The morning meeting,
hosted by Main Street director Wanda Lee
Rohlfs and the organization's president, Roger Matson, kicked off at 8
with a breakfast catered by the Owl's Roost.
Rohlfs opened the meeting portion of the event with a welcome to all
those in attendance and a few comments about the presence of small
businesses in Lincoln and the importance of all small businesses.
Across the nation 99.7 percent of all employers are small
businesses. They employ about 50 percent of the nation's workforce,
including very highly skilled technical workers such as
scientists and engineers.
Mayor Keith Snyder was introduced and asked if he would read aloud a
resolution passed by the Lincoln City Council declaring the week of
May 16 as National Small Business Week in Lincoln.
When Rohlfs took the podium, she commented on the theme of this
year's celebration: "Empowering entrepreneurs while celebrating
Rohlfs said that in thinking of community, it drew her back to
Lincoln Community High School. She said that as she looked around
the downtown square, she saw many business owners and employees who
graduated from the local high school.
She noted some went away to college, but they came back home to start
"There is a reason for that," she said,
"and I have to believe it is because we have a great community."
The Main Street organization is currently collecting information via
a business survey. Rohlfs said the group sent out 200 survey
sheets and so far has received 29 back.
Of the 29 they have so far, they have calculated the surveys
represent 297 employees. Of those, 114 are graduates of LCHS.
Rohlfs said the last survey of employers in the downtown
Lincoln area indicated there were over 600 people employed. Based on
what she has seen so far of the survey that is under way now, she
believes the number this year will be higher.
Rohlfs closed by drawing attention to a handout she had provided and
information gathered by Dr. Bessie House, who is the president,
founder and CEO of the National Center for Entrepreneurship Inc.
House notes that in every successful entrepreneur there will be
several of the following traits: high self-esteem, frugality,
determination, clarity of vision, creativity, salesmanship,
risk-taking, effective management, passion and a strong
Because the meeting was honoring businesses in the downtown area, Rohlfs said she would keep it short so employers and employees could
get back to work at a reasonable time.
She then turned the floor over to Matson to present two achievement
awards on behalf of Main Street Lincoln.
Matson first introduced Tom Harris
Sr., an attorney at law. Harris is a
1941 graduate of LCHS and joined his father's law practice in 1949. He has been practicing law in the same location for over 62
There to see Harris accept his plaque was his son Thomas Harris Jr.,
an attorney and now a judge, as well as his daughter, Julie Harris-Larson.
Harris-Larson is also a well-recognized member of the Lincoln
community as a cartoonist and creator of the nationally syndicated comic "The
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Harris commented: "When I started out in 1949, there were 15 or 20 lawyers in
Lincoln. We all had offices on the second floor, and I'm still there."
Harris went on to say that he always believed it was fitting to have the
attorneys on the second floor and save ground floor spaces for retail
The second person to receive recognition was John Guzzardo of Guzzardo's Italian
The restaurant was first opened by Dominic "Doc" Guzzardo and his wife, Rose, in
1947. John Guzzardo began working in the restaurant with his parents and later
become the owner of the popular eatery. In total, Guzzardo has been serving the
community with excellent food for 53 years.
Guzzardo was unable to attend the meeting, but his plaque was read aloud by
Matson and will be delivered to him as soon as possible.
Matson also went around the room, naming names and acknowledging each person who
had taken an hour out of their business day to spend with Main Street in
celebrating Small Business Week in Lincoln.
Before wrapping up the morning events, Matson took the opportunity to share with
the downtown business owners in the room that the new flower hangers will be
mounted on downtown light posts, hopefully Monday and Tuesday of next week.
The hangers are designed of iron and feature two versions of an Abraham Lincoln
profile, one with his stovepipe hat and one without.
The hangers were made by the industrial arts class at LCHS with help from
Lincoln Iron &s Metal and support from Eaton Corp.
Matson said flowerpots have been prepared by the Logan County Master
Gardeners, and volunteers will work to keep the plants watered and thriving
throughout the summer.
[By NILA SMITH]