Another One Bites the Dust

October 12, 2005 at 2:28pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

Klein’s Food Center is closing its doors. After three generations, the old-timey grocery store just couldn’t compete any more. It’s a huge body-blow for the neighborhood around 11th & ‘G’ Streets.

It’s also not a surprise. Klein’s is an anachronism, a store for the wrong age. It’s also dirty and cluttered, and the prices are high. It has been mis-managed for years. A source with insight into the store’s inner workings has related to me many stories of financial disaster and inventory messes. It’s some wonder the store wasn’t forcefully shut down months—or even years—ago.

Still, there’s a certain sadness to seeing a multi-generational “mom ‘n pop” store go under, especially in a neighborhood with few grocery options. Area residents will now have to go to 17th & South or 17th & Washington for their groceries. That’s no easy jaunt for the many who do not own or cannot afford to operate a vehicle.

Expect a “fast money” business to have moved into the store’s location within weeks.

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The Comments

Mr. T October 13, 2005 at 3:33pm

I live a stone’s throw away from Klein’s. As you point out, it will be missed - particularly among local residents who don’t own cars. Luckily for me, I own a car and can drive down to Russ’s on 17th and A (which has recently expanded by the way), but a lot of folks will be hurting. I believe Downtown Lincoln could use a grocery store (and Walgreen’s doesn’t cut it).

I’m no planner or market analyst, but I would guess it would probably be sustainable given the proximity to near south (a dense, apartment-filled neighborhood) and all the unl students in the dorms and greek houses.

Moet October 13, 2005 at 4:03pm

I was sorry to hear Klein’s is closing. When I was a kid I spent quite a bit of time at 12th and G where there used to be two apartment houses (now a parking lot). Sometimes we would walk to Klein’s to get something for lunch. I still drive by from time to time just to see what’s happening there. It will be missed. What does that leave for neighborhood grocery stores—Wagner’s and Leon’s?

Cedric October 18, 2005 at 7:08am

Its sad. Part of the draw when my family and I moved to this neighborhood from Airpark was its proximity to groceries ( IGA on Washington and Kleins) and work ( 11th/M street). Its too bad that yet another little guy goes down with the count. We moved here because when I grew up in Aurora, Il my neighborhood was mixed ethnic, poorer, and had a small grocery/package store, etc. Older houses tree lined sidewalks, etc. Not pre-processed, over developed, and ‘monied’. I want my kids to grow up around differnt types of people and backgrounds-this neighborhood fit the bill.

seeshells October 18, 2005 at 2:23pm

Actually, I don’t believe this was a case specifically of the ‘mom and pop’ store going under, as much as it was that ‘pop’ needed to retire, finally.
Maybe a new ‘pop’ could step up and keep the neighborhood store alive?

And on a similar note, anyone remember Greybeards?

Mr. Wilson October 18, 2005 at 3:38pm

I agree, seeshalls. Klein’s wasn’t a victim to corporatism; it was a victim to a string of poor management decisions.

I’m not sure there are many “pops” left out there crazy enough to take on such a small store in such a risky neighborhood. But if there are, well, good luck to ‘em.

Does anybody know how the nearby daVinci’s is doing? 11th & G always seemed a curious location for a daVinci’s.

Mr. T October 19, 2005 at 1:31am

Davincis, along with Duggan’s, does a lot of business during lunch - mainly from the 111 building (or whatever that is called - with the Nebraska Press), those nearby law and architecture firms and the city/county building. But in the evenings and weekends the place is dead.

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