Tag Archives: Johnny Ray Gomez

Independent Living

May 5, 2016 by

Retirement communities stereotypically bring to mind senior citizens playing shuffleboard and bingo, perhaps eating some form of dry meatloaf and mushy potatoes in the cafeteria.

That may have been your grandparents’ retirement community, but it certainly won’t be yours, or your parents’. Independent living communities today offer trendy gluten-free items on the menu, yoga and tai chi in the gym, and even the chance to take in Broadway shows downtown. They are located in trendy midtown as well as quieter west Omaha.

Independent living is any housing arrangement designed exclusively for seniors, from apartments to freestanding homes. The housing is generally more compact and offers easier navigation and no maintenance or yard work. People can live their own lives, but they reside in a community with activities and services geared towards seniors.

Great Activities

George Bakhit, executive director of Fountain View Senior Living, said that these popular amenities are making family members look at senior living, including independent living, in a different light.

“I’m seeing children who are looking at senior living for their folks, and they are intrigued,” Bakhit says.

Bakhit says part of the key to being a great retirement living facility is the quality of activities. Fountain View does provides bingo, and many people play bridge, but residents also go to the movies, baseball games, and the theater. The establishment provides live entertainment by popular local entertainers like Johnny Ray Gomez.

Key for Fountain View is maintaining a feeling that residents are at home and have the amenities they need. They have easy access to shopping areas, banks, and the Interstate. The Fountain View community also offers assisted living and care for those with Alzheimers or dementia. The ability to provide a variety of services is something Bakhit stressed people need to look for when choosing a facility.

“When looking for a senior living community, one might be conscious to look for a continual care community to make the transition from an independent living to assisted living smoother,” Bakhit says.

Great food

At Maple Ridge Retirement Community, residents don’t have to wait for a specified mealtime to eat. The community offers a Freedom Dining Program, based on the cruise-line model of dining.

They don’t serve mystery meat, either. One dish the executive chef serves is chicken-fried steak atop a crispy fried potato cake, over a chive oil drizzled corn soubise. The meal is finished with fried baby spinach and brunoise red peppers.

That’s just one meal that was recently served in their fine dining option. Maple Ridge serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner…and they extend their lunch for another hour by leaving the soup and salad bar open.  Hungry between 3 and 4 p.m.? They offer snacks and sandwiches.

“The Freedom Dining, the ability to come and go more to fit with their lifestyles, is something that is totally unique to us,” says DeniseTownsend, a manager at Maple Ridge.

While they don’t cater to special diets, such as low-sodium, in the independent living area, they do offer some trendy options, like gluten-free or vegetarian.

Urban Living

Indulging in trendy PieFive Pizza Co. before catching a movie at Aksarben Cinema might be something for hipsters, but residents at Aksarben Village Retirement Living Community just walk right across the street for a slice.  They can also grab some morning coffee at Starbucks.

It’s all part of modern independent living.


Singing a Happy Tune

November 11, 2015 by
Photography by Bill Sitzmann

Jingle writers have done their job if they create an earworm—a song so catchy it sticks in your head and won’t leave. “When I tell people I work at Controlled Comfort, they immediately start singing the jingle,” says Alan Hove, who, along with co-owners Leo Costanzo and Anne Taylor, purchased Controlled Comfort in 2004. “It’s the best form of advertising we could ever hope for.”

Most people in the Omaha metro area are familiar with that animated female voice belting out, “Controlled Comfort–Keep it Under Controooooool!” Many locals probably would not guess the company’s logo (an angel), but could at least hum a few bars of the jingle. Whether a catchy tune is annoying or enjoyable is a matter of opinion, but once that musical worm has worked its way into your psyche, you are forced to remember the product, which is exactly what advertisers hope for.

When companies change ownership, one major decision is whether or not to maintain the same brand image, and the current owners of Controlled Comfort knew they wanted things to stay pretty much the same when they took ownership.

“We love our jingle!” says Taylor. “When we purchased the company, we knew we wanted to maintain the image and keep the logo and jingle. We couldn’t ask for a better form of advertising.”

Research shows that music increases recall, and simple melodies with simple lyrics stick with a consumer not only for the short term, but often the long-term. Remember, “I Wish I Were an Oscar Meyer Weiner?” Even if it has been years since you have actually heard it, chances are you can still sing the entire song. Controlled Comfort’s brand may not be as huge as Oscar Meyer’s, but their jingle has stood the test of time, being sung on local radio and TV for nearly 20 years with no end in sight.

Taylor recounts how, in the mid-1990s, local musician Johnny Ray Gomez produced the jingle for a radio spot.

“The previous owners purchased a year of radio advertising and it came with a jingle,” Taylor says.

At the time they had no idea they did not retain exclusive rights to the melody.

“I just recently heard the song while I was traveling in western Nebraska. It was quite a shock!” she adds with a laugh.

Branding is all about creating an image of a business that will stick in a customer’s mind. Though most businesses rely on visual advertising to create their brand, jingles can be an additional way to increase awareness and create staying power. People often remember a catchy tune. Throw the company name and their phone number in the jingle lyrics, and customers may not even need to look up the contact information.

“If I forget the phone number, I just sing the jingle,” says one local customer.

Though original jingles declined in recent years as more large companies turn to popular songs for their advertising, a few local companies still spend at least some marketing dollars on jingles. Whether you think it annoying or catchy, a jingle may be your best advertising investment.