Omaha's Old Market seeks to return to business as usual

Published: Jun. 6, 2020 at 7:57 PM CDT
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The Old Market is trying to get back to some semblance of normal after a rocky week.

And with curfew tonight rescinded, business owners hope customers return to the area.

“Last weekend we were halfway busy -- and then all Hell broke loose around 10 at night. It was really crazy down here,” said Mark Donovan, owner of Magical Journey Carriage Service.

He has been giving rides in the Old Market for more than 40 years.

He said 2020 has been a tough year so far.

“I think it’s a combination of things. The curfew, COVID-19, and the protests. For sure, we have been impacted. Business is very slow,” he said.

Donovan said when the area exploded last weekend, he tried to find a route to get his horses to safety.

He got help from an unexpected source.

“The protesters were actually concerned about us. They were saying ‘don’t go that way, there’s tear gas’ and they were yelling at people ‘don’t honk your horns, you’ll scare the horses.’ The horses weren’t scared but still, (the protesters) were stopping traffic for us, so they were really helpful,” Donovan recalled.

Bishwodep Karki and his family operate the Little King in the Old Market. They’ve been running the franchise for about a year.

Karki said business is finally starting to pick up.

“There were a lot less people outside. A lot less traffic and everything, but now it has picked up. We’re seeing a lot more people and business has been much better than the previous two weeks,” Karki said.

He doesn’t see an issue with protesting as long as it’s done the right way.

“The message that people are trying to send, that can be said peacefully, too. So the violence -- I don’t think it’s necessary,” Karki added.

With no curfew tonight, Karki and Donovan are hoping for a return to business as usual.

“I’m optimistic, but I’m also on high-level alert because you never know,” he said.

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