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Fair Deal celebrates a year, looks to future

Posted at 8:48 AM, Dec 01, 2017
and last updated 2017-12-01 10:32:06-05

NORTH OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) If you would've told MIchael Lee he'd own a business inside a shipping container a few years ago, he'd never believe it.

Inside the Fair Deal Village Marketplace near 24th and Lake streets, every store front is housed in one.

The owner of Mike's Custom Creations (think shoe repairman plus custom maker) said it took some convincing.

But for Yaissa Johnson, owner of Fashion Freak Boutique, it's all business inside her shop despite how the exterior looks. 

The concept is something she said she couldn't pass up on as an entrepreneur and native of Omaha.

"I definitely felt like it would be an economic boom," Johnson said. "Something different that's being offered to the North Omaha area."

This is the first container project in the state of Nebraska, said Terri Sanders with the Omaha Economic Development Corporation.

Sanders is the site manager for Fair Deal and said developers borrowed the concept after seeing something similar in southern California.

Now, she says, people are traveling from out of state to see the eight stores housed in shipping containers in person.

The corporation is looking to put the 24th Street corridor back on the business map starting with Fair Deal which also features a restaurant and neighborhood grocery store. Diversifying products and services, no store is the same and offer everything from beauty and fashion to food and books.

For Sanders, she believes this is just the beginning.

"We do own the land that is immediately behind the containers up to the immediate next block so we are talking about expanding and putting more shipping containers,” Sanders said. “I can't give you a date but we are looking at that."

As for Lee, he’s gone from skepticism to belief as he explains how well his business is doing and the amount of recognition he gets from his work.

He said, "Don't be scared to start something new."