Main Street Lincoln is a part of the National Trust for Historic
Preservation and one of over 1,200 such organizations throughout the
United States that is dedicated to the historic preservation and
revitalization of the heart of a city: its downtown region.
The city of Lincoln is fortunate that in the downtown area, there
are still several small businesses that operate on a daily basis,
offering a wide variety of goods and services to the community.
Additionally, Lincoln has held on to its historic structures for
the most part in their original forms, choosing to draw attention to
their beauty, rather than hide them behind modern facades.
The Main Street organization works to promote the downtown area
as a vital part of Lincoln with much to offer the citizens of the
Wednesday morning the Main Street Lincoln office attracted
several local business owners as they came together for a time of
good food, fellowship and to talk a few minutes about their
Mayor Keith Snyder read a proclamation from the city of Lincoln
recognizing all the small-business owners and declaring May 23-29 as
Small Business Week in the city of Lincoln.
The Main Street organization offered several awards to local
businesses, recognizing them for a variety of achievements.
Miller & Miller Attorneys at Law were given the Milestone Award
as having practiced law in the downtown area for 100 years. The
award was accepted by attorney Steve Miller.
The Sole Proprietor Award was given to Bill Bree, owner of Three
Roses Floral on the west side of the square, and Sherwin Williams
received the Corporate Award.
The Pink Shutter Thrift Shop was honored with the Shining Star
Award as a service organization operating on McLean Street, just
north of the square. Present to accept the award for Pink Shutter
were volunteer Shirley Dittus, store manager Jennifer Heidbreder
and Lynne Metz, the volunteer and special services manager at
Abraham Lincoln Memorial Hospital.
Pink Shutter has been in business in the downtown area for 49
years. It is owned and operated by the Abraham Lincoln Memorial
Hospital Auxiliary, and all the proceeds from the store go to
support Auxiliary programs, which ultimately benefit the hospital
and the patients they serve.
Metz spoke briefly about the program, saying that the dollars
earned in the business stay in the community. She also noted that
the goods they offer are gently used, good-quality clothing for all
age groups, both male and female. She said that shoppers can clothe
their entire family at a fraction of the cost of full retail.
Charlie Lee was on hand to accept the Main Street Board's Choice
Award for the Lincoln IGA. Roger Matson, who is the Main Street
board president this year, emceed the awards presentation. When he
recognized IGA, he noted their outstanding service to the public and
expressed Main Street's appreciation for all that IGA has done to
When Lee spoke to the group, he may very well have expressed the
sentiments of everyone in the room when he said: "If you're a small
business uptown on the square, there will be times that you are
discouraged. But we keep going forward, we keep pushing."
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Wanda Lee Rohlfs, executive director of Main Street, spoke about
the achievements of the organization, such as the restoration of the
Scully Park fountain, the great success of The Art of Wine during
the Lincoln Art & Balloon Festival, the Railsplitter Auto Club
cruise-ins held monthly on the square, and the implementation of the
new Main Street Saver Card.
She also spoke about hopes for the future of the downtown area,
including the streetscape beautification project and a need to
encourage the revitalization of downtown living space.
She said that the small-business owners in the downtown area were
truly the foundation of everything Main Street is trying to
accomplish. She noted that with approximately 650 employees in the
downtown area, the heart of the city was a vital part of its
Snyder discussed briefly a hope that the city will be able to
find funding through its budget as well as grant funds for a
sidewalk beautification project that will over time create a
corridor from Latham Park to Scully Park.
Throughout the morning, business owners such as David Lantermann
of Beans and Such, Melody Shew of MKS Jewelers, Barb Reinwald of the
Treasure Chest, Ed Malkowski of the Owl's Roost and Melissa
Fleshmann of Absolute Harmony spoke about the choices they made in
operating businesses in the downtown area and why they feel their
decisions were the right ones.
Also speaking briefly about their involvement in the heart of the
city were Gene Rohlfs of Level Best Building Services; Jennifer
Heidbreder of Pink Shutter; Roger Matson, owner of Action Rentals
and Action Cash Advance; Bill Donath of the Logan County
Genealogical Society; Richard Sumrall of the Lincoln Public Library;
and Kent Hulett, chief of the city of Lincoln Fire Department.
Others who were present for the morning of honors were Main
Street board members Judy Conzo, Jackie Baker and Theresa Richert,
as well as Rhonda Malkowski of the Owl's Roost and Mary Lantermann
of Beans and Such.
The last person to speak up during the breakfast was Steve
Aughenbaugh of the State Bank of Lincoln. Aughenbaugh said it
was ironic that in a year of turmoil in the banking industry, the
State Bank of Lincoln had the best year it has ever had. He said
that not only had the bank purchased a facility in Clinton; they had
also been able to expand the bank in Lincoln. He said he was happy
to be a part of downtown Lincoln.
The morning ended with presentations of door prizes and $10 in
Main Street Money.
Matson and Rohlfs expressed their appreciation to all who had
taken time out of their busy days to help Main Street Lincoln honor
those who serve as the foundation of the downtown area: the
small-business owners who spend untold hours working to make the
downtown area what it is today.
[By NILA SMITH]