ALLIANCE, Neb. – Step into Western Heritage Credit Union's latest branch here and prepare to be transported back to Old World Europe. "We decided to use a more professional approach in opening this branch and pay a little attention to the design and interior," said WHCU President Ted Bolen. The one-story branch recently opened in a new strip mall which had an interior corridor painted with an "old European street feel" complete with broken brick facades. "Given the corridor we thought it would be great to carry that theme to the interior of the branch," said Bolen. "Although it is too soon to tell so far the general reaction has been very positive." For the new branch, the credit union turned to Up the Wall Interior Designer/Artist Lynn Baker, who painted the mall corridor. "It was such a great experience and great team to work with on this project," said Baker. "I have a background in restoration and as an artist really they just let me run with ideas so the interior has an eclectic mix of different designs including Edwardian and Mission." At an estimated cost of $100,000, the branch is old-fashioned elegance complete with a "tin" ceiling, wainscoting, cherry wood doors, granite teller counters, old fashioned fans and perched on the credit union's sign by the branch entryway are two "pigeons." Bolen will be gauging the member response before determining if this theme will carry over to the credit union's Gering branch. "We decided that when you're new in town you need to put your best foot forward," said Bolen. "And this branch just looks fantastic." There are several financial firms including an insurance company and brokerage house sharing the corridor frontage. Bolen hopes they too will adopt the "Old World" theme.

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