Weekly Market Report – June 29, 2023

Jun 29, 2023 | 0 comments

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Restaurant & Retail Updates

The former Greenbelly space at 1917 South 67th Street in Aksarben Village is getting a new restaurant tenant. R.U.B., a new rotisserie chicken concept from Carlos Mendez of Au Courant Reginal Kitchen in Benson, is opening soon.

Wine Beer and Spirits plans to open its fifth store by the end of July in the former Wooden Windmill steakhouse building on the south side of Fremont. The 8,000 sq. ft. liquor store will include a bar and also feature locally sourced meats from Wahoo Meat Locker. Wine Beer and Spirits is planning three additional stores in Omaha and one in Lincoln. All four of the planned stores will be 30,000 sq. ft. to-be-constructed buildings.

Big Red Neighborhood Grill & Sports Bar has opened at 15450 Ida Street in the new Waterford Crossing retail strip center. The locally owned business has 16 televisions plus keno and a large selection of appetizers, burgers, side dishes, salads, soups, and beverages.

Goodcents will grow its presence in Omaha thanks to a new 10-unit deal signed by current Goodcents franchisees, according to Franchise Update Media. Will and Gina Gregalunas, who now operate a Goodcents near Village Pointe, signed an agreement to build nine new restaurants over the next four to five years in the west metro area. The first one is scheduled to open by March.

Coneflower Creamery of Omaha has been named the best ice cream shop in the United States by Yelp. Coneflower has two locations, the original one at 3921 Farnam Street in the Blackstone District and a newer one in the Ashton Building in Millwork Commons.

Brickway Brewery & Distillery in the Old Market has acquired Lucky Bucket Brewing Company and Cut Spike Distillery of La Vista. The Lucky Bucket space at 11941 Centennial Road will be renovated.

A U.S. Bank branch will open soon in an end-cap space of a retail strip at 124th & West Dodge Frontage Road. Just behind that building, construction has gone vertical on a future Tommy’s Express Car Wash.

A respectable showing – Isaiah Sheese, owner of Omaha’s Archetype Coffee, came in fourth at the World Coffee Championships in Athens. He finished behind baristas from Brazil, Italy and Australia.

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The “Restaurant & Retail Updates” section is sponsored by Anderson Convenience Market, featuring Quality AMOCO Fuels and serving Omaha since 1952, and proud to announce the return of Quality Amoco Fuels. Look for changes this Summer at Anderson Convenience Market – 8 Omaha area locations!

Learn more about Anderson Convenience market at www.Anderson1952.com

The Big Story

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GUEST COLUMN: Why Wouldn’t You Move to Omaha?

By Kurt Strawhecker

I have been lucky throughout my career to be part of several high-growth companies in Omaha. I often hear from local business owners about the difficulty of attracting high-quality talent to our city. While we have found most of our staff from the Omaha area – due to our excellent and varied school systems – we sometimes need to expand our search.

Over time, we have successfully attracted job candidates to relocate to Omaha. When I tell people about our recent successes in attracting new employees and moving to Omaha from around the US, they often ask: “Why would they move to Omaha?” I quickly answer by questioning their premise. Why wouldn’t they move to Omaha?

I am the founding Partner of TSG, the largest consulting and analytics firm focused on the electronic payments industry. Our clients include companies such as Visa, Bank of America, and JP Morgan Chase. With my son and Partner, Mike Strawhecker, we have grown substantially since we started the firm in Omaha 16 years ago.

Unlike other companies, an in-office work environment is necessary for our highly collaborative business model, so we invite new employees to move to our headquarters in Omaha. Over the past two years, we have attracted new senior talent from Florida, Michigan, Alabama, and New York City, as well as recent graduates from our local universities.

I am also a part owner of Dante, a nationally recognized modern Italian restaurant. My son Nick Strawhecker, who is owner/chef, recently launched a nationwide search for a new head chef. The finalists for the position included award-winning chefs in Boston and Pittsburgh, both eager to be part of Omaha’s quickly evolving and growing restaurant scene.

So, when I hear other Omaha business owners bemoan the difficulty in attracting new workers to Omaha, I am puzzled. Sometimes, these individuals are lifetime Omaha residents and may have a bit of an inferiority complex about their hometown. Having lived in Southern California and the UK throughout my career, and traveling to almost all 50 states, I know there are issues, regardless of locale, involving weather, congestion, price of living, or crime.

One of the best ways to attract talent to Omaha is to believe in this city we are all part of. We talk about the virtues and benefits of Omaha and what it has to offer. We have also partnered with successful real estate agents who take the job candidates and spouses on a tour of the city during the interview process and tour the city and potential neighborhoods. It has consistently worked.

Omaha offers a unique blend of Midwestern charm, a thriving job market, an affordable cost of living, excellent education options, and an enviable quality of life. To people new to the city, Omaha is a vibrant city and steadily becoming a preferred destination for individuals and families seeking a balanced and fulfilling lifestyle.

Let’s look at Omaha’s key attributes:

Affordable Cost of Living

One of the most significant advantages of living in Omaha is its remarkably affordable cost of living. According to recent data, the overall cost of living in Omaha is approximately 8% lower than the national average, making it an attractive choice for individuals looking to stretch their hard-earned dollars further. Housing costs in Omaha are particularly appealing, with median home prices significantly lower than other major cities. Whether you prefer the charm of historic neighborhoods or modern developments, Omaha offers a wide range of housing options to suit different lifestyles and budgets.

Quality of Life

Omaha offers an exceptional quality of life, combining the conveniences of a metropolitan city with the warmth and friendliness of a close-knit community. The city prides itself on its vibrant arts and cultural scene, with many museums, galleries, theaters, and music venues. Residents can enjoy an array of recreational activities, including exploring the Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium, the brand new Luminarium Science Museum, multiple music and art venues, strolling through the beautiful parks and gardens, or cheering for the renowned College World Series. Additionally, Omaha’s strong sense of community is evident in its numerous festivals, farmers’ markets, and community events that foster connections and create a welcoming atmosphere.

Education Excellence

Omaha takes great pride in its education system, offering outstanding educational public and private school opportunities. The city is home to several nationally recognized schools, providing top-notch education from kindergarten through high school. Omaha’s commitment to education is further exemplified by its renowned colleges and universities, including the University of Nebraska at Omaha and Creighton University. These institutions contribute to the city’s intellectual vibrancy and attract a diverse and talented pool of students, fostering a dynamic learning environment.

Robust Job Market

Omaha boasts a strong and diverse job market, driving its economic growth and stability. The city’s strategic location and pro-business environment have attracted many industries, including finance, healthcare, technology, FinTech, logistics, and agriculture. Omaha is the headquarters for several prominent companies, such as Berkshire Hathaway, Mutual of Omaha, and Union Pacific. The city’s low unemployment rate and ample job opportunities make it an appealing destination for professionals seeking career advancement and stability.

So, fellow growing Omaha business owners, use the following positive and confident elevator speech next time you are talking to someone considering a move to our great city:

“Omaha presents a compelling case for those seeking an attractive place to call home. Omaha offers a balanced and fulfilling lifestyle with its affordable cost of living, exceptional education options, robust job market, and high quality of life. The city’s dedication to economic growth, education, and community engagement ensures that residents can thrive personally and professionally. Whether you are a young professional starting your career, a family searching for a supportive environment, or someone looking to retire comfortably, Omaha beckons with open arms, promising a future filled with opportunities and a strong sense of belonging.”

The word must be getting out. Anecdotally, just last week, my son Nick said that he talked to five professionals at his restaurant who were in town to interview for management positions here in Omaha.

Given the right opportunity, why wouldn’t you move to Omaha?

Kurt Strawhecker is an Omaha-based serial entrepreneur and has played multiple roles in sales, marketing, and advertising. Kurt is the Founding Partner of The Strawhecker Group (TSG), one of the most extensive analytics and consulting firms focused on the electronic payments industry. He is a well-respected and admired leader in the payments industry. His career has spanned several industries, including senior management roles at Fiserv (First Data), Godfather’s Pizza, and Ellis & Guy Advertising. While he has spent most of his time in Omaha, he has lived and worked in Orange County, California, and abroad in the United Kingdom. He and his wife Kathy, as well as their three children and eight grandchildren, are all proud Omaha residents.

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Grow Omaha Snippets

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Southwest Airlines will begin new seasonal nonstop service on Saturdays between Omaha’s Eppley Airport and Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport beginning January 13th.

Southwest Airlines will fly these new routes with Boeing 737 aircraft seating between up to 175 passengers. Fort Lauderdale will become the 13th nonstop destination Southwest serves out of Omaha. Southwest currently provides daily nonstop service from Eppley to Atlanta, Chicago Midway, Dallas Love, Denver, Houston Hobby, Las Vegas, Orlando International, Phoenix, St. Louis, and Washington D.C. Reagan. Southwest also provides seasonal nonstop service to Nashville and Tampa.

The University of Nebraska Board of Regents approved the establishment of the Center for Drug Design and Innovation within the University of Nebraska Medical Center College of Pharmacy. The center, which is pending approval by the Coordinating Commission for Postsecondary Education, aims to fill the gap left as drug research and development by the pharmaceutical industry has narrowed.

Workers have installed the first tower crane at the Mutual of Omaha construction site. The first of two cranes to be completed is about the height of the adjacent Union Pacific headquarters. As the future skyscraper grows, the tower crane will eventually extend to approximately 750 feet high.

Nebraska is being considered for the Silicon Heartland project, a cluster of tech companies that would manufacture semiconductors, according to the Omaha World-Herald. If Nebraska lands this major economic development prize, the main facility would likely be constructed on a mega site to be developed southeast of Fremont and northwest of Valley. Related facilities may be constructed in Bellevue and north Omaha.

The Silicon Heartland Project would likely generate between 1,500 and 3,000 jobs. The project would benefit from federal funding and incentives passed this year by the Nebraska Unicameral. The Silicon Heartland group expects to apply for federal funding sometime this summer and predicts awards will be made in late 2023 or early 2024.

The Sarpy County Museum held a site dedication event at Trinity Church for the property next door, on the corner of 90th & Highway 370 in Papillion, which they have purchased to be the future home of the new museum.

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Business News

Local Business News Sponsored by FranNet of The Heartland:

Noddle Cos. and Kiewit have closed on their $32.4 million purchase of the former PayPal campus southeast of Interstate 80 & Giles Road. The two-building campus totals 244,000 sq. ft. and sits on 29 acres.

PayPal at one time had about 3,000 employees on the site. Kiewit plans to move four divisions from its 120th & L Street office into the former PayPal buildings.

The State of Minnesota has recognized two construction projects designed by Omaha-based LEO A DALY with Best of B3 Awards. This recognition honors projects and project teams whose work demonstrates a commitment to sustainable design and energy reduction.

Werner Enterprises, Inc. will release its second quarter earnings on Thursday, August 3, 2023, after the market close. The company will also hold a conference call to discuss the second quarter 2023 results and updated 2023 outlook on the same day, beginning at 4:00 p.m. CDT.

WMK Media Enterprise will occupy 1,046 sq. ft. at 13270 Millard Ave, according to Maddie Graeve and Samantha Estivo of NAI NP Dodge, who represented the landlord in this retail lease. Fun fact – at one time, this historic, former school building housed the entire Millard Public Schools district under its roof.

The 2023 College World Series broke the all-time attendance record as a total of 392,946 fans attended the 16-game series which culminated Monday night in Louisiana State University winning the national baseball championship at Charles Schwab Field Omaha. The per-game average attendance this year was 24,559.

If you think it’s expensive to live and do business in Omaha, check out California’s new income limits…Single persons earning less than $70,000 in Los Angels, $80,000 in Orange County and $104,000 in the Bay Area now count as “low income,” according to The Hustle. Median annual earnings nationwide are projected to be $57,200 this year.

This section is sponsored by FranNet of The Heartland, the local, trusted franchise experts. They are “in the business of helping you get into business!”

Grow Omaha Residential

Local and National Housing Prices

By Joe Finlay

The Wall Street Journal reported on Tuesday that “U.S. Home Prices Posted First Annual Decline Since 2012 in April.” This is an attention-grabbing headline to say the least.

The WSJ analyzed a report from the S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller National Home Price Index, which only measures home prices in the largest 20 cities across the nation.

Year-over-year prices in Omaha are up 6.6 percent according to the Federal Housing Finance Agency, even with the higher interest rate compared to last year.

It’s worth noting that the worst eight performing cities in the S&P report were all in the Mountain or Pacific time zone, with Seattle and San Francisco at the bottom of the list. Surprisingly, Miami, Chicago, Atlanta and Charlotte topped the list. The Southeast has continued to be the country’s strongest region.

2023 has seen “normal” pricing gains in Omaha compared to the previous year, but the prices increased so rapidly over the past few years that a normal gain still makes homes seem unaffordable.

Bottom Line

Omaha’s housing economy continues to remain stable. If you’re considering a move to a new city and wondering how the market is, let’s connect.

Grow Omaha Residential is developed and sponsored by Joe Finlay, REALTOR with NP Dodge Real Estate.

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Leadership & Sales Insights for Ambitious People

Compiled by Grow Omaha co-founder and sales trainer Jeff Beals.

Sponsored by Dundee Bank


Situational awareness – Keeping abreast of news, events and industry happenings allows leaders to foresee patterns and trends, thus guiding their decision making. This keeps your business ahead of the curve, according to TeamBuilding.com. Good leaders anticipate issues and find solutions before they arise.

Korn Ferry CEO Gary Burnison tells the story of a manager who made a critical leadership error. Wanting to protect his quiet time for uninterrupted work, the manager made a big red stop sign and taped it on his closed office door. No surprise—people got offended. The manager, however, was stunned. He really thought his stop sign would be helpful. Instead, the message received was “Go away.” Opportunities only come through an open door.

According to Giving USA, Americans donated $17.3 billion less to charities in 2022 than they did in 2021.

An increasing number of professionals are choosing not to retire. Roughly 650,000 Americans over age 80 were working last year, according to the Wall Street Journal, 18 percent more than a decade earlier. Workforce participation among people 75 and older will climb to 11.7 percent by 2030 from 8.9 percent in 2020.

Summer interns are making bank — at the bank, according to The Hustle. Median intern pay at U.S. hedge funds is up 29 percent to $111 per hour. For Citadel’s summer program, where the median wage this year is $120 per hour, the hedge fund saw more than 69,000 applicants, up 65 percent year over year.

Be careful! Pickleball, America’s fastest-growing sport and a fitness/leisure activity for many professionals, is causing a lot of injuries, especially for senior citizens. CNN reports that Pickleball injuries may cost Americans $377 million in health care costs this year, accounting for 5 to 10 percent of total unexpected medical costs.


Don’t send generic prospecting emails. According to the Aberdeen Group, personalized emails improve click-through rates by 14 percent and conversion rates by 10 percent.

Here’s a good question to ask prospects: “One of the most common issues we keep hearing is _____. Is this an issue for you?”

If you have a fear of selling, then stop selling and start building relationships, says sales author Mark Hunter. “You’ll never sell anything unless you’re willing to get to know the person you’re selling to. This applies just as much to the person with the short sales cycle as to the person selling the long, 5-year contract. It’s all about relationships.”


“Change is the law of life. And those who only look to the past or present are certain to miss the future.” – John F. Kennedy

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Upcoming Events in the Metro

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Night Market on June 30th: The 6th Annual Night Market is returning to Turner Park the last Friday of the month from May through August! Join others and immerse yourself in a vibrant world filled with activities and attractions suitable for anyone. You’ll be able to explore the Vendor Village, containing an array of over 40 local makers and boutiques, while enjoying the live music, games and entertainment! You can expect performances by Omaha Street Percussion, the Polka Police and many more. There will be plenty of treats and refreshing beverages from the acclaimed restaurants in the Midtown Crossing neighborhood for you to enjoy throughout the event!

Single Climbing Mixer on June 30th: Join Smitten Singles at Approach, Omaha’s premier indoor rock-climbing gym, for an exciting Singles Mixer! Step out of your comfort zone, meet like-minded individuals and experience the thrill of rock climbing together. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced climber, the friendly staff at Approach will be there to guide you. Register before all the spots fill up!

Yoga in the Park on July 2nd: Immerse yourself in the blissful experience of Yoga in the Park, presented by Methodist Health System. Enjoy the backdrop of Turner Park at Midtown Crossing. This captivating event happens every Sunday at 4 p.m. until July 30th. Led by certified yoga instructors from Genesis Health Clubs, these outdoor sessions offer a variety of yoga styles, ensuring a dynamic experience week after week. Whether you’re a seasoned yogi or a curious beginner, all skill levels are warmly welcomed to join this transformative practice. Grab your water bottle and a comfortable blanket or mat, and prepare to find your inner balance and radiate positive energy in the heart of nature.

Lemon Fresh Day Independence Celebration Concert on July 3rd: Kick off your Independence celebration with a free concert! Sparks will be flying on the outdoor stage as Lemon Fresh Day performs at the Granary Green on July 3rd. There will be other outdoor activities for everyone to enjoy before the show begins. Bring your friends, family or partner for a night of entertainment and fun!

Independence Day Celebration at The Riverfront on July 4th: The Riverfront is hosting an Independence Day Celebration that you don’t want to miss! Begin the evening watching the Omaha Symphony give a patriotic performance that is synchronized with a beautiful light show. Following the performance, the sky will light with fireworks! Celebrate your Independence Day with friends, food trucks and fireworks at the RiverFront!

Late Nights at the Zoo on July 6th: Experience the wild side of nightlife at Late Nights at the Zoo, where Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium invites adults 21 and over to indulge in an evening of drinks, local food truck cuisine and extraordinary wildlife. As the sun sets, explore the zoo’s enchanting grounds, surrounded by the mystical allure of nocturnal creatures. Gather your friends and unleash your inner child with an exclusive adults-only zoo experience!

This Upcoming Events section is sponsored by Eagle Mortgage Company, is a locally owned and full-service mortgage company in Omaha.

Eagle Mortgage can help you realize your dream of owning a home.

People in the News

Sponsored by Baird Holm Attorneys at Law

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Steven Schlange has been promoted to vice president of employee benefits and services at Mutual of Omaha. He joined Mutual in 2015 as manager of retirement plans. He was promoted to director of employee benefits in 2019 and director of employee benefits and payroll in 2021. Before Mutual, Schlange was Blue Cross Blue Shield of Nebraska and Conagra Brands.

Lutz, an Omaha-based business solutions firm, has announced several management changes. Mark Duren will begin transitioning his responsibilities as managing shareholder and chairman of the board to Ryan Cook over the next three years. Cook is the current President of Lutz’s largest division, Lutz Accounting. Additionally, Ron Nebbia will begin transitioning his duties as president of Lutz’s Financial, M&A, Talent and Tech divisions over the next two years to various leaders within these divisions.

Arbor Bank has hired Keith Swanson as vice president and commercial team lead. He has 25 years of leadership experience in commercial banking. Swanson holds an M.B.A. from Creighton University and a Bachelor’s degree from Creighton University.

Child Saving Institute has appointed Leslie Corona as director of human resources. She has more than 13 years of experience and has worked in food manufacturing and small business.

Mayor Jean Stothert has named Cailin Daly Dejillas as the City of Omaha director of human rights and relations beginning July 31st. She most recently worked for Amazon in Seattle. She replaces Gerald Kuhn, who resigned in April.

The “People in the News” section is sponsored by Baird Holm LLP. Baird Holm’s dedicated team of real estate lawyers has extensive experience in all aspects of real estate law, including purchases, sales, zoning and land use, leasing, and dispute resolution. Click HERE for more information.

Wall Street: The Week in Review

Commentary by George Morgan

Morgan is founder of Morgan Investor Education of Omaha.

Sponsored by Baird Holm Attorneys at Law

Views and opinions expressed herein are solely those of the author.

I bought my first car when I was 16 years old. It was a two-door 1947 Ford sedan. I painted it green – with a paintbrush. The upholstery was shot, so I went to Pep Boys and bought a set of universal seat covers. Unfortunately, the seats in my ‘47 Ford were not universal!

What does this have to do with Wall Street? It’s an introduction to my campaign to convince people that investing is not a one-size-fits-all situation. Unfortunately, many investors are stuck with the Wall Street paradigm of “They are the experts, and you can’t do it yourself.”

Now back to my Pep Boys one-size-fits-all seat covers. The current crop of investments advisors relies heavily on robo accounts to manage their clients’ money. Their group-think is that proper asset allocation includes an international component. Why? Because that’s the way we have always done it! For those of you who are willing to explore the one-size-does-not-fit-all paradigm, I submit the following alternative world view…

India is the new China. The Chinese government has turned away from allowing the economy to grow – in order to keep its large middle-class population happy – to one where they are in total control. In response to this policy change, American businesses are reevaluating their relations with Chinese manufacturers and consumer-goods suppliers.

These American businesses are moving to other countries for tech and pharmaceutical support and returning a variety of production activities to the U.S. mainland. India has the largest population in the world with skills, both on the technology and business sides, equal to or better than the Chinese. Thus, India has become a participant in our economic musical chairs game with China.

The upshot of this is that index funds mimicking the international market – which contain a Chinese bias – have significantly underperformed the U.S. indexes that are heavily weighted with the big cap tech stocks. The 40 million of you who manage your own accounts at one of the major discount brokerage firms, might consider reducing or eliminating your international exposure and increasing your holdings in the U.S. index funds with large big cap tech stock weightings, such as the Nasdaq and S&P 500.

Ben Graham – Buffett’s mentor – was adamant that investors ignore market forecasts. But, there’s a difference between a forecast and an observation. An observation says, “I see these things going on and there’s a reasonable probability that they will lead in this direction.” Graham also wrote that Mr. Market is an emotional, not-always-rational, organism, and investors should respond to his mood while ignoring the predictions of Wall Street’s thundering herd.

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Have You Watched Grow O on Video Yet?

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The Grow Omaha radio show broadcasts live every Saturday morning at 9:00, but now you can watch videos of each episode instead of just listening.

Grow Omaha’s brand-new website features video footage shot inside the radio studio during each week’s show!

Videos include News of the Week, Lightning Round, guest interviews, and “Grow Omaha Uncut,” a behind-the-scenes look at what happens during commercial breaks.

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