Ribbon Cut

Community welcomes three new businesses in downtown Lincoln with a ribbon cut

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[April 01, 2024]   At noon on Friday Greg Patel and Joe and Michelle Ryan enjoyed a ribbon cutting ceremony at their new business complex at 227 North Kickapoo Street in Lincoln. The event was well attended with people there to support the trio in their new business ventures.

The complex consists of three units beginning on the south end with the new location of Mel-O-Cream donuts. In the center is The Boardroom, a medium sized conference and event room available for rent for small parties and gatherings. The north end is the third business called Copper & Oak which is tagged as a bourbon bar but also offers two dozen craft beers on tap and assorted other drinks including non-alcoholic beverages.

The new construction building is located on the former site of the city owned building that has been used for a variety of purposes by the city, but in the last few years had become more of a burden than an asset to the city. The Lincoln City Council voted to accept bids on the property but the stipulation that the standing building which was in very poor condition had to be demolished and something better would be rebuilt.

Greg Patel and Joe Ryan went in together and placed a bid on the property and the bid was accepted by the city.

It was later announced that the Mel-O-Cream on Keokuk Street which belonged to Patel and Ryan would be moved to the new building the partners were planning to build on the Kickapoo Street location. At that time the intentions for the rest of the property was not announced.

Speaking with Patel prior to the cut, he said that The Boardroom was a good fit to put in between the bourbon bar and the donut store. He said that it was smaller than the banquet center that he already owns, but still large enough for a medium sized wedding reception, board or committee meetings, birthday parties or catered meals.

He explained that the design of the building had been quite intentional with the legal addresses being only 217, Suite A and 217 Suite B. The Boardroom has two barn doors one on the north side and one on the south. The either side can be closed and locked depending on what is taking place in the boardroom. Patel said it worked this way so that anyone having an evening event could have access to the bar without leaving the building. The locked door would then prevent anyone in Mel-O-Cream from entering the area if desired. On the flip side at a children’s party for example, the door to the bar could be locked preventing minors from entering into an age restricted area.

The new Mel-O-Cream is much larger than the old location with seating for those who want to come in for coffee and a donut before heading off to work. The business is also extending its daily hours to seven days a week from 5:30 a.m. to 7 p.m.

On Friday, the crowd gathered behind the ribbon included Greg and Rita Patel, their daughter Isha and parents Manubhai and Kantaben, Joe and Michelle Ryan their daughter Emily and granddaughter Althea, Logan County Fair Queen Ellyn Martinex, Junior Miss Ellie Wrage and Little Miss Kodi Eigenbrod, Lexi Grove of Logan County Tourism, Chad and Chris Larson of Mel-O-Cream International, Lincoln Alderwomen Robin McClallen and Wanda Lee Rohlfs, Mayor Tracy Welch, Karen Castelein of Lincoln Daily News and members of the staff of the three businesses.

Alderwoman Wanda Lee Rohlfs was called on first to speak. She said that as a Ward 3 alderperson the downtown area was part of her district. She said that she was excited for what was developing in the downtown area that would draw more traffic to the area. “What we are all looking for is opportunities for more people to come to Lincoln,” she said. She thanked the trio for their investment in the downtown area and wished them all the best.

Ward 1 Alderwoman Robin McClallen was assisting with holding the ribbon for the cut. She said that she too was excited for the new offering in the heart of the city. She said, “every time (someone) invests in the city, it is like a new block in our foundation of our city and if we all work together to put our blocks in the city will prosper.”

Mayor Tracy Welch said that many new that the former building was a pink monstrosity not very friendly. The council in their wisdom saw an opportunity to make the road into the downtown area better.” But he added that it was Patel and Ryan who had the vision and had made the desire of the council come true.

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Chad Larson of Mel-O-Cream spoke, saying he was thankful for the new ownership of the franchise, he liked the move that had been made and that the new location was bigger and better.

It was mentioned that in Greg Patel there is a story of the American dream realized. Coming to the United States in 1989 when his family moved to Michigan, in 1997 Greg moved to Lincoln chasing the dream of becoming a business owner. He purchased with a partner Quick Way Foods on Keokuk Street and thus began his career as a successful businessman in Lincoln. When talking to Patel, he said that people knew him for his successes but that he has also had his fair share of falters.

He said that a good work ethic and learning from his mistakes and successes had led him to be who he is today. He also said that he had chosen Lincoln because he wanted a convenience store in a college town, and he found that with Quick Way, which was located in a town with not one but two colleges. That is why he chose Lincoln, but he stays here because of the community and the people. He said it is a good community filled with people who do good things and he’s excited when he can be a part of it.

At the ribbon cutting, the next people to speak were Joe and Michelle Ryan. The Ryans are lifelong members of the community. Joe has been representing Country Financial in Lincoln for several years. He is also a notable member of the WLCN radio sports talk show the Cheap Seats. Michelle has been a teacher and is now a wine distributor.

Joe and Greg purchased Mel-O-Cream together two years ago and have since that time wanted to expand the business and make it more customer friendly.

On Friday the next person to speak was Joe Ryan. He said he wanted to express appreciation to his business partner and the staff of the businesses. He said he was thankful for the decisions made by the city, and he was thankful for the folks at Mel-O-Cream International who had been very helpful along this journey.

Michelle was asked to share about Copper and Oak. She said that it was a Whiskey, bourbon and craft beer bar with a high-end atmosphere. She said it was designed with a calm relaxing atmosphere.

The last person to speak was Greg Patel. He began by saying, “this wouldn’t be possible with out the city council, the mayor and Keving Bateman. He said that they had been very helpful and supportive.” He said he was thankful for all that had been accomplished and was thankful for this business relationship with the Ryans.

Ward 3 alderman Kevin Bateman was unable to attend but it was mentioned that he had very much wanted to be a part of the event but had other obligations and therefore was unable to attend.

With speeches completed the group posed of a pre-cut photo then everyone participated in the standard countdown to the snip. The ribbon was cut by Patel and Ryan and the Ryan’s granddaughter Althea.

Mel-O-Cream is open seven days a week from 5:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. with a drive thru option for those in a rush.

Copper and Oak is open Wednesdays and Thursdays 3:30 p.m. to 10 p.m., Fridays 3:30 p.m. to 11 p.m., Saturdays noon to 11 p.m. and Sunday noon to 6 p.m.

[Nila Smith]

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