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Exploring North Platte’s Canteen District

Published: Jul. 9, 2021 at 10:30 AM CDT
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LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) - Double Dips Ice Creamery is just one of many businesses that has moved into a vibrant part of North Platte’s downtown corridor.

You could certainly say Double Dips Ice Creamery is a welcome addition to North Platte. “I’ve been operating a food truck, or an ice cream truck for the past 10 years, and going to different communities, fairs, and events,” Double Dips Ice Creamery owner Lori Bergman said.

Bergman says she felt a “brick and mortar” ice cream store was needed. “We looked around to different areas, and felt like this was the perfect spot.” Right on the corner of 6th and Dewey in the Canteen District you can get your ice cream fix. “We currently have more than 24 flavors of the hand-dipped ice cream. It is Hiland Dairy ice cream from Norfolk, Nebraska. We also have homemade fudge that we make here in-house. We are always changing the flavors on the fudge. We have homemade cookies, brownies, and ‘blondies’. We have homemade baked pies, malts, shakes, and ice cream sundaes. We’ll make it if you can think of what you want.”

Local residents like coming here, but the store gets visitors off the interstate as well. “A lot of times they are just searching for an ice cream shop, and they want a little break from traveling. For Bergman, it’s a labor of love. “I love it for bringing a smile to people’s faces, and just seeing families come in together. We have a lot of after-school celebrations, and its just fun to see kids with grandparents coming in,” Bergman said.

The building where the ice cream shop is housed, has some history to it. “This has been several things,” Bergman said. “It’s been a bank, it’s been a jewelry store, it was a vacuum store before we took it over. You can see our brick wall. We exposed the brick wall, and took off the plaster. It had drop-down ceilings. We took the ceilings out, and exposed the ceiling tiles.”

The ice cream shop is part of the Canteen District, which is named after the North Platte Canteen. “A lot of people aren’t familiar with (the North Platte Canteen), some are,” business owner Sarah Talbott said. “During World War II, we had the UP line that runs right through town. The local families that were not at war put together food and packages. When the train stopped, and the soldiers got off, they fed them, and it was a big thing. The Canteen is a part of North Platte’s history, so we took that name and instead of just calling it “downtown”. We are the Canteen District.”

Talbott says the Canteen District is having a resurgence. “I would say about five years ago, we would have been at our lowest peak with a 30 to 40 percent occupancy down here,” Talbott said. “We had a lot of buildings that were empty, abandoned, and nothing was happening downtown.” But she says, awnings were removed from storefronts, and the city worked to renovate the streets. Now, the main corridor is full of businesses, like the Cedar Room restaurant. “We have a really good barbecue place on the other end, and a couple of clothing stores in the two block corridor,” Talbott said. “There’s a wine and paint shop that’s coming. So, there’s a lot of fun things that are happening in our downtown area that is just driving traffic tremendously. It’s really hard to actually find a parking place most days downtown.”

Business owners hope you will come downtown and experience the Canteen District. Maybe you’ll get a scoop of ice cream, too. “Just come down and experience what North Platte has to offer,” Bergman said.

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