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College View neighborhood adds character to heart of Lincoln
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INTERSECTIONS | COLLEGE VIEW

College View neighborhood adds character to heart of Lincoln

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The College View area of Lincoln, tucked away in the heart of the city, has its own character.

That's what the business owners of the small neighborhood believe, and live out as the bustling area continues to grow in popularity.

The College View neighborhood is filled with vibrant shops, good eats, a coffee shop that is a Lincoln staple and even a farmers market on Sundays from April to October. It's so popular, that businesses are filing into the small part of Lincoln one after the other.

A mix of businesses new to the neighborhood and a few longstanding traditions make it a destination.

Customers roam the corner of 48th Street and Prescott Avenue and grab a cookie from Goldenrod Pastries.

Then they make the walk down Prescott to the "mom and pop shops," as the owner of Eyes of the World Imports Emily Lanik refers to them.

Lincoln's own coffee shop, the Mill, provides customers with a taste of Lincoln as well.

Plain and simple, the small businesses make College View what it is.

Just ask Clinton Collins.

He owns and operates Home and Closet, a vintage furniture, home goods, clothing and upholstery shop in College View.

"To be honest, I would say this is the biggest small-business area in the whole city," Collins said.

And it's not without its challenges, he said. Collins runs the shop with a limited staff -- a store manager and some other hired hands on the weekends.

He works in his shop in the back of the store, reupholstering chairs, creating custom bags and doing other jobs, but checks every few minutes to provide help to anyone in need.

The atmosphere Collins has created at Home and Closet fits right into the neighborhood. His store has etched its identity into College View despite being in the space for about two years. He moved his shop from 33rd and B in the summer of 2017.

"The space was right and we just really liked what's going on here," Collins said. "We love the fact that there are a ton of small businesses here."

Home and Closet is located in the same space that Conroy's Family Bakery served its rolls, doughnuts, cookies and cakes for 60 years before closing in 2016.

However, Home and Closet isn't the only nomadic business that found its home in College View.

Eyes of the World Imports has had a few different homes since Lanik founded it in mid 1990s. The roots of the store are deeply rooted, no matter its location.

Lanik, the founder and owner, took a trip with her husband to Guatemala in 1992 where she felt and saw the impact of cottage industry for the first time.

It inspired her to bring cottage industry -- and its products -- from places like Mexico and Indonesia to the U.S.

"I was still sponging up the world at that point," Lanik said. "I didn't really know what I thought and reading about things in a book is very different from seeing it with your eyes."

Another trip, this time one on a motorcycle with her mother around the Indonesian island of Bali, helped Lanik grow in the understanding of cottage industry and its economic impact.

She also built relationships with the people creating statues, chimes, pots and countless other products. Today, those relationships continue to keep her shelves stocked with inventory.

"I didn't want it from a factory where people are making 50 cents per day," Lanik said. "I wanted to go to the source."

Twenty-five years later, Lanik said those Indonesian connections -- business associates and dear friends -- fight about who is going to pick her up at the airport when she visits.

Back in College View, the Sunday Farmers' Market brings a truly Lincoln environment to the neighborhood.

Vendors at the market have to live in Nebraska or within 200 miles of Lincoln and have to produce everything that they sell.

"It's truly homemade and organic," Lanik said. "I love that about the market and people who come love it as well."

Collins also enjoys the market and he sees it impact the neighborhood businesses, too.

"It's always busy down here on Sundays and that market really helps," Collins said. "There is already a lot of diverse ages down here, but that brings that out even more."

The small businesses in College View support each other as well, even with a little friendly competition.

The Mill buys furniture from Collins to use in its Prescott Avenue shop.

Lanik grabs lunch at the market and soaks in the atmosphere as quickly as she can before running back to her shop on 48th Street.

There is no shortage of support for other shops as well.

The Funky Sister provides a wide variety of products in its "quaint shop" as glassware, pillows, art and other amenities.

The Guld Edge, Pure Organic Skin Care & Waxing and ABC Book & Bible House make up other parts of the College View neighborhood.

College View offers more than just shops, however.

The Swiss Clock, founded in Lincoln in 2001, is located on Prescott Avenue as well. It offers clock and watch repair and is owned and managed by a Swiss watchmaker, Samuel Grandjean.

"There is so much to offer in this small part of town," Collins said. "I know there used to be more retail shopping down here back in the '70s and '80s. I don't think it really ever went away, but it's definitely getting revamped."

People there, are there because they want to be.

"People are intentionally coming here to shop and to see what places have to offer," Collins said. "It has a special feel to it."

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