Photo by George Lauby
Photo by Joe Chitwood
Photo by Joe Chitwood
Leu Leu's FroYo
Photo by Joe Chitwood
Robin Boeshart at the Enamel Duckling
Photo by Joe Chitwood
Photo by Martin Owen
Excel Screen Printing
Enthusiasm for business and the potential for growth of North Platte’s downtown business district are prime motivators for new businesses on the bricks.A half-dozen businesses opened recently, giving shoppers much more too look at, consider and select.
When we spoke with the new business owners, we found them happy and optimistic.
Here is rundown of recently opened businesses on Dewey St.
Judy’s Grab-A-Bite - 517 N. Dewey
Judy Anderson opened on Nov. 1 after she bought the business from the previous owner. Anderson was interested in the cafe when it was for sale five years ago, but didn't get the bid.
It is the first restaurant she has owned, but she has worked in kitchens and cafes for a very long time, she said.
Anderson said businesses must provide good service no matter where they are located. For Judy’s Grab-A-Bite, that means “lots of homemade, home-cooked meals” on the menu.
The restaurant serves breakfast and lunch from 7 a.m.-2 p.m. Mondays-Saturdays.
She said affordable rent downtown is a drawing card for businesses with limited capital.
“I don’t think rent on this building has changed for at least the last 10 years,” she said.
“Give us a try,” she said. “We need to keep the history of our old North Platte alive.”
The restaurant serves breakfast and lunch from 7 a.m.-2 p.m. Mon.-Sat.
Leu Leu’s FroYo, Wise Choice Health Care - 408 N. Dewey
Tracy Hoatson, the owner of both Leu Leu’s FroYo and Wise Choice Health Care, decided to move her businesses from the south side of town, because she supports the downtown area.
“I moved because I wanted to be here and help get more business here,” she said. “What I envision is like the Old Market in Omaha,” she said. “I would love to have our area refurbished like that.”
She wants to build an outdoor garden in the alleyways and develop an outdoor “sitting area” that all businesses could enjoy.
FroYo serves healthy foods.
“We are an alternative to fast food and we have a lunch menu made of fresh food, with every item less than 500 calories,” she said. Yogurt is the specialty.
“It tastes every bit as good as ice cream but is only 70 calories per serving,” she said.
Hoatson said FroYo also offers meals for diabetics and lactose intolerant customers.
“Our main mission in our store is to bring healthy choices and options to North Platte.”
“Business has been wonderful and has doubled since moving here,” she said. “And I just love to say ‘thank you’ to all the people who do come in.”
“And I do truly believe that no matter what you offer, good customer service is what brings people back.”
FroYo is open from 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Mondays-Saturdays.
At the same location, Wise Choice Health Care is a family practice clinic.
Dr. Steve Boyer, MD and Laurie Soper, APRN, work with Hoatson in the clinic.
“We do life choice health care in a family practice clinic,” Hoatson said. “I am a nurse practitioner and we take all brands of insurance and we also take care of people with no insurance.”
Wise Choice Health Care is open from 9 a.m.–5 p.m. Mondays and Fridays and from 1-8 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
Mallory’s - 404-6 N. Dewey
Mallory’s, a bar, grill and coffee shop with an Irish flavor at is the brainchild of Nickolas Seevers, and now open.
Seevers, 27, received training in hotel management and previously was the director of operations for a five-star Colorado resort.
“The history of the buildings brought me here,” he said. “And they are stable and they are cheaper to get into,” he said. “There is plenty of retail space here. I have all the history of this building; it has been here for more than 100 years. That is what I am going to put up to decorate – pictures of its history.”
Seevers said good hand-prepared food, along with good service, will make his business competitive.
“I want to reach out to all age groups and serve a good product,” he said.
The coffee shop in the south half of his business, offering pizza and hand-crafted sandwiches.
Everything will be made in front of the customer.
“We will make sandwiches to their liking, plus we will have wood-fired grilled pizza and all menu items and drinks will be available for delivery,” Seevers said. “And, we will open the coffee shop at 7 a.m., offering pastries and various coffees.”
The sports bar on the north side of the building is not fully stocked yet. Seevers said it will have an expanded selection.
“We will have a gastropub menu (a fusion of two different styles), charcuterie (a method of cooking dried meats and cheeses) and a little bit of everything,” he said. “Also, we will have pastas and corn beef and cabbage since we have an Irish theme. It will be a full menu, starting at 5 p.m.,” he said. “It will also be a good place to come have a glass of wine or a beer and watch television. We will have 12 TVs – no matter where you sit in the bar, you will be able to see.”
Enamel Duckling Collectibles and Antiques - 406 N. Dewey
Robin Boeshart picked the name Enamel Duckling for her store of antiques, unusual and refurbished items because of a crazy looking cooking pot she found on a shopping trip.
“My cousin and I didn’t know what it was, even though we thought we knew everything,” Boeshart said. It turned out to be an enameled duck cooker.
“We thought the name was cute and chose it for the store. It is catchy and draws attention,” she said.
Her store is open from 1-6 p.m. Thursdays – Fridays and from 10 a.m.–6 p.m. on Saturdays.
This is her first business venture.
“I always enjoy shopping, decorating and arranging things, and when Tracy (Hoatson) bought this building she told me I should come and try my hand at it. So here I am,” she said.
Boeshart said it was a quick decision that has worked out well.
“Business has been good, pretty consistent and now it is picking up. I have a lot of regular customers that come in,” she said.
She is a member of the downtown association.
“If I don’t have something a customer is looking for, I will certainly send them down to one of the other stores and likewise they are great about referring customers to me.”
“I believe my store will succeed because I have unique items,” she said. “Also, I am into giving my customers ideas more than worrying about selling my products. “When I don’t have an item, I like to shop around and find what they are looking for. Especially if it is something specific, I go try to locate it for them.”
Hatheway Ink - 514 N. Dewey
Deborah and Brett Hatheway opened their store Dec. 1, offering custom poetry gifts and unique items.
“My husband writes poetry,” Deborah said, “and we did a lot of customized poetry gifts out of our home for years. I decided to ask my husband about opening a store where we could get our products more out to the public.”
The shop is open 12-6 p.m. Tuesdays-Fridays and 10 a.m.–6 p.m. on Saturdays.
In addition, the Hatheways have a line of unique gifts, including a wide variety of teas and a tea room.
She said one of the most popular things they offer is a gift they call “Timeless Thoughts – Poetry in a Bottle.”
Customers can select a poem, a bottle, fill it with their choice of sand and decorations and place their printed poem inside, she said.
In the tea garden area, they can enjoy a beverage while they work, she said.
Brett can write custom poems for people or occasions, she said.
“My husband wrote a poem that is in the window that represents a captain of a ship going out to sea and coming back with his treasures. That is the theme of the store, all the captain’s treasures are here,” she said.
The stor is good therapy for people, providing a place to reminisce, browse and enjoy each other’s company, she said.
“We are happy to be here on the bricks, enjoy everyone that comes through our door and want to make it a personable experience for each person that visits,” she said.
Excel Screen Print - 414 N. Dewey
Excel Screen Print has moved onto Dewey St. from the former location on East Fifth, next to Kittle’s Music.
Excel is now in the building formerly occupied by the Old Town Square, and before that, Hogan’s Sporting Goods.
The new location allows Excel to offer more products, and provides shoppers with more things to see in their colorful front-window displays.
The relocation of Excel nearly fills all the store fronts on the west side of Dewey between Fourth and Sixth streets.
And, across Dewey on the east side of the street, the big store that formerly held Starz Gymnastics is becoming the home of a Foster Care closet. The move is in the early stages. The store will carry items that are needed by foster families.
This report was first published in the Bulletin's Jan. 25 print edition. It has been updated.