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Posts from the ‘Business news’ Category


South Lincoln mini-mall springs to life with new shops

The mini-mall (do we still call them that?) south of SouthPointe Pavilions (what pavilions?) sure seems to be filling up with places to eat and shop.

I was there to try one of Hollenbeck Farms’ burgers in their new restaurant, Crave, (and the burgers are awesome, but a bit pricey) and noticed a few doors down a Pepper Jax Grill is “coming soon.” You can already eat at Chipotle, Noodles and then get dessert at Cherry on Top. Not to mention a Starbucks beforehand (who’s counting calories?).

Farther west in the mall there’s a new clothing store called Neebo — a national chain of college bookstores that is a division of Nebraska Book Company. Lots of adorable Huskerwear there.


Food truck saved by frat boys

Update to my last post about the Heoya food truck that found itself in violation of an outdated city code.

A UNL fraternity, Pi Kappa Phi fraternity, has given the food truck a home: In their driveway at 519 N. 16th St.

Read it in the DN here.

We’ll see how long this arrangement lasts before the city finds another reason to shut ’em down.


Food truck shut down over outdated ordinance

The Daily Nebraskan documents the demise of “Lincoln’s first food truck” (?) being shut down for violating a possibly outdated city code.

Read it and weep here.


New digs downtown

I went downtown for lunch last week, and apparently I’ve been away for far too long, because it seemed like new stores had popped up all over the place.

And this is the best part: They weren’t all bars and restaurants!

I first noticed a new clothing store called Pacific and Maine near 14th and O streets — which carries a good selection of Husker wear but also normal clothing that probably targets the college set. As per usual with these kinds of shops, I wanted to buy the beat-up, vintage furniture instead of the clothes — but alas, it wasn’t for sale.

Then while I was stopping by my favorite downtown shop, Stella (which sells unusual clothing and vintage decor), the worker told me to check out a new store around the corner on P Street, Embellish, which has been open about a month.

I liked this store as soon as I saw the string of flashcards hanging in the window. Real, vintage flashcards (school starting, get it?). They carry clothes, some cooking utensils and jewelry in a very nicely appointed place. There’s also a shoe store called Duo at 13th and O that also sells handbags and jewelry, and I’m told Nothing Else next to the Rococo sells mens, womens footwear, handbags and accessories.

What I like about all of these shops is that they are a) not a bar or restaurant — we have enough of those and b) they are not your typical store. Check ’em out.


Craving a Hollenbeck Farms burger?

If you like the meat Hollenbeck Farms sells at the Farmers’ Market, you’ll probably like hearing that they’ve opened up a permanent retail store in Lincoln.

Crave sells burgers in the $6 to $8 range, plus fries. HF Crave actually had a soft (quiet, to avoid being overwhelmed) opening on Aug. 17 in their new location at 28th and Pine Lake Road — between Chipotle and Noodles.

Hollenbeck’s cattle are bred, fed and raised on an Elmwood family farm that dates to 1901. They do not use growth hormones, steroids or antibiotics and their cattle free-range graze on pastures. They also sell lamb and pork.


Downtown post office closure would mean lost jobs — but a better arena view

With the recent news that Lincoln’s downtown post office is being considered for closure — and mail processing moved to Omaha — I have to wonder if arena planners aren’t privately jumping for joy.

Remember when the original arena plan called for the post office to move? That plan was scuttled due to concern that Lincoln would risk losing 200 postal jobs in the process. Given that the arena itself will only create about 60 full-time, permanent jobs, that seemed like a no-brainer.

But now, with the U.S. Postal Service suffering and looking to make cuts everywhere, the prospect of the downtown post office closing is very real (just ask the union members who were picketing at the post office a few weeks ago). The Postal Service is doing a six-week study to see if it would be feasible and cost-effective to move Lincoln mail processing operations to Omaha.

What are the odds that study will say YES! YES! YES!

Often, when city leaders catch wind that a major employer is thinking of moving, the mayor’s office moves, toot sweet, to try to convince them to stay. But in this situation, one has to wonder a) whether you can really convince the feds to do anything and b) whether the mayor’s office will want to make even a feeble attempt to change their minds.

Because face it, that big old post office is very much in the way of the arena development. Frankly, it’s going to look pretty stupid to have a spanking new arena sitting next to a dowdy, huge post office. But 200 well-paying jobs is nothing to sneeze at. I’d love to be a fly on the wall in the mayor’s office when this comes up.


Sam’s Club coming to south Lincoln

So sayeth our friends on the airwaves: Land is under contract west of the Walmart at 84th and Highway 2. Hasn’t closed yet.


What will Lee decision mean for the Journal Star?

That’s what I’m wondering, after reading this story.
If Lee Enterprises was on the brink of bankruptcy before proceeding with this debt refinancing plan, what does its decision NOT to proceed mean for the company’s future? Financial types, tell me what you think.
Here’s an interesting take on the situation.

On a lighter note, County Commissioner Jane Raybould and Lee CEO Mary Junck… separated at birth?


Platte Institute: CIR bill “neither significant nor meaningful” reform

The Platte Institute for Economic Research today called Sen. Steve Lathrop’s CIR bill “neither significant nor meaningful reform of the Commission on Industrial Relations.”

The Platte Institute is a nonpartisan think tank that promotes free enterprise and limited government.

“The legislation under consideration does not remedy an untenable situation but actually makes it worse,” said Platte Institute Executive Director John McCollister. “The bill subjects private business to intrusive subpoenas, rewards failing teachers and doesn’t help governments control and reduce employee costs.”

“Unfortunately the call for significant and meaningful reform has gone unheeded, primarily because it further perpetuates a public policy that fails the taxpayer,” said McCollister.

The Platte Institute called the CIR an “antiquated relic” and said Lathrop’s bill gives it greater authority and no additional transparency. The group said the bill creations confusion by making a complex process even more complex and creates the potential for disparate impacts based solely on the type of employer. For instance, only school districts are permitted to present evidence of an inability to pay –- not cities and counties.

Among their other points:

LB 397 Subjects Private Business to Intrusive Subpoenas
Because the CIR retains its subpoena power, LB 397 could force private businesses to disclose documents relating to wages, health benefits, pensions and retirement in an attempt to compare public to private employers. For example, because Omaha has few in-state public employers for its comparison array of clerical employees, the CIR may compare Omaha with Mutual of Omaha or First National Bank and would have subpoena authority over all relevant employee records.

LB 397 Opens the Door to Mandatory Collective Bargaining
LB 397 could make any staffing issue a mandatory subject of collective bargaining. The recent Omaha Fire case made a distinction between purely managerial staffing issues and staffing issues related to “safety”.

LB 397 Rewards Failing Teachers
LB 397 further undermines the authority of school districts to assign teachers to underserved or “academically underachieving” schools by requiring districts to negotiate incentive pay for new and existing teachers. This could provide up to a 20 percent raise to the teachers who created the circumstances for the “underachieving” designation in the first place.

LB 397 Does Not Cut Spending
LB 397 allows the CIR to create an hourly rate value based on insurance premiums and pension values to adjust wage rates. Only wages for new employees or demoted employees may be diminished, wages for existing employees can only be frozen until they are below comparability – i.e. they can never be diminished.


Journal Star parent company “on verge saving itself from bankruptcy”

Today’s issue of the Wall Street Journal says Lee Enterprises — the Lincoln Journal Star’s Iowa-based corporate owner — is “on the verge of bankruptcy, foiling a group of its debt holders betting on a default.”

According to the WSJ, Lee has about $1 billion worth of debt (or six times its earnings) and has “long been high on the list of potential bankruptcies” but is preparing to sell junk bonds that would enable it to pay off its obligations and “give it a new shot at survival.”

The WSJ says “what is good news for the company has thwarted the plans of a flock of ‘vulture’ investors… which have been buying Lee’s loans.” The group was betting Lee would default and they could turn their holdings into an ownership stake, giving them access to the company’s assets (newspapers).

“Lee’s demise looked so inevitable that some of the investors even conferred two months ago to discuss the most favorable ways to restructure the company,” the WSJ reported. Lee took on most of its debt when it bought the Pulitzer chain of newspapers, led by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, at precisely the wrong time.

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