Tag Archives: Business

Best of Omaha 2019

November 9, 2018 by
Illustration by Matt Wieczorek

Omaha Magazine is happy to announce the results of the 2019 Best of Omaha Contest. Click the link for each category to see the winners, or scroll through the entire list below. Categories are organized alphabetically under the following eight section headings: Dining, Family, Health & Beauty, Household, Nightlife, Retail, Services, and Transportation.


Dining

Top of page


Family

Top of page


Health & Beauty

Top of page


Household

Top of page


Nightlife

Top of page


Retail

 

Top of page


Services

Top of page


Transportation

Top of page


Dining

American Dining

Charleston’s Restaurant
Jams American Grill
402-399-8300 | 402-614-9333
jamseats.com
Railcar Modern American Kitchen

Appetizers

Kona Grill
Pitch Pizzeria
Two locations, downtown and West Omaha
pitchpizzeria.com
Bonefish Grill

Bagels

Bruegger’s Bagels
Panera Bread
Bagel Bin

Bakery

Rotella’s Italian Bakery
402-592-6600
rotellasbakery.com
The Omaha Bakery
Le Petit Paris

Barbecue

Famous Dave’s
Tired Texan BBQ
Swine Dining BBQ

Top of page

Bowl of Soup

WheatFields Eatery & Bakery
402-955-1485
wheatfieldscatering.com
Paradise Bakery & Cafe
402-934-5757 | 402-991-3000
paradisebakery.com
Olive Garden

Breakfast

Le Peep
Four locations
lepeepomaha.com
First Watch
Five Omaha-area locations
firstwatch.com
11-Worth Cafe

Brew Pub

Upstream Brewing Company
402-344-0200
upstreambrewing.com
The Benson Brewery
Nebraska Brewing Co.

Brick Oven Pizza

Pitch Pizzeria
Two locations, downtown and West Omaha
pitchpizzeria.com
Dante Ristorante Pizzeria
Noli’s Pizzeria

Buffet

China Buffet – Mongolian Grill
Valentino’s Pizza
Pizza Ranch

Top of page

Burrito

Abelardo’s Mexican Food
Burrito Envy & Tequila Bar
6113 Maple St. in Benson
BurritoEnvy.com
Fernando’s Cafe and Cantina
402-330-5707
fernandosomaha.com

Cakes

The Cake Gallery
Nothing Bundt Cakes
The Cake Specialist
402-733-CAKE (2253)

thecakespecialist.com

Chef in Omaha

Clayton Chapman, The Grey Plume
Jennifer Coco, j. coco
Ben Maides, Au Courant

Chimichanga

Taqueria Los Compadres
El Bee’s
Julio’s

Chinese Dining

China Palace
Golden Palace
Golden Bowl

Top of page

Coffeehouse

Scooter’s
Crane Coffee
Archetype Coffee

Cupcakes

Jones Bros. Cupcakes
402-884-CAKE (2253)
jonesbroscupcakes.com
Cupcake Island
Gigi’s Cupcakes

Delicatessen

Jason’s Deli
Swartz’s Delicatessen & Bagels
Razzy’s Deli

Desserts

WheatFields Eatery & Bakery
402-955-1485
wheatfieldscatering.com
Farmhouse Cafe
Sweet Magnolias

Donuts

Krispy Kreme Doughnuts
LaMar’s Donuts
Dunkin’ Donuts

Top of page

Family Restaurant

Cheddar’s Scratch Kitchen
Petrow’s
Shirley’s Diner

Fast Good Food

Runza
Chick-fil-A
Don & Millie’s

Fish Fry

Holy Name Fish Fry
Mary Our Queen Fish Fry
St. Patrick’s of Elkhorn Fish Fry

Food Truck

402 BBQ Food Truck
La Casa Pizzaria
Dos de Oros – Tie Third
Piccolo Pete’s – Tie Third

French Dining

Le Voltaire
Le Bouillon
La Buvette

Top of page

French Fries

Runza
Bronco’s Self-Services Drive-In
Five Guys Burgers and Fries

Fried Catfish

Catfish Lake
Surfside Club
Joe Tess Place

Fried Chicken

Jack and Mary’s
Time Out Foods
402-451-2622
timeoutfoods.com
Raising Cane’s Chicken Fingers

Frozen Yogurt

Orange Leaf Frozen Yogurt
TCBY Frozen Yogurt
Red Mango

Gluten-Free Menu

Shucks Fish House and Oyster Bar
Biaggi’s Ristorante Italiano
Modern Love

Top of page

Gourmet Hamburger

Block 16
Charred Burger + Bar
Omaha Tap House

Greek Dining

Greek Islands
402-346-1528
greekislandsomaha.com
Jim & Jennie’s Greek Village
Legacy Gyros

Gyros

King Kong
Feta’s Gyros & Catering
John’s Grecian Delight

Hamburger

Stella’s Bar & Grill
402-291-6088
106 Galvin Road, Bellevue
Smitty’s Garage Burgers and Beer
Dinker’s Bar

Hot Dog

B & B Classic Dogs
Chicago Dawg House
Fauxmaha Hot Dogs

Top of page

Hot Wings – Charbuffed

Oscar’s Pizza & Sports Grille
Tanner’s Bar & Grill
Addy’s Sports Bar & Grill

Hot Wings – Traditional

Buffalo Wild Wings
Ray’s Original Buffalo Wings
402-884-5300
rayswings.com
Wingstop

Ice Cream

Ted & Wally’s Ice Cream
Benson – Downtown
tedandwallys.com
Coneflower Creamery
Cold Stone Creamery

Indian Dining

Jaipur Indian Restaurant and Brewing
Himalayas
Astoria Biryani House

Italian Dining

Lo Sole Mio Ristorante Italiano
402-345-5656
losolemio.com
Spezia
3125 S. 72nd St.
speziarestaurant.com
Vincenzo’s Italian Ristorante

Top of page

Japanese Dining

HIRO 88
Sakura Bana
Genji Japanese Steakhouse

Juicery

Juice Stop
The Grove Juicery & Wellness Cafe
Evolve Paleo Chef

Korean Dining

Maru Sushi Korean Grill
Suji’s Korean Grill
Korean Grill

Locally Sourced Dining

The Grey Plume
Kitchen Table
Au Courant Regional Kitchen

Lunch

Greenbelly
The Market Basket
Foodies

Top of page

Mexican Dining

La Mesa Mexican Restaurant
lamesaomaha.com
Rivera’s Mexican Food
Romeo’s Mexican Food & Pizza
Five Metro locations
romeosomaha.com

Middle Eastern Dining

El Basha Mediterranean Grill
Mediterranean Bistro
Ahmad’s Persian Cuisine
402-341-9616
ahmadspersianscuisine.com

New Restaurant 
in 2018

Monarch Prime & Bar
Stokin’ Goat
Best Bison

Outdoor Patio

Marks Bistro
Pitch Pizzeria
Two locations, downtown and West Omaha
pitchpizzeria.com
1912 Benson

Pasta

Pasta Amore e Fantasia
Spaghetti Works
Malara’s Italian

Top of page

Pastry

Pettit’s Pastry
Gerda’s German Restaurant & Bakery
402-553-6774
gerdasgermanrestaurant.com
Le Quartier Bakery & Cafe

Pizza

Zio’s
Mama’s Pizza
La Casa Pizzaria

Prime Rib

Jerico’s Restaurant
402-496-0222
jericosomaha.com
Farmer Brown’s Steak House
Johnny’s Cafe
402-731-4774
johnnyscafe.com

Restaurant Beer Selection

Old Chicago Pizza and Taproom
LOCAL Beer, Patio and Kitchen
Growler USA
402-575-9111

growlerusa.com

Reuben Sandwich

Crescent Moon Ale House
402-345-1708
beercornerusa.com
Paddy McGown’s Pub and Grill
4503 Center St., Omaha, NE 68106
402-504-1022
Goldberg’s Bar & Grill

Top of page

Romantic Restaurant

V.Mertz
Brother Sebastian’s Steak House
 & Winery
Flatiron Cafe

Salad

Paradise Bakery & Cafe
402-934-5757 | 402-991-3000
paradisebakery.com
McAlister’s
M’s Pub

Salsa

Jacobo’s Authentic Mexican Grocery, Bakery and Tortilleria
402-733-9009
jacobos.com
Hector’s
Cilantro’s Mexican Bar & Grill

Sandwiches

Jimmy John’s
Firehouse Subs
Potbelly

Seafood

Shuck’s Fish House and Oyster Bar
402-827-4376
shucksfishhouse.com
Bonefish Grill
Plank Seafood Provisions

Top of page

Smoothies

Smoothie King
Juice Stop
Tropical Smoothie

Steakhouse

The Drover
402-391-7440
droverrestaurant.com
Mahogany Prime Steakhouse
801 Chophouse

Sunday Brunch

Granite City Food & Brewery
Early Bird
Mantra Bar & Grille

Sushi

Blue Sushi Sake Grill
Umami Asian Cuisine
Yoshitomo

Taco

Voodoo Taco
Two Omaha locations
voodootaco.com
Rusty Taco
Maria’s Mexican Restaurant

Thai

Salween Thai
Mai Thai
Taste of Thailand

Wait Staff & Service

Charleston’s Restaurant
Mahogany Prime Steakhouse
M’s Pub

Top of page


Family

Bowling Alley

The Mark
Maplewood Lanes
Western Bowl

Child Day Care

The Hills Montessori
402-884-8715
thehillsmontessoriomaha.com
Hamilton Heights Child Development Center
Academic Adventures Child Development Center

Child Party Provider

Amazing Pizza Machine
402-829-1777
AmazingPizzaMachine.com
BounceU
402-884-9093
bounceu.com/omaha-ne
Pump It Up

Children’s Attraction

Henry Doorly Zoo & Aquarium
Omaha Children’s Museum
Fontenelle Forest Nature Center

City Park

Elmwood Park
Memorial Park
Zorinsky Lake Park

Top of page

Dance Studio

Nebraska Dance
Kitty Lee Dance
Mary Lorraine’s Dance Center

Family Behavior Therapy

Boys Town Behavioral Health Clinic
Children’s Behavioral Health
Radical Minds

Family Dentist Office

The Dentists
402-445-4647
thedentistsomaha.com
Today’s Dental
Premier Dental
402-718-8741

premiersmile.com

Family Entertainment

Amazing Pizza Machine
402-829-1777
AmazingPizzaMachine.com
Dave & Buster’s
SkateDaze

Family Photographer

Carly Urbach Photography
Penny Layne, 
Penny Layne Photography
Tree Jacobson, Happy Little Tree

Top of page

Festival

Taste of Omaha
St. Stanislaus Polish Festival
Maha Music Festival

Gymnastics

Premier Gymnastics
Metro Stars Gymnastics
Nebraska Gold Gymnastics

Haunted House

Scary Acres
Mystery Manor
The Shadows Edge

Laser Tag

SkateDaze
Family Fun Center XL
Papio Fun Park
402-592-5671
papiofunpark.com

Martial Arts

Championship Martial Arts
Omaha Blue Waves Martial Arts
Siso Martial Arts

Top of page

Movie Theater

Aksarben Cinema
Alamo Drafthouse Cinema Omaha
Marcus Majestic Cinema of Omaha

Music Lessons

SNJ Studio of Music
402-933-1326
snjstudios.com
Omaha Conservatory of Music
Adkins: Guitar and Music Lessons

Pediatric Dentist Office

Smile Station Pediatric Dentistry
Pedodontics PC
Children’s Dental Specialists

Pediatrician

Dr. Lisa Whitcomb, Heartland Family First Medical Clinic
Dr. Kelli Shidler, Boys Town
Dr. Michael Moore, 
Children’s Physicians

Preschool

Montessori Elementary School 
of Omaha
Duchesne Preschool of the 
Sacred Heart
402-558-6250
duchesneacademy.org
Gingerbread House Preschool

Top of page

Professional Omaha Sports Team

Omaha Storm Chasers
Omaha Lancers
Omaha Beef Football

Public Golf Course

Indian Creek
Elmwood Park Golf Course
Johnny Goodman Golf Course

Youth Athletic Organization

YMCA of Greater Omaha
Millard United Sports
Elkhorn Athletic Association

Youth Cheerleading Club

Elite Cheer
Millard United Sports
Airborne Academy

Youth Summer Camp

YMCA of Greater Omaha
Hummel Day Camp
Camp Legacy

Top of page

Youth Swim Lessons

Swimtastic Swim School
DiVentures Scuba & Swim Center
Little Waves Family Swim School

402-932-2030

littlewavesfamilyswimschool.com

Youth Volleyball Sports Club

The Volleyball Academy
Premier Volleyball
Nebraska Elite Volleyball

Top of page


Health & Beauty

Acupuncture – Chiropractor

Balanced Body Acupuncture 
& Chiropractic
402-932-8108
balancedbodyomaha.com
Essentials Family Chiropractic 
and Wellness
Becker Chiropractic & Acupuncture

 

Acupuncture – Licensed

Thirteen Moons, Donna Huber
Natural Health Center, Janis Regier
River Point Acupuncture

Allergists

Ebrahim Shakir, Midwest Allergy 
and Asthma
Jeffrey Nelson, Midwest Allergy 
and Asthma
James Tracy, Allergy, Asthma 
and Immunonology Associates, P.C.

Barre Fitness Facility

The Barre Code
Well Mama
Pure Barre Omaha-Loveland

Beauty Supply Store

LovelySkin Retail Store
Under the direction of Joel Schlessinger, M.D.
LovelySkin.com/retail
Sally Beauty Supply
Beauty Brands

Top of page

Breast Augmentation

Aesthetic Surgical Images
Village Pointe Aesthetic Surgery & Dreams Medspa
Westfield Plastic Surgery Center
402-578-0706
westfieldpsc.com

Charity Walk /
Fun Run

The Color Run
Walk to End Alzheimer’s
Race for the Cure

Chiropractor

Koca Chiropractic
402-496-4570
KocaChiropractic.com
Gary Elsasser, Elsasser Chiropractic
Gabriel Long, Awaken Chiropractic

Cosmetic Dentist

Steven D. Wegner, DDS
402-498-0400
smilesofomaha.com
Dr. Daniel Beninato, Premier Dental
402-718-8741
premiersmile.com
Dr. Marty J. Matz, The Tooth Doc
402-397-8050
2thdoc.org

Top of page

Cosmetic Surgeon

Joel Schlessinger, M.D., 
Skin Specialists, P.C.
2802 Oakview Drive, Omaha, NE 68144
LovelySkin.com/cosmetics
Village Pointe Aesthetic Surgery & Dreams Medspa
Dr. Nagi T. Ayoub, 
Westfield Plastic Surgery Center
402-578-0706
westfieldpsc.com

Counseling Services

Counseling Connections & Associates
402-932-2296
ccaomaha.com
Associated Counseling Professionals
Omaha Integrative Care

Crossfit Box

CrossFit Kinesis
CrossFit Elkhorn
402-916-4623
crossfitelkhorn.com
CrossFit Omaha

Day Spa

Gloss Salon & Day Spa
402-502-1850
glosssalon.com
LovelySkin Spa
Under the direction of Joel Schlessinger, M.D.
LovelySkin.com/spa
Creative Hair Design Salon and Spa

Dermatologist

Joel Schlessinger, M.D., 
Skin Specialists, P.C.
2802 Oakview Drive, Omaha, NE 68144
LovelySkin.com/dermatology
Dermatology Specialists of Omaha
Midwest Dermatology Clinic, P.C.

Top of page

Esthetician

Montana Haggerty, 
Allure Health & Med Spa
Meredith Bryant, 
Allure Health & Med Spa
Amy Carey Bishop, Spa Ritual Omaha

Family Doctor

Amanda Kester, 
Essential Family Medicine
Mark Goodman, M.D., CHI
Dr. Edward Mantler, Papillion 
Family Medicine

Female Hormone Replacement Clinic

Allure Health & Med Spa
ReVital Women’s Hormone Clinic
Optima Medical Hormone Replacement & Aesthetic Center

Fitness Club

Blue Moon Fitness
Life Time Fitness
Prairie Life Fitness

Fitness Equipment Store

Body Basics Fitness Equipment
Priority 1 Fitness
Priority1Fitness.com
402-330-1133
Push Pedal Pull

Top of page

Float Tank

True REST Float Spa
402-991-9899
truerest.com
Blue Oceans Float
Omaha Float Spa

Hair Colorist

Rebecca Forsyth, 
BUNGALOW/8 Hairdressing
Christi Clark
ChristiClarkColor.com
402-321-9410
Ricky Newton at Salon Inspired
402-515-4785

rickynewtonjr.com

Hair Salon

Creative Hair Design Salon and Spa
BUNGALOW/8 Hairdressing
Garbo’s Salon and Spa

Hearing Aids Center

Beltone Audiology & Hearing Center
402-391-0811
beltonehearingcenter.net
Ear Specialists of Omaha
Professional Audiology and 
Hearing Center
402-558-0440
proaudiology.com

Indoor Cycling Class

Elevate Cycling & Fitness Studio
Torva Fit Club
Sweat Cycle Strength

Top of page

Kick Boxing Class

Farrell’s Extreme Bodyshaping
Impact Kickboxing and Fitness Center
9Round 30 Min Kickbox Fitness

Laser Hair Removal

Milan Laser Aesthetics
Bare Body Shop
Ideal Image

Lasik Eye Surgery

Kugler Vision
Omaha Eye and Laser Institute
402-493-2020
omahaeye.com
LasikPlus Vision Center

Male Hormone Replacement Clinic

Mantality
Limitless Male Medical Clinic
NuMale Medical Center

Manicure & Pedicure

American Nails & Spa
3618 N. 165th St.
americannailsandspaomaha.com
Martini Nails & Spa
Legacy Nails & Spa

Top of page

Massage Therapy

Massage Envy
Palmer Massage Therapy
402-502-1775
palmermassagetherapy.com
Millard Oaks Chiropractic 
& Massage

Med Spa

Allure Health & Med Spa
LovelySkin Spa
Under the direction of Joel Schlessinger, M.D.
LovelySkin.com/spa
Omaha Med Spa
Concierge Aesthetics

omahamedspa.com

Memory Care Facility

Ridgewood Active 
Retirement Community
Parsons House on Eagle Run
CountryHouse Residence of Omaha
5030 S. 155th St., Omaha, NE 68137
countryhouse.net

Men’s Haircut

Sport Clips
The Surly Chap Barbers
Scissors & Scotch:
A Premium Barbershop

Men’s Shave

Dennison Dahlman – 
Barbershop & Lounge
Dundee Barber
The Beard and Mane

Top of page

Nutrition & Vitamin Store

NutriShop
Complete Nutrition
No Name Nutrition Markets

Optometrist

Omaha Primary EyeCare
402-330-3000
omahaeyecare.com
Millard Family Eyecare
402-896-3300 | 402-330-3063
millardfamilyeyecare.com
Legacy Eyecare
16949 Lakeside Hills Plaza, Ste. 101
legacyeyecare.com

Oral Surgeon

Oral Surgery Associates
Village Pointe Oral Surgery, P.C.
402-317-5657
vpoms.com
Midwest Oral Surgery & 
Dental Implants
402-397-7777
midwestoms.com

Orthodontist

Dr. Kort Igel, Igel Orthodontics
402-330-1152
igelorthodontics.com
Dr. Thomas J. Weber, 
Weber Orthodontics
402-896-4500
weberorthodontics.com
Dr. Paul McAllister, 
McAllister Orthodontics
402-392-1516

mcallisterortho.com

Orthopedic Surgeon

Dr. Michael C. Thompson, Ortho NE
Dr. Mark Goebel, Ortho NE
Dr. Scott T. McMullen, 
GIKK Orthopedic Specialists

Top of page

Pain Management

Midwest Pain Clinics
402-391-7246
midwestpainclinics.com
Omaha Physical 
Therapy Institute, PC
West Omaha Cryotherapy

Personal Training Facility

Todd Smith Fitness
iThinkFit Gym
Orangetheory Fitness

Physical Therapy Company

Makovicka Physical Therapy
Excel Physical Therapy
FYZICAL Therapy and 
Balance Centers

Physical Therapy Equipment

Kohll’s Pharmacy & Homecare
Kubat Pharmacy
Relax The Back Store

Pilates Studio

Pilates Center of Omaha
Core10 Pilates
Legacy Pilates, Yoga & More

Top of page

Private Practice Medical Clinic

THINK Whole Person Healthcare
Essential Family Medicine of Omaha
Midwest Regional Health Services

Rehabilitation Facility

Madonna Rehabilitation Hospital
Brookestone Meadows
402-289-2696
brookestonemeadows.com
QLI

Tanning Salon

Palm Beach Tan
Sun Tan City
Paradise Bay Tanning

Tattoo Parlor

Big Brain
Downtown & West O locations
bigbrainomaha.com
Eye Candy Tattoo
Liquid Courage

Tummy Tuck

Aesthetic Surgical Images
Westfield Plastic Surgery Center
402-578-0706
westfieldpsc.com
Village Pointe Aesthetic Surgery 
& Dreams Medspa

Top of page

Waxing/Hair Removal

Authentic Brazilian Wax by Vanella
Wild Prairie Spa
402-512-3480
wildprairiespa.com
Wax On

Weight Loss Center

FAST Diet
Weight Watchers
Profile By Sanford
Four Omaha locations
profileplan.net

Yoga Studio

Lotus House of Yoga
All levels of yoga for your high vibe life!
lotushouseofyoga.com
Karma Yoga Omaha
Pranam Yoga Shala

Top of page


Household

Apartments

Harrison Hills by Broadmoor
The Biltmore
402-963-9300
richdale.com
Broadmoor Hills

Appliance Repair

ServiceOne
Andy’s Appliance Repair
402-614-8131
andysappliance.net
Nebraska Home Appliance
402-399-0202
nhaparts.com

Basement Repair & Waterproofing

Thrasher
800-827-0702
gothrasher.com
Jerry’s Basement Waterproofing
Midwest Mudjacking

Building Supply Store

Menards
Builders Supply Co.
Millard Lumber

Carpet Cleaning

ZEROREZ of Nebraska
Stanley Steemer
Metro Chem-Dry
402-403-4154
metro-chemdry.com

Top of page

Concrete Installer

Moore’s Concrete Construction, Inc.
402-491-3622
mooresconcrete.com
Oxford Construction Co.
402-670-0310
oxfordconstructionco.com
Schroder Concrete, Inc.

Countertops

CKF
McKean’s Floor to Ceiling
402-331-4062
mckeans.com
Martin’s Counter Tops

Custom Cabinetry

CKF
Titan Custom Cabinets, Inc.
402-891-0098
facebook.com/TitanCustomCabinets
Flair Custom Cabinets & Remodeling

Custom Closets

Marco Closets & Storage
402-778-5818
marcoclosets.com/storage
CKF
The Container Store

Custom Home Builder

Curt Hofer & Associates
402-758-0440
curthofer.com
Pohlad Custom Homes
Mercury Builders

Top of page

Decorative Concrete

Oxford Construction Co.
402-670-0310
oxfordconstructionco.com
Garage Revolution
Lusterstone Pebble Paving

Decorative Painting

Fe Fi Faux Studios, Inc.
Walls2Floors
Joe Eby Faux and Decorative Painting

Electrical Services

Brase Electrical
Hiller Electric Company
Frederick Electric Inc.

Fence & Railings

S&W Fence
402-333-5722
sw-fence.com
American Fence Company
402-896-6722
theamericanfencecompany.com
JK Fencing LLC
402-979-0892
j-kfencing.com

Fireplaces

Claxton Fireplace Center
402-491-0800
claxtonfireplace.com
Fireplace Stone & Patio
Fireplace by Design

Top of page

Floor Coverings

Nebraska Furniture Mart
McKean’s Floor to Ceiling
402-331-4062
mckeans.com
FLOORfashions

Garage Doors

Norm’s Door Service
402-331-8920
normsdoor.com
Omaha Door & Window
402-733-6440
omahadoor.com
Overhead Door Company of Omaha
402-331-0526
overheaddooromaha.com

Garage Flooring

Garage Revolution
In The Garage
Garage Floor Coating of Nebraska

Garden Nursery Store

Lanoha Nurseries
192nd & W. Center Rd.
lanohanurseries.com
Mulhall’s
Canoyer Garden Center

Grout & Tile Repair

Walls2Floors
The Grout Doctor
The Grout Medic

Top of page

Handyman Services

ServiceOne
Handyman Joes
Houston Home Services

Heating & Air Service

Burton A/C * Heating * 
Plumbing * and More
402-934-7018
justcallburton.com
Thermal Services
402-397-8100
thermalservices.com
SOS Heating and Cooling

Home Accessories

Nebraska Furniture Mart
House of J
12965 W. Center Road
facebook.com/house-of-j
Robin’s Nest
101 W. Main St., Springfield
facebook.com/springrobinsnest

Home Audio & Video

Custom Electronics
AV Squared, LLC
402-513-9282
av2pros.com
Echo Systems

Home Builder

Charleston Homes
The Home Company
402-884-4854
thehomecompanyomaha.com
Legacy Homes

Top of page

Home Cleaning Service

Molly Maid
402-932-6243
mollymaid.com
Pink Shoe Cleaning Crew
402-330-0930
pinkshoecleaningcrew.com
Maids & More

Home Disaster Restoration

Paul Davis Restoration
402-553-0373
pauldavis.com
BELFOR Property 
Restoration of Omaha
Carlson Restoration
402-891-9887
carlsonrestoration.com

Home Glass & Mirrors

Elite Glass Services
Quality Glass & Mirror
Papillion Glass & Door Co.

Home Remodeling

T Hurt Construction
Cornerstone Remodeling
402-598-1410
cornerstoneremodelers.com
Total Construction Services

Home Security

Security Equipment, Inc. (SEi)
American Electronics, an Atronic Alarms Company
Sellhorst Security & Sound

Top of page

Indoor Window Coverings

Custom Blinds & Design
Ambiance Window Coverings
402-932-9711
ambiancewindowcoverings.com
All About Blinds

Interior Design Firm

Lee Douglas Interiors, Inc.
The Interior Design Firm
Fluff Interior Design

Interior Designer

Marilyn Schooley Hansen, 
FASID, The Designers
Lester Katz, LK Design
402-934-8088
LKdesign.biz
Robin Lindley, 
The Interior Design Firm
402-334-8800
idfomaha.com

Kitchen & Bath Plumbing Fixtures

Kitchens & Baths by Briggs
Ferguson
Winnelson Co.

Kitchen & Bath Remodeling

Re-Bath of The Heartland
4123 S. 84th St.
myheartlandhome.com
Kitchens by Design
402-334-8888
kitchensbydesignomaha.com
United Services Design + Build
402-572-1144
unitedservicesohi.com

Top of page

Landscape Curbing

Curb Curb
CurbIt
Curb Appeal Landscape 
Curbing of Omaha

Landscape Designer

Foutch Landscaping Enterprises
402-359-2154
foutchenterprises.com
Robert’s Nursery Landscapes & Lawns
Greenlife Gardens

Landscape Lighting

McKay Landscape Lighting
Midwest Lightscaping
402-516-4498
midwestlightscaping.com
Accent Landscape Lighting, Inc.

Landscape Rock 
& Granite

Sun Valley Landscaping
402-932-5704
sunvalleyomaha.com
The Rock Place
Above & Beyond 
Complete Grounds Maintenance
402-934-8866

aboveandbeyondcgm.com

Landscaping Service

Carson Enterprises
402-676-5579
carsonenterprise.com
Patera Landscaping
402-706-5679
pateralandscaping.com
Sun Valley Landscaping

Top of page

Lawn Care

Heartland Lawns Omaha
402-492-8800
heartlandlawnsomaha.com
Forest Green Lawn & Landscaping
402-556-0595
forestgreenlawncare.com
Elkhorn Lawn Care, LLC

Lawn Irrigation & Sprinklers

Nature’s Helper
402-334-2625
natureshelperinc.com
Millard Sprinkler
Quality Irrigation
402-672-9297
quality-irrigation.com

Mortgage Provider

Regent Financial Group
402-955-0880
regentfinancial.com
Eagle Mortgage Inc.
402-397-7180
eaglemortgagecompany.com
Benchmark Mortgage

Moving Company

Two Men & a Truck
402-764-1002
twomenandatruck.com
Black Belt Movers
Jim’s Moving & Delivery Co., Inc.
402-291-2490

jimsmovinginc.com

Mud Jacking

Thrasher, Inc.
800-827-0702
gothrasher.com
Mixan Mudjacking
The Driveway Company

Top of page

Mulch Provider

Maple 85 Premium Landscape 
Mulch Center
Patera Landscaping
402-706-5679
pateralandscaping.com
Yard Market Nursery

Painting Services

Gerst Painting
CertaPro Painters of Omaha
Brush & Roll Painting

Pest Control Service

Lien Termite & Pest Control
402-397-8884
lienpestcontrol.com
ABC Termite & Pest Control
Terminix

Plumbing Services

Burton A/C * Heating * 
Plumbing * and More
402-934-7018
justcallburton.com
Eyman Plumbing Heating & Air
402-731-2727
trusteyman.com
Big Birge Plumbing
402-575-0102
bigbirgeplumbing.com

Pools & Spas

Classic Pool & Spa
Premier Pools and Spas
402-513-8000
premierpoolspa.com
Continental Pool & Spa

Top of page

Residential Roofing

Moose Roofing
402-763-4851
mooseroofing.com
Pyramid Roofing
402-502-9300
pyramidroofing.com
White Castle Roofing
402-898-7663
whitecastleroofing.com

Residential Siding

McKinnis Roofing
402-513-6620
mckinnis.com
Husker Hammer
Tevelde and Co.

Residential Trash Service

Abe’s Trash Service
402-571-4926
abestrash.com
Papillion Sanitation
Premier Waste Solutions

Retaining Walls

Patera Landscaping
402-706-5679
pateralandscaping.com
Jensen Retaining Walls
Hudson Hardscapes

Stone & Brick Provider

Fireplace Stone & Patio
Watkins Concrete Block
Baltazar’s Stone, INC.

Top of page

Tile Installer

SkilledSet Tile & Stone
Floors By Dave
Legendary Tile
402-670-4459
facebook.com/legendarytile

Tile Store

Sunderland Brothers Company
Ceramic Tileworks Center
Premier Tile Corporation

Tree Service

Terry Hughes Tree Service
402-558-8198
hughestree.com
Arbor Aesthetics Tree Service
Mutchie Tree Service

Water Treatment Systems

Futuramic’s Clean Water Center
Kangen Water of Omaha
United Distributors Inc.

Windows and Doors

Pella Windows and Doors 
of Omaha & Lincoln
402-493-1350
pellaomaha.com
Omaha Door & Window
402-733-6440
omahadoor.com
Renewal by Andersen

Wood Floor Company

Heartland Wood Floors
402-334-8686
heartlandwoodfloors.com
Timberland Hardwood Floors
Tom Manley Floors, Inc.

Top of page


Nightlife

Bar Food

Blatt Beer & Table
Legends Patio Grill & Bar
Barrett’s Barleycorn Pub & Grill

Board Game Cafe

Spielbound Board Game Cafe
Sparta Games
Sozo Coffeehouse

Cigar Bar

Havana Garage
402-614-3800
thehavanagarage.com
Copacabana Cocktails & Cigars
Jake’s Cigars & Spirits

Cocktail Lounge

LIV Lounge
402-884-5410
livlounge.com
Holiday Lounge
402-391-4442
holidayloungeomaha.com
Wicked Rabbit

Comedy Club

Funny Bone Comedy Club
The Backline Comedy Theatre
Lookout Lounge

Top of page

Craft Cocktails

The Berry & Rye
Wicked Rabbit
Trio Cocktails & Company

Distillery

Cut Spike Distillery
402-763-8868
cutspike.com
Patriarch Distillers
Brickway Brewery

Escape Room

House of Conundrum Escape Room
402-250-2300
houseofconundrum.com
The Escape Omaha
Entrap Games: 
Omaha Escape Room Game

Happy Hour

Blue Sushi Sake Grill
Mula
HIRO 88

Irish Bar

Brazen Head Irish Pub
319 N. 78th St.
brazenheadpub.com
Two Fine Irishmen
The Dubliner Pub

Top of page

Late-Night Dining

Nite Owl
Eat The Worm
Abelarado’s Mexican Food

Live Music Venue

Holland Performing Arts Center
402-345-0606
ticketomaha.com
The Waiting Room
Slowdown

Local Band

Lemon Fresh Day
The Confidentials
eNVy
402-612-6828
envyomaha.com

Margarita

Roja Mexican Grill
La Mesa Mexican Restaurant
Trini’s Mexican Restaurant

Martini

Charlie’s On The Lake
Sullivan’s Steakhouse
Firebirds Wood Fired Grill

Top of page

Micro Brewery

Upstream Brewing Company
402-344-0200
upstreambrewing.com
Infusion Brewing Company
Kros Strain Brewing Company

Neighborhood Bar

The Observatory Bar & Grill
The Homy Inn
The Village Bar

New Bar in 2018

Red Lion Lounge
Bärchen Beer Garden
402-502-9902
barchenbeer.com
Kaitei

Reverse Happy Hour

Blue Sushi Sake Grill
HIRO 88
Stokes Restaurant

Sports Bar

DJ’s Dugout
Six locations
djsdugout.com
Tanner’s Bar & Grill
The Good Life

Top of page

Whisky Bar

Proof Whiskey & Craft Cocktail Bar
Dundee Dell
Liberty Tavern

Wine Bar

Corkscrew Wine & Cheese
Vino Mas
Nosh Wine Lounge

Top of page


Retail

Antique Shop

Brass Armadillo
402-896-9600
brassarmadillo.com
The Imaginarium
Found Vintage Market

Arts & Crafts 
Studio/Store

Mangelsen’s
Blick Art Materials
7829 Dodge St., 402-397-6077
dickblick.com
It’s Yours Pottery

Beer & Spirits Store

Spirit World
Beertopia
Big Dog’s Beverage

Bookstore

The Bookworm
Half Price Books
Parables Christian Bookstore

Bridal Shop

David’s Bridal
Bridal Traditions
Rhylan Lang Bridal

Top of page

Charcuterie

Provisions by The Grey Plume
Corkscrew Wine & Cheese
Maresco’s Italian Market
2821 S. 108th St., 402-991-9987

marescos.com

Cheese Shop

Northwoods Cheese Haus
Whole Foods Market
Trader Joes’

Cigar/Tobacco Shop

SG Roi Tobacconist
402-341-9264
sgroitobacconist.com
Ted’s Tobacco
The Omaha Cigar Company

Clothing Consignment Store

Scout: Dry Goods & Trade
5018 Underwood Ave.
ilovescout.com
Absolutely Her Women’s Consignment
Esther’s Consignment

Coffee Roaster

A Hill of Beans Coffee Roasters
Tap Dancers Specialty Coffee
Rally Coffee Co.

Top of page

Comic Book Store

Legend Comics & Coffee
Dragon’s Lair Comics
Krypton Comics

Convenience Store

Casey’s General Stores
Bucky’s Convenience Stores
Kwik Shop

Estate Jewelry

Sol’s Jewelry & Loan
Bergman Jewelers
402-342-2611
bergmandiamonds.com
Pretty In Patina

Florist

Taylor’s Flower Shop & 
Greenhouse, Inc.
All Seasons Floral & Gifts
EverBloom Floral and Gift

Furniture Store

Nebraska Furniture Mart
Allens Home
Ethan Allen

Top of page

Gift Shop

House of J
12965 W. Center Road
facebook.com/house-of-j
Spruce Interiors & Gifts
Stella’s Belle

Golf Store

Austad’s Golf
Golf Galaxy
Golf USA

Grocery Store

Hy-Vee
Fresh Thyme Farmers Market
Fareway Meat & Grocery
402-393-7136
fareway.com

Hardware Store

Ace Hardware
Johnson Hardware
Two locations
jhcomaha.com
Ideal Hardware & Paint Center

Husker Apparel Store

Husker Hounds
SCHEELS
Lawlor’s Custom Sportswear

Top of page

Jewelry Store

Borsheims Fine Jewelry
14 Karat Jewelry Store
Gunderson’s Jewelers

Local Pet Store

Nature Dog
402-697-7156
naturedogomaha.com
The Green Spot
Long Dog Fat Cat

Meat Department

Fareway Meat Market
402-393-7136
fareway.com
Just Good Meat
Stoyisch House of Sausage

Men’s Apparel

Lindley Clothing Co.
McLovin
The Simple Man

Natural/Organic Grocery Store

Fresh Thyme Farmers Market
Whole Foods Market
Natural Grocers

Top of page

Outdoor Clothing 
& Gear Store

Scheels
Backwoods
Sierra Trading Post

Party Supply Store

Nobbies’
Mangelsen’s
Hobby Lobby

Pawn Shop

Sol’s Jewelry & Loan
Four Aces Pawn Shop
Mid-City Jewelry & Loan

Pet Supply Store

PetSmart
Petco
Pets R Us

Pharmacy

Walgreens
CVS Pharmacy
Kohll’s Pharmacy & Homecare

Top of page

Popcorn

Vic’s Corn Popper
Just Pop’d
Jock & Jill’s Popcorn

Retail Art Gallery

Lewis Art Gallery
402-391-7733
lewisartgallery.com
Blue Pomegranate Gallery
Main Street Studios

Shoe Store

Haney Shoes
6060 Maple St.
haneyshoestore.com
The Mix Shoes and Accessories
Buck’s Shoes

Shopping Center

Village Pointe Shopping Center
Westroads Mall
Shadow Lake Towne Center

Sporting Goods Store

SCHEELS
Dick’s Sporting Goods
Cabela’s

Top of page

Sweet Shop

Hollywood Candy
The Cordial Cherry
Chocolaterie Stam

Thrift Store

Goodwill
Thrift World
Four stores in the Omaha area
thriftworld.com
New Life Thrift

Vape Store

Alohma Vape Superstores
Generation V E-Cigarettes & Vape Bar
Caterpillar Vapes

Vineyard

Soaring Wings | Vineyard & Brewing
Cellar 426
James Arthur Vineyards

Wine Store

Hy-Vee
Vino Mas
WineStyles

Top of page

Women’s Boutique

Four Sisters Boutique
Kajoma’s Fashion Boutique
104 E. First, Papillion
402-991-4477
Mesh

Yarn / Quilting Shop

Personal Threads Boutique
402-391-7733
personalthreads.com
Country Sampler
Jo-Ann Fabric and Craft

Top of page


Services

Accounting Services

Verdant
Lutz
Hancock & Dana PC

Assisted
 Living Facility

Elk Ridge Village
Lakeside Village by Immanuel
402-829-9020
immanuel.com
Westgate Assisted Living
402-391-8566
westgateassistedliving.com

Bank

First National Bank, Member FDIC
Pinnacle Bank
14 Omaha Metro Locations
pinnbank.com
American National Bank

Caterer

Catering Creations
402-558-3202
cateringcreations.com
Attitude on Food
Eddie’s Catering

Computer Repair

Elkhorn Computer Sales & Service
REDiTECH
Ken’s PC Repair
402-933-7890
kenspcrepair.biz

Top of page

Credit Union

Centris Federal Credit Union
402-334-7000
centrisfcu.org
Cobalt Credit Union
Veridian Credit Union

Custom Made Furniture

Zongkers Custom Woods
Long Grain Furniture
Hutch

Custom Picture Framing

Lewis Art Gallery
402-391-7733
lewisartgallery.com
Malibu Gallery
Mangelsen’s

Dating Service

Omaha Love
402-991-4053
OmahaLove.com
Tinder
Match.com

Divorce Mediation

Nebraska Legal Group
402-509-7033
NebraskaLegalGroup.com
Wesley Dodge
Koenig | Dunne

Top of page

DJ Service

ShowTime Music
Chaos Productions
JIIK DJ Services
402-415-9016
djj2k.com

Dog Day Care

The Paw Spa Pet Resort
Dogtopia of Omaha
Bark Avenue Omaha
402-933-4007

barkavenueomaha.com

Dog Training

Dharma Dog Training
Dog Gone Problems
402-881-0566
doggoneproblems.com
Nebraska Dog Trainers
402-913-0251

nebraskadogtrainers.com

Dry Cleaners

Max I. Walker
22 locations
MaxIWalker.com
Fashion Cleaners
FashionCleaners.com
Six locations
NuTrend Dry Cleaners

Duct Cleaning

DuctMedic
Affordable Air Duct Cleaning
MAXIM Cleaning & Restoration, Inc.

Top of page

Employer – Less Than 100 Employees

OBI Creative
Capstone Consulting, Inc.
88 Tactical

Employer – More Than 100 Employees

PayPal
PayPal.com
University of Nebraska 
Medical Center
Prime Time Healthcare

Estate Planning

Andrew Sigerson, 
Legacy Design Strategies
402-505-5400
ldstrategies.com
James Blazek, 
Blazek and Gregg, P.C., L.L.O.
Jill Mason, 
Kinney Mason, P.C., L.L.O.
402-905-2220
kinneymason.com

Event Planner

Planitomaha
402-333-3062
planitomaha.com
A View Premier Event Venues
402-933-2929
aviewvenues.com
STEP//Group

Financial 
Planning Firm

Northwestern Mutual
Edward Jones
Thrivent Financial
402-932-0109
thrivent.com

Top of page

Funeral Home

Heafey-Hoffmann-Dworak-Cutler
Mortuaries & Crematory
402-391-3900
heafyheafy.com
John A. Gentleman Mortuaries
Roeder Mortuary

Furniture Repurposing and Restoration

Found Vintage Market
Don’s Refinishing Service
Southern Style Restorations/Furniture Magic

Hotel

Hilton Omaha
Embassy Suites La Vista
Magnolia Hotel Omaha

In-Home 
Non-Medical Care

Home Instead Senior Care
Right at Home
402-697-7536
rightathome.net/omaha-metro
A Place at Home

In-Home Nursing Service

Visiting Nurse Association (VNA)
402-345-5566
vnatoday.org
Home Nursing With Heart
Physicians Choice Home Health Care

Top of page

Independent Living

Ridgewood Retirement Community
Elk Ridge Village
Walnut Grove Retirement Community

Top of page

Internet Provider

Cox Communications
Six locations
cox.com
CenturyLink Internet
Windstream

Law Firm

Baird Holm LLP
Koley Jessen P.C., L.L.O.
Kutak Rock LLP

Life/Health 
Insurance Company

WoodmenLife
402-289-3776
woodmenlife.org
Physicians Mutual Insurance
Blue Cross Blue Shield of Nebraska

Local Website

KETV.com
Omaha.com
LovelySkin.com
Under the direction of Joel Schlessinger, M.D.
LovelySkin.com/retail

Top of page

Newborn Photography

Penny Layne, 
Penny Layne Photography
Teresa Simpson Photography
Erin Brodhead Photography

Non-profit Event

Omaha Gives Powered by the Omaha Community Foundation
omahagives.org
OmahaCommunityFoundation.org
Art & Soup, 
Visiting Nurse Association
402-345-5566
vnatoday.org/events/art-soup
JDRF One Walk Mile of Hope

Nursing Home Facility

The Lighthouse by Immanuel
402-829-9070
immanuel.com
Brookestone Meadows
402-289-2696
brookestonemeadows.com
Papillion Manor Nursing Home

Personal Injury Lawyer

Hauptman O’Brien 
Wolf & Lathrop, P.C.
Gross & Welch P.C., L.L.O.
Sibbernsen, Strigenz & Sibbernsen

Pet Boarding

The Paw Spa Pet Resort
Cottonwood Pet Resort
Clearview Pet Care Centre

Pet Grooming Salon

Park Your Pawz
All About Dogs Grooming Salon
Dogtopia of Omaha

Top of page

Pet Photography

Dogtography by Kala Howard
info@dogtographybykalahoward.com
dogtographybykalahoward.com
Janine Cooper, JM Studios
Maggie Mellema, C41 Photography

Private School – Elementary School

Brownell Talbot
402-556-3772
brownell.edu
Saint Wenceslaus
St. Patrick’s of Elkhorn

Private School – 
High School

Marian High School
7400 Military Ave.
marianhighschool.net
Creighton Preparatory School
Duchesne Academy of the 
Sacred Heart
402-558-3800
duchesneacademy.org

Realtor Agent

Blythe Real Estate Team
402-960-2330
buyingomaha.com
Lisa & Dennis Ritter, RE/Max Results
402-612-2413
ritterssellhomes.com
Karen Jennings, CBS Home
402-290-6296

Reception Venue

Nuri Event Studio
A View Premier Event Venues
402-933-2929
aviewvenues.com
Thompson Alumni Center @ UNO

Top of page

Retirement Community

Lakeside Village by Immanuel
402-829-9020
immanuel.com
Ridgewood Active Retirement Community
New Cassel

Shooting Range

88 Tactical
Omaha Gun Club
2828 S. 82nd Ave.
omahagunclub.com
The Marksman Indoor Range
402-359-1396
themarksmanindoorrange.com

Small Engine Repair

Ty’s Outdoor Power & Service
Gretna Small Engine
J & J Small Engine Services

Smartphone Repair

iFixOmaha
uBreakiFix
Fix It Fast

Storage Units

Dino’s Storage
Armor Storage
Affordable Family Storage

Top of page

Tailor Shop

Sy’s Tailor Shop
Jack’s Tailors
G.I. Cleaners & Tailors

Tuxedo Store

Men’s Wearhouse
Tip Top Tux
Gentleman’s Choice Formal Wear

University/College

University of Nebraska Omaha
Creighton University
Metropolitan Community College

Veterinary Clinic

The Gentle Doctor Animal Hospital
402-445-4400
gentledoctoranimalhospitals.com
Best Care Pet Hospital
402-334-5975
bestcarepethospital.net
American Animal Hospital
402-493-6767
americananimal.net

Wedding Photographer

Chelsea Jo Photography
JM Studios
Stephanie Reeves Photography

Top of page


Transportation

Auto Accessory Store

O’Reilly Auto Parts
Auto Zone
NAPA Auto Parts

Auto Body Repair

Dingman’s Collision Center
Four locations
dingmans.com
Dave’s Auto Body Co.
402-572-0200
davesautobodyco.com
CARSTAR
Four locations
nebraskacarstar.com

Auto Detailing

Dolphins Car Wash + Detail Center
402-697-0650
dolphinscarwash.com
Owner’s Pride
402-715-9749
ownersprideclub.com
Cornhusker Auto Wash

Auto Financing

Veridian Credit Union
Centris Federal Credit Union
402-334-7000
centrisfcu.org
Cobalt Federal Credit Union

Auto Glass

Omaha Glass Pro
Safelite AutoGlass
Metro Glass

Top of page

Bike Shop

The Bike Rack
Trek Bikes
Bike Masters Cycle

Boat Dealer

Omaha Marine Center
402-339-9600
omahamarinecenter.com
Valley Marine
SeaLand Marine

Brake Service

Jensen Tire & Auto
jensentireandauto.com
Omaha Car Care
Brakes Plus

Car Tire Service

Jensen Tire & Auto
jensentireandauto.com
Midwest Tire Co., Inc.
Firestone Complete Auto Care

Express Car Wash

Russell Speeder’s Car Wash
Fantasy’s
Rocket Carwash

Top of page

Full-Service Car Wash

Dolphins Car Wash + Detail Center
402-697-0650
dolphinscarwash.com
Mojo’s Car Wash & Detail Center
402-933-6656
mojoscarwash.com
VIP Express Car Wash
11910 M St.
facebook.com/VIPexpressomaha

General Auto Repair

Jensen Tire & Auto
jensentireandauto.com
Haver’s Auto Repair
Exclusive Repair
402-551-3015

facebook.com/exclusiverepair

Luxury Car Dealer

Lexus of Omaha
Mercedes-Benz of Omaha
Audi Omaha

Muffler & Exhaust Service

House of Mufflers & 
Brakes Total Car Care
Three locations
takeit2thehouse.com
Omaha Car Care
Mad Hatter Muffler & Brakes
402-330-2286
madhattermuffleromaha.com

New Car Dealer

Baxter Auto | Midwest Car 
Dealer Group
Woodhouse Auto Family
H&H Premier Automotive

Top of page

Oil Change

Jensen Tire & Auto
jensentireandauto.com
Jiffy Lube
Valvoline Instant Oil Change

RV Dealer

Apache Camper Center
ApacheCamper.com
808-756-7344
A.C. Nelsen RV World
Leach Camper Sales

Transmission Repair

Certified Transmission
Omaha Transmission
AAMCO Transmissions & 
Total Car Care

Travel Agency

Vacation Superstore
Travel and Transport
Enchanted Honeymoons Travel

Used Car Dealer

Baxter Auto | Midwest Car 
Dealer Group
Woodhouse Auto Family
Huber Automotive

Used Luxury Car Dealer

Lexus of Omaha
Baxter Auto | Midwest Car 
Dealer Group
Mercedes-Benz of Omaha

Top of page


The Best of Omaha book is an annual publication of Omaha Magazine. It is available for purchase wherever Omaha Magazine is sold (http://omahamagazine.com/locations/). Subscribers to Omaha Magazine received the 2019 edition with the November/December 2018 issue of the magazine. Subscribe to Omaha Magazine at http://omahamagazine.com/subscribe. Voting is open to the general public online. Voting for the next round of Best of Omaha will take place in 2019 at http://bestofomaha.com

Changing Lives After a Life-Changer

October 31, 2018 by
Photography by Bill Sitzmann

She never imagined that checking a small box on a job application would have such a big impact.

Jasmine L. Harris was trying to turn her life around from a couple of misdemeanors as a young adult. She learned that answering “yes” to the question of criminal charges in her background put up barriers to employment.

“All I heard was, ‘We can’t hire you’ for almost two years,” Harris says. “And that was with misdemeanors. Someone with a felony on their record doesn’t stand a chance.”

With only her family in her corner and a young son for whom she was now responsible, Harris determined she was going to get her life on track and make a better way for others with similar life experiences.

“I had to get a grip on my life because I was going nowhere fast,” says Harris, who earned a bachelor’s degree in biology from the University of Nebraska-Omaha, then a Master of Public Health from the University of Nebraska Medical Center. “If I didn’t make drastic changes, I was going to be dead or in jail.”

With her newfound lease on life, Harris became a health educator and tobacco prevention coordinator for Creighton University School of Medicine’s Clinical Research Office. She also served as civic engagement committee chair for the Urban League of Nebraska Young Professionals, where she focused on advocacy and awareness of criminal justice issues.

Her passion became helping those who wanted to move beyond past mistakes and find someone to believe in their future. That passion led Harris to co-found Waymaker LLC, an organization that motivates women and girls to overcome setbacks from being involved in the criminal justice system—the kind of service Harris could have used when she was climbing her way back. 

“We focused on making a way of life—creating second chances—for women and girls who were having similar experiences as mine,” says Harris, who focused much of her work in North Omaha where she grew up. “A lot of times, all someone needs is a second chance.”

Harris was the driving force behind efforts such as Black and Brown Legislative Day, when people of color were hosted at the state capitol to learn about the legislative process and register to vote. She also helped push for legislation that would remove the “Criminal History” section from an application for any job in the state—a bill that didn’t make it off the legislative floor.

Harris then turned her attention to volunteering with a new Nebraska organization called Defy Ventures, a group that works with incarcerated and previously-incarcerated people to help them land jobs or become business entrepreneurs. 

She deployed programs such as “CEO of Your New Life,” which focuses on character development, employment readiness, and entrepreneurship training. Defy helps people in post-release develop a new business pitch in a “Shark Tank”-like competition—with the idea that the new business will eventually hire others who have been in jail.

“The main goal is to help people, upon release, be ready for gainful, meaningful employment,” says Harris, who landed a full-time position as Defy’s post-release program manager. “We teach how to talk about your incarceration in a way that doesn’t turn off employers or cause them to pity you.”

Harris, awarded the Omaha NAACP Freedom Fighter Award in 2017 and named one of the Ten Outstanding Young Omahans by the Omaha Jaycees, knows there might be opportunity to help more people in a bigger city. But the “love-hate relationship” she had with her hometown when she was a teen is now all love. She is motivated by the endless opportunity she sees here.

“I came back here because I see the potential in Omaha,” Harris says. “I see people who sincerely want to help and are making the change. I want to be an integral part of that.”


Visit defyventures.org for more information.

This article was printed in the October/November 2018 edition of B2B. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.

Setting the Example

October 20, 2018 by
Photography by provided

Stacy Martin knows she stepped into big shoes this past spring when she took over the leadership of Lutheran Family Services.

After all, the previous president and CEO, Ruth Heinrichs, spent most of her career—41 years from start to finish—holding the reins of the organization that positively impacts the lives of people throughout Nebraska and Council Bluffs with behavioral health, and child and community services. 

Still, Martin, who was born in Omaha and returned in April after several years as the executive vice president of programs at Lutheran Services Florida in Tampa, acknowledges she is not, and cannot be, Heinrichs. 

She has her own strengths and methods of leading that she is confident will continue to move LFS, which celebrated 125 years in 2017, into new areas of growth and impact. 

“I don’t pretend to fit into Ruth’s shoes; the path she forged was best for LFS and great for the history of the organization,” Martin says of Heinrichs, who announced her retirement in the summer of 2017. “It’s my goal to maintain the caliber of professionalism and continue to provide services of great quality. I don’t waste my energy on what I can’t change.”

Martin, who has dedicated her professional life to helping others, grew up in Kansas and graduated summa cum laude from Sterling College in Sterling, Kansas, with a Bachelor of Arts in English and secondary education. She earned an MBA from Eastern University in Pennsylvania and a Master of Divinity from Princeton Theological Seminary, where she was a presidential fellow.

In her role as executive vice president of programs at LSF, she oversaw a team of 600 and a budget of $50 million delivering programs that include child welfare, guardianship, immigration and refugee services, housing, youth shelters, sexual abuse treatment, and behavioral health services. With more than 1,500 employees and an annual budget of $220 million, LSF is one of the largest social service organizations in Florida.

Prior to this position, she served as the organization’s chief communications and development officer, and before that, was a vice president at Lutheran Immigration & Refugee Service and the director of Policy and Advocacy for the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America in Washington, D.C.

She returned regularly to Omaha through her husband’s work as a health economist. When they started looking for opportunities in the Midwest last year, they chose Omaha so Martin could be closer to her mother and other family members still in Kansas.

And while she admits she didn’t necessarily foresee a future in nonprofit leadership when she first started, she credits “amazing mentors” over the course of her career who encouraged her and helped her ascend the steps up the leadership ladder along the way. 

“All I can be is my best, most authentic self, and I believe we all can lead from any chair,” Martin says. “I know we can improve as an organization by being our best every day. I know I’m not the smartest person in the room, but it’s my goal to help encourage others to shine.”

And in her first few months at Lutheran Family Services, Martin says she sees ample opportunity for growth across the organization. 

“Lutheran Family Services has a firm foundation with dedicated staff that is willing to change and grow with the organization,” Martin says. “We all share a common faith-based goal to strengthen our skills to have an impact toward the common good. I see opportunity around every corner.”


Visit lfsneb.org for more information.

This article was printed in the October/November 2018 edition of B2B. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.

From Fried Chicken to Frozen Farro

October 16, 2018 by
Photography by Bill Sitzmann

In the early 1950s, at the dawn of the frozen meal era, it was fairly easy to predict the type of meals that appeared in those iconic, foil-covered aluminum trays.

“They very much reflected what was put on the kitchen table for an evening meal, a Sunday lunch, or something like that, with the fried chicken, mashed potatoes and gravy, and some kind of a brownie for dessert,” says Kristin Reimers, director of nutrition at Conagra Brands in Omaha. “It was such a new technology that there was a need to keep the food familiar.”

Omaha figured prominently in the development of frozen dinners and entrees, and it still does. Reimers describes Omaha as “command central” for Conagra’s innovation in such products.

“All of the technology [for innovation] resides here in Omaha with the 1,200 employees that remain in Omaha,” she says. “This is where all the research and development occurs.”

That research and development team includes such high-level employees as food science experts, chefs, and processing and packaging engineers.

In 1980, Conagra purchased Banquet Foods Co. (an early marketer of frozen entrees). The company was a competitor to Omaha-based C.A. Swanson & Sons, which developed the TV Brand Frozen Dinner in 1953.

Then, in the late 1980s, Conagra blazed a new path in the frozen meal and entree market when it introduced the Healthy Choice brand at the urging of then-CEO Mike Harper.

Healthy Choice signaled a change in frozen meals toward better nutrition, as well as convenience.

Reimers says that in recent years, Conagra has revisited not just Healthy Choice, but all of its classic brands to make them more appealing to millennials and others who seek restaurant-style meals at home that feature foods different from what they might prepare in their own kitchens. 

“People are looking for the convenience, but they don’t just want the convenience,” she says. “They want the experience.” 

“People are embracing it and loving it,” she says. “They’re looking at these frozen meals as they would a restaurant experience—some way to explore new foods at a very small risk. If you don’t like it, no big deal. You haven’t spent a lot of money or a lot of time. But if you love it, it’s like ‘wow’—you’ve experienced something really exciting—and really nutritious, too.”   

“We can offer foods to people that maybe they haven’t tasted before. We’ve been able to really explore a greater variety of foods,” Reimers says. Foods such as the Adobo Chicken and Korean-Inspired Beef versions of the company’s Power Bowls entrees, which were introduced last year. Items in that product line include whole grains and vegetables that consumers tend not to keep in their pantries.

In July, Conagra Brands introduced Morning Power Bowls, which variously include grains such as farro, quinoa, oats, and buckwheat. They offer an Unwrapped Burrito Scramble, Turkey Sausage and Egg White Scramble, Roasted Red Pepper and Egg White Shakshuska, and Pesto and Egg White Scramble.

And the bowls themselves are made from a plant-based fiber instead of a plastic, providing a nod to today’s more environmentally conscious consumer along with a reduction in energy use for the company.

Regarding nutrition, consumers need not fear they are missing out on key nutrients when they choose frozen meals. Reimers says the nutrition of frozen meals is comparable to that of meals prepared using fresh or raw ingredients.

Freshness is no concern, either. 

“Vegetables that are in the frozen meals are probably fresher than a consumer would be using at home,” Reimers says. 

Why? 

“The foods are harvested and brought to the frozen state, usually within the same day—hard to do, even if you have your own garden,” she says. “The amount of time that that food is exposed to air and to light that will cause the degradation of nutrients is very minimized in the frozen food.” 


Visit conagra.com for more information.

This article was printed in the October/November 2018 edition of B2B. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.

Kristin Reimers, director of Nutrition at Conagra Brands in Omaha

The Right Stuff

October 2, 2018 by
Photography by Bill Sitzmann

Raymond Page can trace his family’s military history to the Civil War and the 7th Pennsylvania Cavalry Regiment. Family members fought in World War I. His namesake grandfather survived a bullet wound after being shot on the beaches of Normandy during World War II.

Such a deep legacy of service may explain why, shortly after entering a university close to his rural northern Pennsylvania home, Page decided he wasn’t cut out for college. 

In 1988, at age 18, Page opted to follow his father and two older brothers into the U.S. Air Force. Another kind of education kicked in immediately at Offutt Air Force Base in Bellevue. 

“My first career was a radio operator, because I’ve always been into electronics,” says Page, 49. “Eventually I transitioned into meteorology and went to forecasting school. Offutt has the [Air Force Weather Agency] here, so it’s a job-rich environment.”

After ending his Air Force career as a major in 2014 after 26 years in the service, Page contemplated life as a civilian.

As he fielded several opportunities before accepting a position at Mutual of Omaha, Page discovered the reason transitions to the private sector run smoothly here: Omaha businesses need, actively recruit, and above all value veterans. 

Why?

“A better question is, why wouldn’t they want to hire a veteran?” observes Jeffrey Owens, vice president of Security Operations at First Data in Omaha and a Marine Corps veteran who enlisted during the Gulf War. “These young people trained, at a very young age, how to be leader[s], how to make decisions under high stress situations.”

The unemployment rate of post-9/11 veterans keeps trending down.  According to the latest numbers from the U.S. Labor Department, it stands at 3.3 percent nationwide. Still, many companies wonder why the number of employees with military experience isn’t higher, considering all the recruitment programs in place. 

The glitch may lie at the other end of the equation. 

“One of the scariest things for military people transitioning is there’s not a direct correlation of jobs [in the private sector],” says Page, echoing the thoughts of many veterans who may wonder, “Where do my skills fit in?” 

Page put his skills to the test in two war zones, Afghanistan and Iraq. During the Iraqi invasion in 2003, his weather detachment forecasted a monster three-day sandstorm, putting Army leaders in a position to keep their troops safe and hunkered down. 

“Even though I was a weather officer, I had a lot of experience in computer programming,” says Page, who lives in Bellevue with his wife and two children. “Military people, especially Air Force people, are wired to adapt quickly as we move from job to job. We show initiative.”

Owens, who also spent 14 years as a detective with the Atlanta Police Department, can’t speak highly enough of the qualities he observes every day in his employees. ”All the veterans I’ve had the opportunity to manage have exhibited loyalty, hard work, and they have a history and tradition built into them. Why wouldn’t you want those assets?”

Along with a lack of a business network, self-marketing may be a problem with many veterans. Military service focuses on the collective, making it difficult for a veteran to distinguish him-or-herself from the group, which is often an essential part of interviewing.

But that emphasis on the collective means many former service members will appreciate company values, missions, and visions.

First Data, founded in Omaha 47 years ago and now the world’s largest payment processor, reaches out to veterans through its First Data Salutes program. The company offers career opportunities and education resources for military personnel and their spouses; provides point-of-sale and business application technology free of charge to veteran-owned small businesses; and, like many local businesses, grants flex time to members of the National Guard or Reserves.

“What the company says to them is, ‘Hey, your job will be here when you get back.’ That gives them comfort and security while they’re [deployed],” says Owens.

First Data’s efforts on behalf of veterans, who made up 14.4 percent of the company’s Omaha hires last year, have won accolades. Military Times magazine has ranked the company No. 1 on its annual “Best for Vets: Employers” list the past two years, an honor “that cannot be bought, only earned,” according to the magazine’s editor. The rigorous survey, sent to 2,300 companies nationwide, contains 90 questions that companies must fill out and return. 

Page’s computer and leadership abilities caught the interest of Mutual of Omaha when the company hosted meet-up groups of software developers. Since joining the insurance company four years ago, he has thrived as an information systems manager. 

He has also positioned himself as a trusted adviser for Mutual’s military initiative, the Veterans Employee Resource Board. The group, in conjunction with the HR department, provides mentoring and assistance to people coming out of the service. Quarterly meetings focus on developing business knowledge and honing leadership skills. Members join their fellow Mutual employees in volunteering for community projects several times a year.

Page and other VERB members offer a bridge of understanding when it comes to the language of a veteran recruit’s skill set. 

“We also work with managers to help them decipher resumes,” Page points out. “What military people put on a resume is different from a civilian’s resume. I help interpret.”

Page realizes a lack of connections forms the biggest roadblock to people exiting the military. “I tell people to start networking, start visiting companies before they leave the service. Companies love talking to military men and women.”

Here in the Midlands, that’s sound advice.


Visit firstdata.com or mutualofomaha.com for more information.

This article was printed in the October/November 2018 edition of B2B. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.

Jeffrey Owens

Blockchain

September 23, 2018 by
Photography by Bill Sitzmann

To industries that depend on verification as a core factor of their business, blockchain technology has much to offer, according to Erica Wassinger, co-founder of The Startup Collaborative and senior director of entrepreneurship and innovation for the Greater Omaha Chamber. B2B recently caught up with Wassinger to get her take on blockchain and its benefits to companies in Omaha and elsewhere. 

B2B: Please explain what blockchain technology is. 

Wassinger: Blockchain is a new form of the internet. The distinguishing factor between blockchain and the internet as we know it now is the fact that blockchain is not controlled by any central entity or person. It’s completely decentralized and distributed. Think of it like a public ledger that can record transactions of any type. A simple parallel might be that it can be a supply chain for just about anything, including information. When you dig deeply into the industries of Omaha, you think about our density within the supply chain. We’re home to Union Pacific, Werner Enterprises, and some of these big logistics companies. Blockchain fits really nicely into the business models of those types of companies because it allows any organization or person to verify where something is on the supply chain. 

B2B: To make use of blockchain, you have to be appropriately credentialed, digitally, right? 

Wassinger: To an extent. Businesses can operate on blockchain, any person can cooperate on it. If you want to develop on the blockchain, it does require a certain level of skill. There are very few developers. I heard one source say there are as few as 1,300 true blockchain developers in the world. 

B2B: What are those individuals doing? Developing applications for different products? 

Wassinger: Yes. They’re thinking of different use cases just like we would for the internet, where we think of how to create a web platform or an app that solves a problem. Blockchain developers are doing that same thing for blockchain use cases. 

B2B: What are some blockchain use cases?

Wassinger: You see blockchain used in the food industry with the verification of crop growth product formation. For example, if, as a consumer, I want to eat a food, and it matters to me greatly that that is a wholly organic food, I might want to go all the way back to the point at which that was planted in the soil to figure out how the crop was treated, how often was it watered, when was it harvested, where did it go, and what happened to it at the next facility.

B2B: Is supply chain verification the most popular use of blockchain?

Wassinger: Yes, at least here in the Nebraska blockchain market, whether it’s the food supply chain or the information supply chain. 

B2B: What are some local use cases for blockchain?

Wassinger: Let’s dig into the economy of Omaha. We’ve got deep density in financial services— everything from payment processing to banking to insurance. All those bases are completely ripe for blockchain technology, especially when you think about the need for authenticating things. Think about insurance, for example. Wouldn’t it be great if, upon buying a new policy, you could record every transaction very simply? That’s happening now with certain insurance companies. They’re testing that, and some are live right now. You can also look outside financial services and into the food industry. There’s a startup we are working with called BlockEra that’s working on an ingredient-to-table verification process. You can also think supply chain logistics. For example, if I am Union Pacific and I want to watch my train go from here to there, and I want to know what freight was loaded, when it was unloaded, and all of the details of that experience, blockchain becomes very relevant. 

B2B: What about an international use case? 

Wassinger: The United Nations, which works with massive refugee populations, has a really interesting blockchain use case. As a refugee, your anonymity is important to you—the ability to transact in any environment is important. You also fully expect to have a physical wallet on you to carry cash. You’re going to be crossing borders and deal with this, that, or the other. So the United Nations looked at that. We can respect these people’s anonymity through leveraging the block chain by giving refugees tokens that will allow them to transact across any border. As they reach certain points in their journey, we can make sure that they have enough tokens to fuel that piece of their journey. 

B2B: The technology sounds great. How does anybody make money from it? 

Wassinger: A lot of people are still trying to figure all of this out. Because the transactions are happening on blockchain, they require use of cryptocurrency. When you hear “cryptocurrency,” a lot of people are going to initially think of bitcoin. But there are several others that come up, Ether being one. Ether is the cryptocurrency of choice for the Ethereum blockchain. Ethereum is an open- source blockchain that is hinged around the idea of a smart contract, which is a really transparent way of two entities agreeing on a value for something and then recording that agreement
transaction together. 

B2B: Is there anything you’d like to add? 

Wassinger: I think about Omaha and the talent pools we have here. I keep coming back to this: we’ve got really a strong agribusiness talent pool, we’ve got a really strong talent pool in supply chain and logistics, and we’ve got an incredibly dense and strong talent pool as it relates to financial services, insurance, and payment processing. I think our region needs to embrace blockchain. We need more people in the core industries where blockchain stands to be a major disruptive source to test and dabble and experiment earlier with the technology to look at it and say what levels of verification need to happen in those industries. I would love to see that embraced because I firmly believe that blockchain will be very important to the future of Omaha’s economy.


Visit blockgeeks.com for more information about blockchain.

This article was printed in the August/September 2018 edition of B2B.

Erica Wassinger, co-founder of The Startup Collaborative and senior director of entrepreneurship and innovation for the Greater Omaha Chamber

Honoring Veterans

September 18, 2018 by
Photography by Bill Sitzmann

Two years ago, my husband and I met a group of friends from Iowa City at Elk Rock State Park near Knoxville, Iowa, for a “meet in the middle” excursion. I made the mistake of booking sites for the six of us at the equestrian campground, which featured well-maintained trails that nearly every other camper, all horse owners, made use of that weekend.

Knoxville happens to be my hometown, so while in the area, we paid a visit to my parents. Upon explaining to them where we camped, my father said, “I think that was some of my guys who originally created those horse trails.”

‘My guys’ refers to veterans. My father was a psychologist for the VA Medical Center in Knoxville for 40 years.

These veterans came together to create trails at a state-run park that could be used by anyone, just as they came together during conflicts to fight for the U.S. They felt a sense of purpose and honor in coming together for the common good. This sense of honor, especially, is a trait that many veterans carry into the working world.

Veterans Day falls on Nov. 11, and as a way of saying, “thank you,” we have created features in this edition of B2B that are dedicated to honoring veterans. We spotlight two former servicemen who became entrepreneurs, we explain some legal considerations with employing National Guard members, and we help employers translate some of the great qualifications a soldier has from “government speak” to the business world.

Also, we at Omaha Magazine are creating a special event that will be perfect for networking. Learn more about the Best of Omaha Soirée (Nov. 8) in our “After Hours” department. I hope to see you there.


This letter was printed in the October/November 2018 edition of B2B. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.

Daisy Hutzell-Rodman is the managing editor of B2B, a publication of Omaha Magazine LTD. She can be reached at daisy@omahamagazine.com.

Omaha is a 52-Weekend Destination

When a Minnesota mom was looking for a December weekend getaway, she looked toward Omaha. Yes, you read that correctly: December and Omaha. Greta,* a blogger living in Minnesota, visited Omaha during the summer a few years ago. When she and her husband were looking for a fun family winter destination that was drivable, affordable, and offered lots of activities for their 18-month-old son, they thought Omaha fit the bill. And they were right—Omaha is a great winter destination for a weekend getaway. (Omaha is south of Minnesota…winter is all about perspective isn’t it?)

The city’s major attractions are all open year-round and offer unique indoor experiences during the winter months. When Greta and her family visited Omaha’s zoo last December, they had more than seven acres of indoor exhibits to explore. There weren’t huge crowds to compete with her toddler for great views of the animals. While she can’t pinpoint a favorite exhibit at the zoo, her son’s favorite spot was the aquarium. She loved the specially designed areas in the aquarium allowing her son to feel like he could almost reach out and touch the fish.  

The family also visited The Durham Museum during their Christmas at Union Station celebration. The magic of the holidays came alive as they explored the historic train cars, discovered how a train depot works, and bellied up to the old-fashioned soda fountain. It was a much different experience than she had during her summer trip.

When we look at research completed by Tourism Economics, an Oxford economics company, visitation to Omaha peaks in the second and third quarters as you would expect. In the fourth quarter, visitation is lower as the kids go back to school and winter sets in. But here is why visiting in the winter can pay off: hotel rates are generally lower and attractions are typically less crowded. 

Visit Omaha has created a new 52-Weekend advertising campaign to drive home the message that Omaha is a year-round destination for families, couples, and friends to get away for a long weekend. The ads are running year-round in Minneapolis; Kansas City; Des Moines, Iowa; and Sioux Falls, South Dakota—cities that are an easy drive away. From January through March, the number of people going to Visit Omaha’s website to plan a trip increased by 25 percent from residents of Minneapolis, 17 percent for those from Kansas City, and 9 percent from residents of Des Moines.

Omaha is not a city that hibernates during the winter months. The more Gretas who know that, the more business will be generated here. So, the next time someone asks you about the best time to visit Omaha, let them know it is any of the 52 weekends out of the year.

*Greta Alms is the blogger behind Pickles Travel Blog. Greta asked to partner with Visit Omaha last December. Her travel adventures, including her post about Omaha, can be found at picklestravel.com.


This column was printed in the October/November 2018 edition of B2B. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.

Keith Backsen is executive director of the Omaha Convention and Visitors Bureau.

Vets in Business

Whenever I think about the veterans I know who have started businesses after leaving the military, I reflect on the leadership qualities they learned and bring with them to the workplace. Honesty, responsibility, respect—yes, these are important values. But the best quality of them all, the one that uplifts and inspires me the most, is their extreme sense of honor. 

Having a sense of honor feels like an ancient thing, a deep and noble thing. When life is full of extreme trials and devastations, honorable people rise above the rest and stay focused on what is excellent. Others might give up or give in, succumb to rationalizations and workarounds, but those with a sense of honor have a strong appreciation of the good and the right, and they intentionally choose to live by their moral principles.

Notice, then, that the key to honor is as much about resolve and willpower as it is about having specific moral principles front of mind. Honor is an action word. Without consistent, calm, clear follow-through, a sense of honor is hollow.

When I visualize an honorable person, I think of an archer, focused on a bullseye, bow pulled taut
with an arrow ready for release. Years of dedication and practice enable the archer to remain cool and composed, shooting the arrow straight and true. Yes, for me, a sense of honor is acquired over time and through experience. 

These days, I think I have a pretty good ability to pick out businesspeople who are, or have been, in the military. I pick up on their sense of honor. When I recently met Richard Messina, owner of Play It Again Sports, his demeanor and description of how and why he runs his business exemplified his sense of honor. He could, so easily, buy used sports equipment for pennies for what they are worth and resell them for much more than they are worth. But his sense of honor directs him. He sees himself and his business as a part of the community and, so, unfair business practices are not acceptable. Rich was in the Air Force for 17 years. His aim is straight and true. 

To Rich and all Omaha vets: I admire your sense of honor and, in this, I want to be just like you.


This column was printed in the October/November 2018 edition of B2B. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.

Beverly Kracher, Ph.D., is the executive director of the Business Ethics Alliance and the Daugherty Chair in Business Ethics and Society at Creighton University.

Play Ball!

Photography by Bill Sitzmann

Mancuso: a name revered in the Omaha area for their family’s event planning business, Mid-America Expositions. 

From hosting grand events in Omaha’s late Civic Auditorium to formulating events like “Taste of Omaha,” the Mancusos’ impact has been felt in the Omaha area for more than 50 years. It is their passion for sports, however, that has held the family together. 

Youngest son Mike says his father, Bob Sr., grew up in Omaha with a heavy interest in sports thanks to Mike’s grandfather, Joe, being in charge of the city parks. Mike also says because his father grew up in a time without television and video games, sports were something he could easily focus on.

Bob Sr. took his passions to Kansas State University on a wrestling scholarship and later qualified to wrestle at the 1956 Olympic trials. However, before the trials started, Joe fell sick and passed away; Bob Sr. needed to move back to the area. Bob Sr. took a job coaching wrestling at Bellevue High School (now Bellevue East). He led the team to their first state championship, and within a few years, the University of Nebraska offered him a job coaching wrestling in Lincoln.

“Bob Devaney was just hired as the head football coach in 1962 and Frank Sevigne was the track coach, so he was just really enjoying the new environment and coaching at the time, as were us kids,” Mike says.   

Since their days in Lincoln, the Mancuso family has owned tickets to every season of Nebraska football.

“When my dad started coaching at Nebraska in the ’60s, he got a couple of seats for every football game,” Mike says. “We’ve kept those seats every year since it’s a tradition of ours to attend every game, through the good and the bad.”

Mike says he best remembers Saturdays at Memorial Stadium with his dad.

One October 1994 game in Lincoln has remained apparent in his mind.  

“It was a huge Big 8 matchup with Colorado, and Brook Berringer got the call at quarterback because Bobby Newcombe wasn’t feeling too good,” Mike says.  “We had the tunnel walk and HuskerVision for the first time, and [then] Colorado came out before we [Nebraska] came out onto the field. And because of that, I can just remember the stadium…going absolutely nuts.” 

For most games, the Mancusos have traveled to Memorial Stadium from Omaha. The family’s residence in Lincoln was cut short, in part due to Mike entreating his father to move home.

“1964 is when our family decided to move back to Omaha, since coaching, at the time, wasn’t paid in a substantial amount like it is today,” Mike says with a laugh. “I inspired our dad to start [Mid-America Expositions] and come to Omaha to start managing events.”

Mike and his older brothers, Bob Jr. and Joe, took their Cornhusker pride and athletic passion to the ball diamonds and courts of Omaha. Bob Sr. was also a prominent figure in the Omaha sports community.

“We grew up around Omaha sports, playing in a variety of different leagues,” Mike says. “Like his dad, my dad also coached a lot, mainly because he loved teaching. He also was very involved in the Greater Omaha Sports Committee, originated by my uncle Charlie, and continued by my dad after Charlie’s death.”

Mike says his dad’s involvement in the Greater Omaha Sports Committee created many surreal experiences as a child, where he and his brothers worked as bat, and ball, boys for Major League Baseball and National Basketball Association exhibition games.

“I remember one time I was a ball boy underneath the hoop and Sam Lacey was the big center and ‘Tiny’  Nate Archibald was the little guard,” Mike says, speaking of two Kansas City Kings players. “During the game, Lacey went after a ball and tumbled into the stands, causing everyone to [launch] their pops, creating a mess. I had to get my towel out and clean it up in front of everybody.”  

At the core of the Greater Omaha Sports Committee, and the city, was the College World Series. Bob Sr. and fellow committee members often held a welcome luncheon for all the participating teams, hoping to provide unforgettable experiences in Omaha.

The Mancusos’ contribution and involvement in college baseball’s grand series carried on throughout the tournament as Mike and his brothers helped to enhance the experience in any way possible. 

“We would run the dugouts, trying to clean them up between each game,” Mike says. “We worked the fields, and if we had time, would run up and clean the press box. Up there we took care of the press by giving them something to eat and plenty of water to drink at the games. We’ll just say I made a lot of Zesto runs.”

A newspaper clipping from Wilmer Mizell’s appearance in Omaha

One time his father even gave up their family’s premier seats to former Saint Louis Cardinals pitcher and U.S. congressman Wilmer “Vinegar Bend” Mizell.

“Ben Mizell came in for breakfast one morning before the games to speak in front of some of the players who were involved with the Fellowship of Christian Athletes,” Mike says.  “After the speech, my dad generously told him to take our seats, kicking my brothers and I out.  Luckily, there were spots up top in the GA [general admission] section, and at that age we liked to run around anyway.”

Like Bob Sr., his three boys also played college sports. Mike inherited his father’s passion for wrestling, taking his talents to Iowa State University. Bob Jr. also took the Mancuso name to Ames, though for baseball, while Joe played baseball at the University of Nebraska-Omaha.

Although the brothers now longer watch sports with their dad, who passed away in 2015, in many ways, sports act as a microcosm in demonstrating the core aspects of family, which is why the Mancuso brothers’ passion in athletics ceases to fade.


Visit showofficeonline.com for more information.

This article was printed in the August/September 2018 edition of B2B.

A souvenier given to CWS teams