Tag Archives: Omaha Print

The Centennials

September 4, 2017 by
Photography by Bill Sitzmann

Pop quiz: From the following options, which is the oldest? a) sliced bread, b) Betty White, c) NP Dodge Real Estate, or d) traffic signals? Time’s up. Pencils down. Those who answered a, b, or d, sorry but those options are incorrect—do not pass go, do not collect $200. While NP Dodge’s founding in 1855 predates many marvels of the modern world, Omaha is actually home to more than 40 companies that have passed the centennial mark.

Gone are the cobblestone streets (save for a few in the Old Market) and telegrams of yesteryear, but these businesses are here to stay, serving as the base of a mid-sized, Midwestern metropolis thriving in the 21st century. This is made all the more impressive considering these companies have survived industry-changing technological advancements, social and economic shifts, a Great Depression, and a Great Recession. But Omaha’s oldest institutions aren’t keeling over anytime soon if they have anything to say about it.

“We learned a long time ago that we’re completely tied to the health of this community,” says Nate Dodge, president of NP Dodge. “By doing everything we can to help Omaha grow and succeed, we ensure our longevity as well.”

Like many of the companies in Omaha’s century club, NP Dodge started from humble beginnings. America’s longest-running, family-owned, full-service real-estate company, NP Dodge was founded by two brothers, Grenville and Nathan Phillips Dodge, who left Massachusetts to homestead in Douglas County in 1853. The company was born from a tiny office in Council Bluffs, with the brothers surveying land in the metro area to determine where property boundaries began and ended.

Two centuries later, the company employs more than 500 real estate agents and has been led by five generations of Dodges. According to the current Dodge at the helm of this massive real-estate ship, keeping it all in the family is not what has helped them stay afloat for so many years.

“It all ties back to the customer and how we can support the community in time, talent, and treasure,” Dodge says. “I believe the company has evolved and changed with the customer. [People] that work here focus on how we can best serve and exceed expectations in that given time.”

NP Dodge has evolved internally as well. It boasts an impressive number of women in leadership with 65 percent of all managerial roles belonging to women. Additionally, the company has continually made efforts to create transparency from top to bottom.

“I believe great ideas survive great debate, so we make leadership as accessible as it can be,”
Dodge says.

Another company that stakes its success in their ability to be proactive, not reactive, is Aradius Group, formerly Omaha Print. Founded in 1858 as the publisher of a now defunct tabloid, The Nebraska Republican, the company has grown into a full-service marketing agency and printer. Name it and they do it, including creative work, design, sales, scheduling, client services, and press work.

“We couldn’t continue doing business as we had always done in the past,“ says Steve Hayes, CEO. “Being just print didn’t give us the opportunity to grow. We needed to re-evaluate ourselves and expand services to remain relevant to customers.“

They did just that two years ago when they bought a full-service ad agency in Lincoln. With an expanded arsenal of services came a new name, and Omaha Print officially rebranded to
Aradius Group.

“We quickly realized that marketing ourselves as Omaha Print was not conveying the level of work we are now able to offer,“ Hayes says. “We grew up on print, we believe in the power of print, but we now communicate with prospects and clients in a multitude of different ways.“

The new name is a geometry-inspired metaphor, as a radius leads you to the center of a circle, just as the marketing company is at the center of their customers’ successes. Additionally, the spokes of a wheel are radiuses; thus, the new name reflects the fact that they can now offer clients an entire wheelhouse of marketing services.

Due to their continual evolution, Aradius still works with many of the same clients its founders did in the 1800s, including the State of Nebraska, Union Pacific, and First National Bank.

“We like to say we’re a two-year company with a 159-year background,“ Hayes says. “Omaha Print has really grown and progressed on parallel with Omaha.“

The Byron Reed Co., a property management firm founded in 1856, has also evolved with the city. What started as a small real-estate and land-development agency—one responsible for the original survey of Omaha and the creation of many of today’s subdivisions—is now a company that specializes in property management and investments. Its current portfolio consists of apartments, warehouses, office buildings, and commercial strip centers.

While the company’s progression has helped keep it competitive, president R. Michael Alt credits his employees for the firm’s longtime success.

“In the management business, God’s in the details,” Alt says. “Our employees have to like people, pay attention to detail, and enjoy the business while being knowledgeable of the industry and how it’s changing with time.”

 Take one look at these three Midwest companies, each remaining titans of their respective industries, and see three success stories, each due to their employees’ willingness to adapt to the times.

“Instead of being reactive to what is changing, you need to be a part of the moving tide—a piece of what the industry is changing to,” Hayes says.

Visit npdodge.com, aradiusgroup.com, and byronreedcompany.com for more information.

This article published in the Fall 2017 edition of B2B.

Martin Hager, vice president of agency services at Aradius, leads a group discussion.

Western League Park

June 5, 2015 by
Photography by Bill Sitzmann

This article originally published in May/June 2015 edition of The Encounter.

Steve Rosenblatt likes to drive by the 15th and Vinton streets area and visualize the neighborhood as it was a century ago. A ballpark sat there before burning down in 1936.

The long-gone field is where Omaha baseball history took place. Where Babe “The Bambino” Ruth hit a home run. Where Western League ballplayers fiercely competed.

And where 19-year-old Johnny Rosenblatt (who became Steve’s father) started a 20-year career as an outfielder in amateur and semipro leagues. He went on to play professionally in 1934 and 1935 with the Omaha Packers in the Western League.

As a semipro, Johnny Rosenblatt sometimes played under the name Johnny Ross. He  became mayor of Omaha and the inspiration for the now-demolished Rosenblatt Stadium.

Later his son would follow in Johnny’s baseball cleats. Steve played baseball for the Jewish Community Center team made up of players from the Creighton University baseball team.

“They wanted someone who was Jewish, and I was the best-known Jewish player in 1957,” he says.

The field on Vinton Street was a center of excitement in 1927 when Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig came to town for an exhibition game that drew thousands of fans. Their team, the New York Yankees, were on a roll: They had just won the World Series. Gehrig was selected MVP in the American League. Ruth had hit a record 60 home runs that year.

Steve Hayes, chairman of Omaha Print, has the box scores from that 1927 game along with historical memorabilia from the Omaha Prints, the company’s team that played in the game.

On that unforgettable day in 1927, Lou Gehrig played for the Omaha Prints, competing with Babe Ruth, who played for the Brown Parks. Brown won 9-5.

But a week later, the Omaha Prints were back on top at Vinton Street Park—then called Western League Park—winning the city championship against the Brown Parks 2-1.

Hayes says that Rosenblatt played for the company’s team that day and others. “He also played basketball and bowled for us.”

The park near 15th and Vinton streets had many names. The website nebaseballhistory.com explains:  “The name of the park depended on the whim of the newspaper. Usually it was referred to as the Vinton Street Park. Sometimes it was called Rourke Park and later in the 1920s, League Park became the most common moniker.”

Timeline

The following includes historical information compiled by Kevin McNabb when he was the media relations director for the Omaha Royals. McNabb is now a radio sports director in Columbus, Neb.

1900—The Omahogs team, in Omaha since 1887, started playing in a new baseball park at 15th and Vinton streets. Admission was 25 cents.

1901—The team was renamed the Omaha Indians and the Western League was established.

1902—The park’s name changed to Rourke Park Western League.

1904—The Rangers, who played under that name for one season, took the Western League pennant. 

1905to 1920—The team is now called the Rourkes, presumably named for manager Billy “Pa” Rourke.

1908—Rourke poured $32,000
into rebuilding Vinton Street Park.
A new grandstand held 8,500 fans.  

1921—A contest to rename the team resulted in “Buffaloes” for the next six years. The Buffaloes drew 123,000 fans their first season. 

1930—Lights were put up at Vinton Street Park, and the first night game was played with the Omaha Packers vs. the Denver Bears. 

1936—A new team is called the Robin Hoods. 

1936—In August, a three-alarm fire shortly after midnight destroyed Western League/Vinton Street Park and 12 nearby homes. Destroyed were uniforms, bats, balls, and $1,000 worth of beer and hot dogs. 

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