Jeff, Vickie Doris target Linton's downtown

Tuesday, June 8, 2010
HELPING THE DOWNTOWN: Jeff and Vickie Doris, owners of Linton Family Pharmacy and Main Street Gifts, have recently formed the Linton Redevelopment LLC. The company has a mission to profitably save and rehabilitate historic landmark properties that are within the federally designated Linton Commercial Historic District into structures capable of hosting mixed business, municipal and residential occupants with 21st century needs. The couple is shown here inside the former furniture building located at the corner of A and Main Streets. (Photo by Timberly Ferree)

Information on development in downtown Linton was shared with local business owners in a luncheon meeting hosted by the Greene County Economic Development Corporation on Monday at the Old Bank & Company restaurant.

Jeff and Vickie Doris, owners of Linton Family Pharmacy and Main Street Gifts, have recently formed the Linton Redevelopment LLC. The company has a mission to profitably save and rehabilitate historic landmark properties that are within the federally designated Linton Commercial Historic District into structures capable of hosting mixed business, municipal and residential occupants with 21st century needs.

A key strategy of this mission is to make full use of all available federal, state and local tax incentives and grants and well-qualified local contractors.

Jeff Doris provided details on the new venture, how it started and how he hopes it will benefit downtown.

"We've owned the (Linton) Family Pharmacy for 13 years and we wanted to improve and renovate the current building," he explained.

That initial purchase was followed by the purchases of the former furniture store on the corner of A and Main Streets, the former Cine building, the former Harrah Realty Building, and the old city hall.

"The furniture store was bought with the expectation to tear down and put up a new building. We wanted to build something that would have meshed with the downtown feel," he said.

But, that plan has changed and now the old furniture store will be renovated and may house the pharmacy, gift shop and living space.

"It's 16,000 square feet and we want to add an additional 4,000," he said after the meeting.

Vickie Doris also added, "The pharmacy building has never served the best and never was the choice building (for the business)."

During the meeting, Jeff also called the former city hall structure "a very noble building" that has had some demolition work done on the inside.

He also shared the company vision which says that historic structures be rehabilitated with purpose to create and foster an environment that will support economic growth and provide employment, convenience and increase the quality of life in the Greene County area.

"This economic growth will help to build a nascent tourism industry currently tied to Greene County destinations such as Goose Pond Fish and Wildlife Area, the Greene-Sullivan State Forest, Shakamak State Park, Redbird State Riding Area, Piankeshaw Trails, Shawnee Theatre, the Linton Music Festival, Marsh Madness and the Linton Freedom Festival parade," he added.

Stan Palma, project developer/manager, said the project has three phases.

Phase I involves work on the furniture building plus the street front to the alley.

Phase II includes old city hall plus the quarter block.

"They (Jeff and Vickie Doris) have interesting new businesses they want to develop there," Palma said.

Phase III includes the Cine Theatre building.

Jeff Doris was later asked about a timeline on the project and what work has been completed.

"We've started the biggest part of the first phase and we've done some engineering studies," he said, adding a survey on the city hall building has been conducted and economic advisors have started to look for funding.

"There is no timeline. I have hurdles in my head that I want to jump at certain points," he explained, later adding two-and-a-half to three years.

During discussion, local business owner Kathy Matthews thanked Jeff and Vickie for their commitment to downtown and added, "I love the layout of our town and hate to see the deterioration."

In closing, Jeff said, "This area has tremendous assets, whether you like the Goose Pond or not ... it's not going away ... why not get people in Indianapolis to come here and stay at a bed and breakfast, watch a show at the Cine. ... All of the assets are here, it's just a matter of using them."

Joan Bethell, executive director of GCEDC, agreed and asked business owners what they want Linton to be known for?

She also said, "The bottom line is that the project is designed to positively impact the downtown area."

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  • I think what you guys are doing is great!!! I would LOVE to see the old Cine open again!! I can remember going there with my dad as a kid and would love to be able to make those kind of memories with my kids. Thanks for helping to improve our town!

    -- Posted by LintonMom0002 on Tue, Jun 8, 2010, at 4:50 PM
  • *

    I've heard [RUMOR ALERT] that the old Cine is almost irreparable and owned by someone who does not really care.

    I'd agree that it would be wonderful it we could save it.

    -- Posted by per moenia urbis on Tue, Jun 8, 2010, at 5:07 PM
  • per menia urbis... Ive heard its back in good hands now.

    -- Posted by downtownalleycat on Tue, Jun 8, 2010, at 5:41 PM
  • If anyone is going to do it and do it right it is going to be Jeff and Vickie for sure. Thanks guys for not half *ing it.

    -- Posted by downtownalleycat on Tue, Jun 8, 2010, at 5:47 PM
  • What a lofty and noble challenge that will be successful when the community works together. Keep the projects in the news. The "Nay" sayers might just get excited enough to help. Linton will never be a metropolis but a great place for folks who want to be neighborly and caring.

    My first hourly paid job was at P. N. Hirsch, located in the building referred to as the old furniture store. Bill Foglesong was the manager. I learned a lot from him, his wife Jo, Olive Stark, Edna Clayton, and Bill Hale--fellow employees.

    An added interest: include the history, along with pictures from the past, and as work progresses, of each building when they are restored.

    -- Posted by Kay Morrison on Tue, Jun 8, 2010, at 6:39 PM
  • I concur, krebstar. We need a lot more pride in our community -- from business owners to homeowners -- in all WE do... even just mowing your yard at home and spraying weeds around your business. And bringing outside money into this area, not sending it out through chain stores, is our ONLY option for success.

    -- Posted by The Raven on Tue, Jun 8, 2010, at 9:43 PM
  • I think they also restored the Pilmier building in Bloomfield and did a fantastic job on renovations.

    -- Posted by peanut338 on Tue, Jun 8, 2010, at 10:00 PM
  • i think you all are crazy,we cant keep our schools going,and we are going to try to get taxpayer money to fix up a bunch of moldy old buildings. These buildings should be condemmed,and torn down. And before you tell me I dont care about the past and nostalgia,I will tell you im all for saving history,but Im more interested in the future of our schools,and getting taxes in line so we can afford to eat and have medical care. If the folks of family pharmacy want remodel (their) buildings,let them pay for it.The taxpayers cant afford it. I also havent seen this great flood of people,or money arriving to visit the goosepond,my job takes me thru the goosepond,several times a day,and I never see anybody there. It is a bigger scam than the home building place that scammed us a few years ago.

    -- Posted by miner49 on Wed, Jun 9, 2010, at 12:10 AM
  • Waste of money we cant afford i see no one at goosepond and we already have a cinema we need jobs.

    -- Posted by anonomous02 on Wed, Jun 9, 2010, at 12:40 AM
  • You know I am one for fixing this town up. When I left here over 20 years ago there was so much more to do on main street. But on the other hand I wonder where the tax payers money does go..It isn't to the wonderful kindergarten program at the school. It will cost me 200.00 dollars for an all day program and I have checked with other schools and this is not the case. Why is Linton diffrent. Do our children not deserve the same thing? Next year I have a set of twins WOW WOW WOW.......

    -- Posted by campbellsoup on Wed, Jun 9, 2010, at 12:51 AM
  • I think this is a wonderful undertaking and I am thankful there are people like the Vickie and Jeff that have the ability to think outside the box. I have visited other cities much the same size as Linton that have folks who have worked together to make their city attractive to tourists and have witnessed first hand that it can be done. We need to quit being negative and sitting back expecting others to help and get busy and help ourselves. Jeff and Vickie are giving us an opportunity to do so by giving us this great start! As for those of you who are worried about their tax monies being spent in the wrong places, if you check I'm sure you will find this is just like other grant funding and opportunities we have passed up. The money available to these kind of projects has already been ear-marked for such projects. It MUST be used for such projects and can not be used for any thing other than historic renovations etc. It can not help our schools, cities, or any of the other things being effected by government budget must be used to do projects like the Doris family is undertaking. This time lets be thankful that we have someone with the foresight and ability to put the money in our community instead of letting it go elsewhere. We have, in the recent past, passed up the opportunity to help our youth, our parks and our elderly by being "closed minded" citizens who fight change. Let's be supportive of this opportunity and the Doris family and we might just find that a little bit of positive attitude can be a great thing for everyone in our area!

    -- Posted by Oldcmw on Wed, Jun 9, 2010, at 1:20 AM
  • "Cheap patch jobs, metal siding, residential windows" when I drive thru town, these very sights somehow saddens me.

    I believe these are the results of two things.

    One, the lack of real estate covenants and restrictions. These would require money to enforce that no one has.

    And two and more to the problem, the lack of confidence that the downtown will ever return to its past glory of the main downtown business.

    I am old enough to remember Linton's downtown glory days. I too do not think downtown will ever regain anything over its current status, and that is indeed sad.

    If anyone could show me wrong, wouldn't that be a wonderful thing.

    -- Posted by Ex-Pat on Wed, Jun 9, 2010, at 9:58 AM
  • Even though there are a lot on "unknowns" as far as which direction our city will go, one thing I am 100% certain of - in 50 years, in 75 years and even in 100 years from now, Linton will exist in some form.When I see the caliber people such as the Doris's and others that are willing to put their resources and time towards long-term goals, it is very encouraging to me.

    Even though I and most of the folks reading this will be long gone 50 or 75 years from now, I like to think that those following us will look back and be eternally grateful that someone actually cared about what they will inherit.

    -- Posted by old linton native on Wed, Jun 9, 2010, at 10:10 AM
  • Congratulations not just to Jeff and Vickie Doris but to the town of Linton. I live in Evansville and the city has been trying for years to bring people back downtown and with the construction of some residential lofts, and a few new attractions the people have returned. I hope Linton experiences the same results and more people begin to take pride in what will always be my hometown.

    -- Posted by 3Setsof10 on Wed, Jun 9, 2010, at 11:15 AM
  • Ideally, this sounds like a noble undertaking.

    Realistically, this sounds like an undoable project.

    The buildings mentioned will take hundreds of thousands of dollars to make usable. I agree with miner49 that personal money should be used to compete with other personal investments already made by risk-taking entrepreneurs.

    I would be upset if someone used government funds to compete against my own personal investment.

    -- Posted by cow rancher on Wed, Jun 9, 2010, at 1:46 PM
  • Would love to see some more downtown housing options. Loft/Studio Apartments. Part of bringing the action back to downtown is to actually bring the people downtown. Will help offset costs of owning and maintaining a building. There is so much waisted space forgotten about. Lets put it to use.

    -- Posted by downtownalleycat on Wed, Jun 9, 2010, at 3:29 PM
  • Small town revitalization takes vision and a true heart-felt commitment and passion for the community in which you live. These are good people! They live and work within our community.

    Kudos to the Doris' for investigating available federal, state and local tax incentives and grants. That's smart business. Besides, these funds only benefit the community! And if you think these incentives will pay for these projects, get a clue! Jeff and Vickie will be investing significant amounts of their own monies back into the community through these projects.

    But they won't succeed without our assistance and patronage. The least we can do is show them our support. To provide them with a pat on the back. Give them a wave, a smile and a thank you.

    Shop at Main Street Gifts and Linton Family Pharmacy. Because they support our community!

    -- Posted by b-sting on Wed, Jun 9, 2010, at 6:41 PM
  • Campbellsoup,

    The state (your tax money)only pays for 1/2 day of kindergarten. In a sense, the school is taking away money from other kids at other grade levels so you ONLY have to pay $200. Ask Governor Daniels to send more money to schools.

    $200 dollars for an extra 3 1/2 hours of school instruction over 180 days is less than 33 cents an hour.

    Some schools in the state are charging around $200 per month for full day kindergarten.

    I can tell you this....Try to send your child to day care for half a day for a little over $1/day.

    No disrespect....Just perspective.

    -- Posted by THE END on Wed, Jun 9, 2010, at 8:53 PM
  • krebstar,

    The best thing for farmers is for the government to get out of the way and allow us to have free market competition with the world.

    I grow my own corn and have never accepted government subsidies for anything. Actually, the cows prefer hay most of the time. The corn is used as a way to help fatten them and generally provide some more protein than the grass can offer. There are too many strings attached to receiving government money, much like grants and bond issues.

    I know this; before the cine theater was donated to the city, I asked the owner what the estimate was just to fix it's roof. She said "well over $100,000", not including the damage to the interior. The firemen used to take people on tours of the old fire station. I particularly remember one fireman (unnamed on purpose)showing me how he could shake the walls by just pushing against them. There is a reason the town built a new staion to replace the old station.

    I know there is risk to the project. Some of the structures named (especially the furniture building), however, just need to be torn down and built with modern technology.

    I hate to see our money used to resurrect the dead and turn into another Union Station like Indy. It would be nice to see a vibrant downtown if the masses could tear themselves away from Walmart.

    Go meat! (except krebstar, you can stick to your balogna) Don't slam farmers the next time your mouth is full of food.

    -- Posted by cow rancher on Wed, Jun 9, 2010, at 8:59 PM
  • A place one could visit to see what has been done correctly and successfully to a downtown area is Greenfield,In..the old buildings that could be saved have been...some have beautiful apartments upstairs with gorgeous architectural details and businesses would be nice to see upscale apartments for the over 55 folk downtown with small private courtyards or decks...having a plan on paper for potential buyers or renters might just pull enough interest to keep developing these is also important that areas be reserved for those who wish to experience quieter makes much sense to locate people with children in another section..

    -- Posted by on Wed, Jun 9, 2010, at 9:46 PM
  • Free enterprise= no tax money. Freedom does not enslave itself to the government.

    To be "pretty sure" that the renovation will be privately funded is "pretty" uncertain.

    Obama was "pretty sure" unemployment wouldn't go above 8% if we passed the TARP and stimulus immediately. He was also "pretty sure" the healthcare plan would pay for itself only to find out after it passed that it immediately increased our deficit by $1.4 trillion. So, pardon my skepticism, but whenever our money is spent on things without my permission, then I would prefer just to have my money back. I think I know what to do with it better than the government.

    I really don't care who succeeds or fails as long as they are allowed to do both. If all personal money is used on personal assets, then go for it. If it provides service and supports the community, then I'll support it.

    Here is the part that bothers me;

    "A key strategy of this mission is to make full use of all available federal, state and local tax incentives and grants...."

    Understand my point or not?

    -- Posted by cow rancher on Wed, Jun 9, 2010, at 10:30 PM
  • What a great story! Good luck with this project, this is exactly what Linton needs. As someone who grew up in the Linton area; I come back often to visit and vacation. It is great that Linton has a little downtown life left. The Bank Restaurant, The Coffee Shop, the new Hot Dog Restaurant have all helped in keeping downtown alive. A lot of local people do not realize how important having a downtown is for people visiting and to keep them coming back. Walmart's and fast food restaurants are everywhere, they have no personality, nothing that have long lasting memories. I can still remember "The Greeks Resturant" Daisy Cigar Store, The candy at Murphy's, The Rexall Soda Fountain. All these places, and businesses like that are good for tourism and make Linton a nice place to be from and return to. You are on the right track, keep moving.

    -- Posted by inhomeboy on Thu, Jun 10, 2010, at 1:59 AM
  • Rancher... "Here is the part that bothers me;

    "A key strategy of this mission is to make full use of all available federal, state and local tax incentives and grants...." "

    Why wouldn't you make use of these tax incentives when thats what they are there for? Be pretty unwise not taking advantage of these opportunities they are set aside specifically for these types of projects.

    -- Posted by downtownalleycat on Thu, Jun 10, 2010, at 2:02 AM
  • I guess I'm from the old school.

    When my spouse and I first got married, we were poor and qualified for food stamps. However, we just had too much pride and made the decision not to be the type of people that wanted to be entitled to our government. We certainly didn't have much, but did survive with our personal goals and morals intact. I believe we are better people for having to make our own way.

    Sure, we ate a lot of Raman noodles and Velveeta for a couple of years, but it made us more adherant to personal budgets and better planning.

    Today, we are fighting a government that has unfunded liabilities (which include medicare, medicaid, social security and the new healthcare plan to name a few) of over $109 TRILLION as of today (check this link for the exact number

    Why would someone, voluntarily, put themselves smack dab into that system verses saving some money then paying cash for it as they go?

    I guess that is the reason our country is in the financial shape it's in.

    Let's vote out all the losers who supported the healthcare plan, TARP and stimulus and hire some folks who know something about running a business.

    I understand taking advantage of the tax incentive (it's our money), but I don't understand taking money away from taxpayers , in grants, to fund a personal project. The money in grants should be kindly denied and returned to the taxpayers. With the good people voting November second, America should be well on it's way to repealing the ridiculus Obamacare and reversing the National debt so our children have a chance at having the same America that we had.

    Common sense dictates that we all take some responsibility for our actions. This is a lesson that our legislature will soon learn.

    -- Posted by cow rancher on Thu, Jun 10, 2010, at 8:09 AM
  • Congrats to the people of Linton who choose to move forward while preserving the past!

    If the grant money is out there, I am grateful Linton received it. I have pride in my hometown and would love to see it improved with not only renovation, but by people who see a vision for the future of Linton.

    For those of you who love your beautiful city, please support this couple on their journey.

    -- Posted by livinlinton on Thu, Jun 10, 2010, at 9:58 AM

    -- Posted by susie on Thu, Jun 10, 2010, at 1:23 PM
  • I agree with Jeff and Vickie! And I'd rather go to Linton Family Pharmacy any day over Walmart, more friendly and definately FASTER! When I was a teenager back in the 60's there was no better place to go than Linton. You had the Drive-In, the Cine, and the Canteen. There was lots more to do too but now what does the teenagers have to do? Hang Out at Free Parking-----where they can find lots of trouble to get into--I think its great to try and put something positive back in the downtown area. More people should get behind projects like this. Also need more things also for our teenagers to do.

    -- Posted by Scorpio1969 on Thu, Jun 10, 2010, at 2:31 PM
  • I'm certainly happy to see the outpouring of support for this project and for Jeff and Vickie. Again, as community leaders, their intentions are NOT personally motivated. They truly care about the community in which they live and work. This is one of the most humble and compassionately caring couples that you would ever meet. With that said, they are also very astute and successful entrepreneurs. For this vision of downtown to be successful, it will require a public/private partnership. It will require support and backing by those of us in the community. And it will require our continued patronage of Linton Family Pharmacy and Main Street Gifts vs. Walmart and other such businesses. Please, shop local allowing for local reinvestment into our community.

    Concerning the comment "I would be upset if someone used government funds to compete against my own personal investment." This simply shows me the short-sightedness of some. It's not about your personal investment. It's about the community. Trust me, I'm a capitalist at heart, but I also do believe that we have a responsibility as business owners to give back. And if Jeff and Vickie can profit in this venture, which I sincerely hope they do, the community will only benefit more. Because their intentions are pure and not self-centered. They aren't focused on competing with your investment. I'm not not even sure what your "personal investment" is, but I whole-heartedly support the use of any available federal, state and local tax incentives and grants for this redevelopment.

    And to the point "I understand taking advantage of the tax incentive (it's our money), but I don't understand taking money away from taxpayers, in grants, to fund a personal project." Do you really see this as a personal project for the Doris family? There's no ego involved here. They're not building Trump Tower. It would be much easier and less expensive for them to simply buy a plot of land outside of town and build a new building. They've chosen to NOT do that. Instead, they're attempting to revitalize the downtown community in which they live and work. This is a couple that has set-up roots here. They're involved in the community. Do you not see the value and benefit that this project would bring to the Linton and Greene County?

    Jeff and Vickie, thank you. Thank you for your vision, for your continued support and your love of Linton and all that it has to offer.

    -- Posted by b-sting on Fri, Jun 11, 2010, at 12:43 PM
  • Are you kidding? They or I wouldn't do the extra work unless I could profit.

    Once the profits come in (and after they pay the new 39% tax rate in January-since the democrats won't extend the Bush tax cuts) then let's see the amount of charitable donations come rolling in.

    B-sting, since you are so sure of their motives, please inform us when you believe the downtown has sucessfully been renovated. I bet that will be right after phase one is done, not phases 2 and 3.

    Since you are trying to convince others of their pure virtues and altruistic motives, then why don't they do Phase 3 first, or phase 2?

    Of course profit is the motive. That is why the pharmacy needs moved to a different location first. It is also why the "free money" is a key component of the plan. To ensure profits.

    By the way, how can anyone afford to own a building downtown since our treasurer (with the help of the assessor)has billed the current building owners an extra 200% over last year? We have a couple and one has gone from $1,200/year to $3,600/year. I knew, as soon as the legislature froze property tax rates, that the next thing to go up would have to be the assessments. It is only a two variable sytem.

    If the downtown ends out not having to tear down a plighted building then that is a side-effect of personal profit.

    If my cows produce better tasting beef from keeping them on good feed, then that is a side-effect to my making profit from a faster feed-to-gain ratio and a higher selling weight. Profit first, then we can give to charity from our profit.

    I was real excited to hear a democrat leader admit, last night , that once the capital gains rate goes from 15% to 20% jan. 1, 2011 (along with the higher income tax rates)that the next thing they will work on is to eliminate the mortgage tax exemption. These folks need to go before they bury the remaining entrepreneurs and small business owners in America.

    -- Posted by cow rancher on Fri, Jun 11, 2010, at 4:26 PM
  • I like what you had to say cowrancher, good sense!

    -- Posted by sassy12 on Mon, Jun 14, 2010, at 11:04 AM
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