another two around the
corner on College, not to mention the back entrance from the east
side. The parking lot at Kroger is easy to get into and most of the
time easy to get out of. But I always feel like I am taking my life
into my hands trying to get to Eagle!
So, let me propose three action steps
here to help preserve our Lincoln Eagle store:
1. We need to shop there more
often; otherwise, it will probably go away. Spread your shopping
around, and keep your money here in the county if possible.
2. Mention to the clerk, the
manager, the assistant manager and just about anyone else you see
who works in the Eagle store that you would shop there a lot more
often if their parking lot was more accessible with an entrance/exit
on the east side of the lot.
3. Contact Jeff Mayfield, the
Logan County economic development director; the Logan County Board;
the Logan County Highway Department; and IDOT to let them know that
we need another entrance to that shopping center because it is just
so darn dangerous!
business Lincoln currently has to be preserved, and more will come
to town if we support them. If not, Logan County will become a ghost
town. It's just that simple.
Pleasantly because I believe Mayfield
will bring something to the job that this county really needs:
enthusiasm, positive outlook and energy.
Jeff Mayfield is an optimist with a
capital "O." He always has a big smile on his face, a boisterous
hello for anyone that he meets and an ear to hear if you have
something to discuss with him. He usually disagrees if your point of
view is negative, cynical or divisive, hoping to adjust your
attitude to help you see things on the positive side.
These are excellent traits for someone
who will help direct our economic efforts in this county.
In the time I have known Mayfield, he
has been an associate minister at Jefferson St. Christian Church, on
staff at LCC/LCS, on the chamber board (was going to be president of
the board this coming year), our primary sportswriter here at LDN, a
sports radio commentator at FIX 96, talk show host on Channel 5,
husband, father and friend. He's the kind of guy that everyone wants
as their friend, every board wants as a board member and every
employer wants as an employee.
Our county is known as the place where
nothing good happens. It was good once, and now it is all downhill
from there. Old things close up, go away, and nothing economically
viable seems to take their place.
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I've long thought that it's because of
the dour attitude most people in this county seem to carry around
with them that few things are tried and many things fail. I've heard
a thousand times, "Oh, that wouldn't work here!" and "Just what were
they thinking when they tried that" and the ever-popular "I could'a
told you that wouldn't work!" Most people around here think this
county is a dead-end, fading, doomed-to-die kind of place.
I do know this -- attitude leads. If
you have a bad attitude, it often becomes a self-fulfilling
prophecy, and usually you'll have bad results.
If you have a good attitude, often the
positive energy that accompanies your rosy disposition can help
carry off a project that other people would forecast dismally.
There are those people out there in the
county right now who are probably questioning Mayfield's ability to
carry this off. While he doesn't have a master's degree in community
development, or a Ph.D. in economic theory, or even an M.B.A., he
has guts and he has spirit.
of that, I can't think of a better man for the job.