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Business moves, renovations, changes Tell North Platte what you think
 
Photo by George Lauby
Bible Supplies owners Craig and Nancy Fabik are excited to be moving into a bigger place.
Photo by George Lauby
Cindy Wolfe in her store, Dreams Unlimited, with some of her paintings.
Photo by George Lauby
Photographer Ron Boerner with a display at the Art & Gift Gallery. Exposed piping and other lines have been painted for artistic and historical effect.
Photo by George Lauby
Chris Blakely
Photo by George Lauby
New to You owners Gloria Hayes, left, and Lori Buckingham with baby Jasen.
Photo by George Lauby
Letice Bridges plays in an area reserved for toddlers at New to You.

Buildings are under renovation and small business are developing around North Platte.

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At the Westfield shopping plaza, new occupants are lining up at the former Ben Franklin building.

Downtown, a new store offering unique gifts is open, and the Art and Gift Gallery is under renovation.

On Poplar St., a store full of clean used infants and kids clothing is now open.

A rundown:

Westfield

Bible Supplies, a religious store in the Westfield Plaza, will nearly double in size when it moves across the parking lot into the spacious old Ben Franklin store.

Bible Supplies owners Craig and Nancy Fabik hope to be open in the new building by late June or early July.
“We’re excited,” Craig said. “We’ve grown out of this place.”

Bible Supplies has been in the Westfield Plaza for 20 years. It bean in 1940 as a project of the Berean Fellowship. The Fabiks bought the store in 1990. It was located downtown in the Lincoln Plaza for several years, but moved to Westfield in 1994 when the plaza was torn down to make way for Wells Fargo Bank’s building.

Fabik said has had its ups and downs, but adjusted and seen good times.

“The Lord has blessed us,” Craig said. “We’ve had to adjust at times, but we’ve come up with new innovations. We’ve always focused on serving our customers.”

Besides religious items, the Fabiks offer stamps and United Parcel Services. In 2009, they added a laser printer.

Daughter Alyssa, 25, is joining the business and will specialize in laser printing. She can engrave wood, painted metal and paper. She can personalize plaques, ornaments, medallions, wall hangings and other items, even pocket knives. 

The interior of the old Ben Franklin building will be divided into three stores, each with about 4,500 square feet. Bible Supplies will be in the back, with a new entrance on the north side. Two other businesses will be side by side in the building, facing east.

A medical related business is committed to one of those sections, said Rob Stefka of Commercial Investment Services.
Another 4,000 square feet is available for rent, Stefka said. The renovation involved removal of asbestos flooring. A bigger sewer line will have to be installed, along with new interior utilities.  

Downtown

Cindy Wolfe has been in crafting since she was a child. She has always wanted to open a store, and now that her daughter is grown, she is doing it.

“I learned to crochet when I was five,” she said. “I’ve been selling at craft shows since 1990. It’s always been my dream to have a store.”

Wolfe’s Dreams Unlimited officially opened May 1, offering art, crafts and unique gifts on the bricks at 506 N. Dewey.

She painted and carpeted the interior of the store and set out an array of items, most of them handmade, including furniture and doll houses made by her father and handmade hand lotions and suckers by her mother. 

Cindy makes many items, including paintings, sewn fabrics and personalized coasters made from photos and bathroom tiles. She also carries unique retail gift items.

She is excited to be downtown.

“I’ve always like downtown,” she said. “I’ve checked it out regularly to see what’s new and what the stores are offering.”
“I love crafting,” she said. “It is a life long thing.”

Cindy’s husband Paul Wolfe is a private detective, owner of Wolfe Investigations. His office is now in the back of the store, with a separate entrance. 

Art & Gift Gallery

Chris Blakely bought the historic Dixon building downtown months ago, and has been remodeling and renovating since.
The Dixon Building is the oldest building still standing downtown. It was built of bricks in 1886-87.

More than 125 years later, Blakely is fostering the renovation of four shops -- Reclaimed Brands, the Turquoise Junkie, Golden Creations and the Art and Gift Gallery -- in the building, as well as upstairs offices and art studios.

The art gallery walls have been textured and pegboard removed. New carpets are installed along with new lighting and hangers.

When the work is finished soon, it will be one of the nicest art galleries in central and western Nebraska.

The gallery is operated by nine artists who take care of business in exchange for a place to show their art. The gallery also features visiting shows and a room reserved for guest artists. 

Photographer Ron Boerner said Blakely is a helpful force. 

“We wouldn’t be able to do it without him,” he said. 

New to You

Lori Buckingham, 32, decided to open a store filled with stuff for kids when she was pregnant with her second son.
She opened her store, New to You, at the foot of the Poplar St. overpass on April 15.

“I think this town will benefit from a store for women my age with families,” she said. “People with children like clothes at affordable prices.”

Buckingham not only buys, sells and trades clothes, she carries toys, furniture and strollers too. 
All merchandise is clean, with no tears, she said.

She also wanted to work where she could have her children with her, and this business allows her to do that, she said.
Her mother Gloria Hayes helps her with the baby, Jasen, and office work. Gloria has 35 years of office experience. 

The store also features a children’s fort filled with toys, so kids can play while parents shop.

 

Store for tweens

DP Management of the Platte River Mall in North Platte announced April 28 that Tweenbrands will open a Justice store there. 

Justice serves “tween” girls, ages 7-14 with sizes from 6-20, manager Clarine Eickhoff said.

Apparel, footwear, accessories, and gift items will be found in Justice which will be contained in a colorful 3,500 square feet located at the south end of the mall near Bath and Body Works. 

The nearest stores for Justice can be found in Grand Island and Lincoln. Justice states that they are the “leading retailer in tween girl’s fashion” with more than 950 stores. The store is slated to open in June.

Eickhoff is excited to scratch this store off her wish list.

“You anxiously wait til opening day and then you can breathe a little easier,” she said. “Justice has been a part of our property’s plan and we are pleased that our leasing agents and ownership could accomplish it.”

The addition of Justice allows 94% of the mall to occupied with nationals and regional companies, and brings the overall occupancy rate to 99%, Eickhoff said.

“The diversity of our vendors and tenants make up the entire mall experience,” she said. “We continue to expect great things and Justice will help us continue to be competitive.”

 

This report was first published in the May 7 print edition of the North Platte Bulletin.

 


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The North Platte Bulletin - Published 5/16/2014
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