Everyone does it. If you want to find a nearby business, you “Google” for the closest business of your choice and up pops a map to find your destination. I loved Googling businesses when people first started doing this. It is my goto reference choice on any of my social devices.
The problem is, I live in Minne Lusa (North Omaha).
I love where I live.
Just try googling ANY typical business that you want to find. You will not find it in North Omaha, east of 72nd Street. Just look at the map! We have a virtual “desert of business” that in any other part of Omaha, you have so many choices you practically trip over them on every corner.
(see Tim McMahan’s story at the Reader about searching for a latte)
- Hardware Store
- Grocery Store
- Doctors and Dentists
- Pharmacy: Walgreens, CVS
- Variety Store: Walmart, Target
- Banks and Credit Unions
- Malls: Indoor or Storefront-type
- Fast Food: Pizza, McDonalds, Burger King, Taco Bell, Arby’s, etc
And on and on. It doesn’t matter what you are doing a search on. Compare our very few choices to anywhere else in the city. This is VERY TELLING.
Why? Is it the crime? Yes we have crime up here, but I don’t believe that it is more dangerous than many other parts of the city. Echos of civil unrest (from the 1960’s) have tagged our area as untouchable. C’mon folks that was 50 FIFTY years ago. Really?!!! Get over it already, turn the page. BELIEVE in the good people that live here.
It is a huge shame and lost opportunities for businesses. We spend money up here. We too have shopping and business needs.
The sad thing is, we have been without for so long that we think nothing of traveling 20+ miles to shop or do business in West Omaha, Midtown, The Old Market or even in Council Bluffs. We have stopped supporting the businesses that do serve North Omaha. We do have some business in nearby Florence and Benson, but choices are slim. This has to be turned around.
Although I believe in small business, it would help to have some bigger business come in to anchor a shopping district up here. While I am not a huge fan of Walmart, I applaud their recent store at 50th & Ames. That attracted some other small businesses and shops, even a US Cellular Store. But I could use a Costco or a Sam’s up here. I want a Schlotzky’s, a Runza or an Arby’s. Why am I traveling to Midtown or 120th & L to go to Verizon?
As an aside, we used to have a Shopko up on 30th. To this day, I refuse to shop at any Shopko because they abandoned us and left. So why on earth should I shop there. They don’t believe in the people of North Omaha. To me, they had their chance.
A friend and her husband had a dream of starting their own coffeehouse and worked themselves to the bone to get it going. Huckleberry’s Coffee House & More in Florence was born in October of 2014. I was in shock this morning to hear that they will close their doors next week. I want to cry. I want to scream! Where were the patrons in this area to support them?
When you see a new business in this part of the city, we need to try them out, support and encourage them. I do my part. I shop local when I can. I partner with others in my community (Minne Lusa House friends) to shine a light on these issues with our community newsletter. I encourage you to always shop local, support your community, especially if you are in North Omaha.