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Destination: Shadow Lake Towne Center

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As something of a stereotypical “guy’s guy,” this writer is the sort of person who consigns the very notion of “shopping” to the farthest frontiers of gray matter. When the occasion arises that the act itself must be undertaken, shopping is a largely stoic, transactional process where decisions usually involve such weighty issues as whether to splurge on reinforced toes when it comes to tube socks.

It has been suggested to me that many women may not share those same traits when it comes to shopping; that the experience is just that- an experience.

So when it came time to explore ­Shadow Lake Towne Center,

I thought it would be wise to employ a guide to help me navigate the shops, restaurants, venues and services of the sprawling lifestyle center in Papillion.

“I’m on it,” came the almost too exuberant voice at the other end of the phone. “Meet me at Chocolaterie Stam on the roundabout and I’ll show you around.”

metroMAGAZINE is interested in engaging only the most astute of consultants, thus my daughter-in-law, Lauren Williams, a manager at Shadow Lake’s Best Buy, seemed a spot on choice. She knows every cobblestone of the town-within-a-town that evokes images of a simpler and more personal time when a tree-lined Main Street meant more than just commerce; it meant community.

The little shop that brought to America a 100-year Dutch tradition in artfully rendered chocolates was the best place to hit the ground running on our little tour, even if a staggering array of bite-sized goodies made selecting a treat an almost impossible task.

“Happens all the time,” said Chocolaterie Stam owner Suzi Bonnett. “When in doubt, I always recommend our real Italian gelato,” she said of the concoction that blends ingredients imported from Italy with the freshest products from a hyper-local dairy.


This is a perfect venue… It harkens back to a time when ‘town squares’ like
Shadow Lake were the place where [people]came together.

~Ryan Horner 
Sarpy Area Arts Council


Now sufficiently fortified (Lauren’s gelato was a bold chocolate, mine a delicate tiramisu), I thought we’d do a little shopping. Instead we encountered false start No. 2.

“You never have your nails done before chocolate,” Lauren explained as though it were all so intuitively obvious. “That might invite disaster.” I didn’t have time to inquire if she was referring to disaster in marring the fresh chocolates or disaster for her fresher nails (both?) before we had popped into Top Q Nails & Spa for a bit of pampering.

Our journey continued in a way that reminded me about another difference in the sexes, one that had to do with directional aptitude. Shadow Lake consists of a ring of popular department stores (think Gordmans, JCPenney, T.J. Maxx and more) girding a central core laid out in a simple X shape.

What I expected to be a linear route involving a series of left turns turned into a zig-zag path from Morning Noon & Night (and while it was too early to participate in one of their wine-tasting soirees, but we did enjoy a savory, local-roasted cup of joe that became our false start number three) to Victoria’s Secret (where I had to do the purse-holding thing while also averting my eyes). Then it was over to Charming Charlie (oceans of baubles, baubles everywhere) and onto Wheatfields (how does Lauren do it if she subsists largely on a diet of chocolate and Wheatfields’ famous Strawberry Wedding Cake?). We later managed to find room for some patented Brewhouse Rings at the Nebraska Brewing Company.

If we mapped it out, the whole thing would look something like that crazily convoluted dotted line that traces the path of “The Family Circus” kids in the Sunday comics.

in the process, we passed more than once a pair of lawn chairs on the adjacent lawn. The sentries were standing guard until their owners returned later that evening for one of Shadow Lake’s Friday night concerts in the beautiful center court’s Alegent Health Amphitheatre.

Those dozing lawn chairs reminded me that Shadow Lake offers so much more than mere flashes of debit cards. The concert season is now over, but that only means that Arts Alive! (September 17th) is just around the corner.

This third annual event organized by the Sarpy Area Arts Council merges an art fair vibe with a slate of crowd-pleasing performances that showcase the cultural diversity of a rapidly growing Sarpy County.

Hosting Arts Alive! is just one of the ways that Shadow Lake Towne Center contributes to building stronger communities by supporting the cultural landscape.

“This is a perfect venue for Arts Alive!,” said Ryan Horner of the Sarpy Area Arts Council. “It harkens back to a time when ‘town squares’ like Shadow Lake were the place where communities came together to enjoy art, fun family activities, music and a wide variety of performances, all of which you’ll find at Arts Alive!”

Check out the calendar accompanying this story for more of Shadow Lake Towne Center’s autumn events.

“Okay, Dave,” Lauren chirped, “now that you know your way around, our next trip will be to come back at night because Shadow Lake has all kinds of fun family dining spots. Oh, wait, let me just introduce you to my friends over at Freddy’s Frozen Custard and Steakburgers before we go.”

“Uh,” I stammered, now completely exhausted, “do they happen to also sell tube socks?”



autumn calendar:
Shadow Lake Towne Center

Ongoing Events
Kids Club
Second Thursday of Every Month - 10:30 a.m. (Year-Round)
Once a month, Shadow Lake invites area children to come for free activities. Each Kids Club is hosted in a different location, with a wide variety of activities. The series is sponsored by Boys Town Pediatrics, in partnership with Alegent Health.

Arts Alive! hosted by Sarpy Area Arts Council
Saturday, September 17
Arts Alive! provides the opportunity for people to meander Main Street and enjoy artworks for show and sale for the home, garden and body, all produced and presented by local artists. The event also features performing arts entertainment along with art workshops and demonstrations by professional artists.

Halloween Hoopla
Sunday, October 30
In celebration of Halloween, Shadow Lake welcomes children in costume to trick-or-treat around the amphitheatre. Families can also enjoy free hayrack rides around the shopping center

-end- metroMAGAZINE



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