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Commentaries posted do not necessarily represent the opinion of LDN.  Any opinions expressed are those of the writers.

Is this the right time to go into business?

By Jim Youngquist

[Click here for Feb. 28 article on LDN's Business page.]

The rumor mill

By Jim Youngquist

[FEB. 1, 2003]  There's a special rumor going around town, along with all the other rumors. The various news organizations get wind of such rumors, call the people who are involved, and attempt to make news out of them with important things like facts and quotes. This one will have to stay a rumor.

The subject is the closing of the Eagle food store.

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!

Every 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.

[Jim Youngquist]

Attitude leads

By Jim Youngquist

[JAN. 28, 2003]  Well, I'm finally reacting to the news that the new economic director for Logan County has been named. Looking back, I was shocked and pleasantly surprised to find out that Jeff Mayfield had been selected.

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.

And because of that, I can't think of a better man for the job.

[Jim Youngquist]

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