Downtown Lincoln neighborhood sees growth in local businesses
It’s no secret Lincoln is growing, but a new row of businesses on 11th Street in downtown Lincoln is quickly becoming Lincoln’s best-kept secret.
In the past year, at least four businesses have opened on 11th Street between M and L streets. The area is home to a new student-housing complex, Latitude, as well as the College of Hair Design.
Business owners in the neighborhood are hoping to create an environment similar to Omaha’s trendy Benson neighborhood, which houses many local retail shops, bars and restaurants, said Jason Hutchinson, one of the new business owners.
“The 11th Street corridor has a lot of character, and much like Benson, there is a great neighborhood nearby that deserves a quality entertainment district that is more affordable and accessible than the Haymarket district,” he said.
Hutchinson, who opened The Dutch Uncle, 317 S. 11th St., in December 2016, said he enjoys the camaraderie the 11th Street business owners share.
“The nice thing is that many of the business owners have been in a few meetings together to brainstorm ideas on how to help the neighborhood grow and flourish,” he said. “This free flowing of ideas among the business owners seems to help drive business in the area. In addition, when the business owners work together instead of against each other it really makes the area inviting.”
Andria Bohling said she also has felt the love from neighboring businesses.
“We have actually have gotten some business from the bars, and we love the other business owners,” said Bohling, owner of A Better Life Nutrition, a juice and smoothie bar opened its doors on Nov. 9.
She said she thought 11th Street would be the perfect place for her business after seeing the recent growth of other businesses in the area.
“We noticed a recent boom in businesses in the area, and with student housing being nearby, we felt it was a great spot,” she said.
The location also fit in Bohling’s budget, although she did have to complete a long list of renovations.
“The building had to be completely renovated; there was no electricity,” she said. “The construction took more work than I realized, but I feel like it was worth it. I love being in a building with history and character.”
Lower rent also attracted Jason Gieselman and Jacob Williams, who moved their Ink Alley Screenprint and Design from 14th and P streets to the 11th Street neighborhood. The new location also has a large space for screen-printing equipment and a garage door, which makes deliveries for clients easier, Williams said.
“It’s a cool little neighborhood,” Williams said. “It’s probably not what you think of when you think of downtown but I think it’s up and coming. I think that’s natural for areas away from the main hub.”
As The Dutch Uncle nears its one-year anniversary, Hutchinson said is happy with the bar’s success.
“Just like any new business we have had our ups and our downs, but business as a whole has been pretty good,” he said. “Our numbers have been growing weekly and our customer base has been becoming more diverse.”