Businesses Owners Still Believe In Neighborhood

By: Gary Smollen, Chase Moffitt Email
By: Gary Smollen, Chase Moffitt Email

A fire destroyed an Omaha business Monday night and now the owner must decide whether or not to rebuild. It's a decision many businesses have to face at one time or another, but this one takes on added significance along the Ames Avenue corridor.

Up and down Ames you can see businesses boarded up after going under or the owner becoming fed up with the atmosphere. But there are business owners who are scraping together a living and dreaming of success while they work nearly around the clock.

William Dortch is one of those business owners who had a dream of helping others obtain their dreams, so he opened L402 or Love For The 402 Area Code near 65th and Ames Avenue two years ago, close to the laundromat that burned down. His was a kind of convenience store, but the real business was connecting various local artists and promoting them.

"My store is here to say hey, we have entertainers here, we have clothing lines here and we are here to let you know and if you want to be a part of it, that would be beautiful."

It has been a struggle and Dortch has sacrificed a lot. Most recently this past Christmas. Everything thing he does is to ensure the success of L402 as the business entered its third year.

At 66th and Ames, the Yummy Super Buffet has been open for only about two weeks, but the owners are confident their business model will lead to success. "Yes it is, it is especially because we are new to Nebraska so everything is pretty new to us, so we're trying to find a way for us to fit in," said Ada Li.

Neither of the owners were concerned about the laundromat fire earlier this week or the boarded up businesses in the area. They are confident that others like them will want to invest in their business dreams.

Dortch said if he can come up with the money he would like to lease or buy the old Taco Bell, which he said has higher visibility. He has his floor plan ready. All he needs now is the money.

There were no injuries reported in the fire and investigators are still trying to determine the cause.

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