Weekly Market Report – November 23, 2023

Nov 23, 2023 | 0 comments

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Restaurant & Retail Updates

ANNOUNCEMENT – Next week’s Grow Omaha Weekly Market Report will be delayed by one day. Instead of the typical Thursday afternoon distribution, the newsletter will be published on the afternoon of Friday, December 1st.

Spare Time Entertainment will open a luxury entertainment center Thursday, November 30th in the former Gordman’s location at 172nd & West Center Road. It will be Spare Time’s 18th location and first in Nebraska. The 50,000 sq. ft. center will feature 22 bowling lanes, 80 arcade games, escape rooms, a laser tag arena, event space and a full-service restaurant and bar.

Sweet Treats has opened at the Inner Rail Food Hall in Aksarben Village. The mini donut company offers more than 15 flavors and will bring in limited-time flavors for seasonal use and monthly specials.

Also at Inner Rail Food Hall, Pops Pizza has launched a new menu with more than 10 new menu items, including Caprese salad, spicy fried mozzarella and cheesy bread.

Interior build-out is coming along at the future Net Par at 225 North 12th Street in the Capitol District. Net Par is an upscale, indoor simulated golf business that also serves craft beers, handcrafted cocktails, a curated wine list and a limited menu of elevated bar food. Net Par has three existing locations, all in the state of Indiana. The Omaha location’s website is accepting reservations starting December 15th.

Orange Love, a party and entertainment store, will hold a ribbon cutting Tuesday, November 28th for its new store at 8060 South 84th Street in La Vista. The retailer sells decorations, tableware, balloons and other party supplies.

The Applebee’s restaurant building at 3350 South 143rd Plaza, on a padsite west of Oakview Mall, has been listed for lease or sale by Cushman & Wakefield Lund Company. The 5,163 sq. ft. building is available for a new tenant starting in April.

Cumbia plans to close its current location at 329 South 16th Street on Thursday, November 30th. The locally owned tapas bar and restaurant plans to reopen in a yet-to-be-announced location at some point in the future.

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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

Grow Omaha Eats with
Sarah Baker Hansen

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Review: At Fremont’s Semo Pasta + Wine, the customers’ desire and the chef’s talent create a winning combination

By Sarah Baker Hansen

One of the best meals I’ve eaten this year is in one of the most unexpected places: Fremont’s main street.

Semo Pasta + Wine, which chef Drew Statz and his wife, Michelle, opened in downtown Fremont last spring, is what he calls “European-inspired Nebraska cuisine.”

After two visits, I think it’s one of the most interesting spots to open in the Omaha suburbs in years, serving carefully crafted, high-end Italian with an often adventurous bent.

“This has been the goal from day one,” Statz told me after my visits. “The first time I ever walked into a place, I wanted 100 percent say in everything. I fell in love with it. I wanted to be able to put my spin on every corner of the business.”

It seems that’s what he’s done at Semo, named after semolina, the coarsely ground wheat used to make pasta.

The quality at Semo hit me several times over: first when I tried the blood sausage on polenta, during our first visit — a dish I hardly ever see anywhere in Omaha outside of its periodic appearance at La Buvette. It hit again after I got a look at the homemade slab of pate on the cheese plate, and again when we tried a remarkably well executed Alaskan halibut with elements of hot and cool throughout the plate.

To be honest, I wasn’t terribly surprised, because I liked Statz’s food when he was one of the team of chefs that opened Monarch, in downtown’s Hotel Deco, and again when he became executive chef at Dante. My visits to Semo were not the first time I’d seen Statz shave almost an entire truffle over a pile of creamy, decadent and buttery tajarin pasta, which you should absolutely have him do, if it is on the menu the night you visit.

The menu at Semo is separated into three neat sections: starters, pasta and protein. Generally speaking, for two diners, one from each of the two sections and two from the protein list is more than enough food.

Over the course of two visits, once with two diners and once with four, we tried much of the menu, though the protein list changed almost totally in the month between our dinners.

The aforementioned blood sausage, a thick, back link with plenty of depth and a crumbly, homemade texture, came served over a bowl of creamy polenta and amarena cherry, a surprising but very good, sweet contrast.

Halibut crudo is excellent, the gentle flavor of the fish contrasting with hot calabrian chili, spicy radish and bright lemon. A seasonal kale and beet salad, in an eye-catching color combination of red and green, has varied textures of crisp and crunchy, punctuated with walnuts and a bright apple cider vinegar kick.

Don’t skip the bread and butter, made by Michelle, who is both a pastry chef and sommelier. The focaccia in particular, crisp and oily, is notable. But the rest of the basket is good, too, particularly when served with salty butter. It’s great when paired with the cheese plate, a pleasant mix of soft and firm cheeses, pickled vegetables and a hunk of country pate with the distinct flavor of liver.

All the pasta at Semo is homemade, and diners will find a variety of shapes and many different sauce offerings — Statz was quick to point out that these dishes aren’t Italian American staples like white alfredo or chicken Parmesan.

Instead, they’re much closer to what a diner finds on the menu at Dante: All sorts of pasta shapes — tagliatelle, ravioli, spaghettini, mafaldine — with slow cooked pork and short rib ragu, a classic wagyu bolognese, a thin white wine sauce or a rich carbonara made with pork guanciale and pink peppercorn.

Almost all the pastas we tried were great, a mix of al dente pasta with well seasoned, well executed sauces. Probably the crowd favorite was the mafaldine and bolognese topped with a generous shave of Pecorino Romano and a drizzle of olive oil. Its long-simmered depth of flavor and chunky meat finish is stick-to-your-ribs good. Probably the only one I didn’t love was a basil spaghettini with Dungeness crab finished with white wine and parsley. The crab read too dry for our liking, and we wished for more basil flavor from the dish.

Semo is inside a historic building in Fremont, and Statz lives close enough to walk or bike to the restaurant in around 11 minutes, which he says he does almost daily.

Statz said he expected most of the clientele at Semo to be from Fremont and other surrounding towns like Valley and Cedar Bluffs. Instead, he said the bulk of diners have come from west Omaha and Elkhorn.

“Seventy percent of the business is Omaha,” he said. “They don’t mind coming out for truffles.”

When Statz has enough, truffles are almost always on the menu, in particular on top of that creamy, buttery tajarin pasta, which is absolutely delightful, rich and earthy. In the past week, the restaurant played host to a truffle dinner, to the tune of $225 a diner. Presumably, more events like that one will be forthcoming.

There’s lots of wagyu on the protein menu, and the wagyu short rib and polenta I ordered was melt-in-your-mouth good, Creamy polenta, earthy mushrooms and long-simmered meat make for an alluring combination, full of flavor and perfect for the seasonally cool weather.

Another night, a wagyu hangar steak arrived perfectly cooked, with oversized, giant gnocchi that Statz told me later are a work in progress for the kitchen. I found the concept fun to eat and cool to look at, though I wished they had been a bit more tender.

Statz said he’s letting the guest drive the menu at Semo, and it’s different from even what he initially expected.

“I thought we were going to have to be more casual,” he said. “And then the stuff we put on the menu that fit that more casual audience wasn’t selling. What sold was the wagyu. The nice seafood.”

It takes confidence, I think, to let the guest take the lead. In this case, the guest’s desire and the chef’s skills end up coexisting to create one of the more intriguing dining experiences I’ve had in some time.

Semo Pasta + Wine
https://www.semofremont.com/

414 N. Main St, Fremont

Hours:
Weds – Sun:
5p to 9p
Mon & Tues: CLOSED

Grow Omaha Eats with Sarah Baker Hansen is sponsored by Cheer Athletics, one of the largest and most respected All-Star cheerleading programs in the United States. The Omaha location is at 14620 Gold Coast Road, near Highway 370 and 144th Street. Learn more HERE!

The Big Story

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Above: The urban core looking east from UNMC
Photo Credit: Brad Williams

Existing Urban Density Set to Grow

Grow Omaha’s Brad Williams shot a photo of the urban core from a helicopter last week, and it provides a unique perspective of Omaha’s surprising density. The photo was taken from just west of the University of Nebraska Medical Center looking toward the east. The First National Tower and WoodmenLife Tower dominate the eastern horizon, while the midrise buildings of Midtown fill the Farnam-Harney corridor.

Omaha is a mid-sized city, but’s urban-core density tends to surprise first-time visitors. The development along Farnam and Harney streets between the Missouri River and the Med Center creates a sort of “linear downtown” that stretches nearly four miles.

As we shared the photo this week, several people commented how it will look so much different in 2026 when Mutual of Omaha’s 44-story headquarters building is completed. Indeed that 677-foot tower will be a noticeable addition, but there are several other projects coming online in the next few years that will contribute significantly to the city’s increasing density. Here are just some of them:

The Modern Streetcar – This project is expected to lead to billions of dollars of new buildings – many of them mid rises or even high rises – within a few blocks either side of Farnam Street.

University of Nebraska Medical Center – Plans are in the works for a $2 billion addition to the hospital facilities southeast of Farnam Street & Saddle Creek Road, plus a 6-story building on the southwest corner and the Catalyst research and innovation facility west of Saddle Creek Road.

Tenaska Center for Arts Engagement – This $108 million addition to the Hollard Performing Arts Center is scheduled for completion in early 2026.

Civic Square – White Lotus Development plans to build a four-city-block, 9-acre mixed-use project on the old Civic Auditorium site. Plans call for several midrise buildings.

The Square – A 4-story, 73-apartment, mixed-use building is now under construction southwest of 30th & Leavenworth Street.

37 West Farnam – This 9-story, mixed-use building on the south side of Farnam street, sits atop a city parking garage. Plans call for retail on the ground level and apartments on top. Work has now reached the fifth floor.

The View on 39th – Construction is well underway on this 4-story apartment building northwest of 39th & Dodge Street. The site had long been vacant prior to construction starting.

Flats on Howard – This $28 million, 6-story building will have 120 market-rate apartment units at 2323 Howard Street. The building is mostly enclosed and work is going on inside.

Leavenworth Lofts – Sullivan Development plans to build a 4-story apartment building with 24 units on a .28-acre lot shoe-horned between a Kwik shop convenience store to the east, a commercial building to the west and a larger apartment building to the north. Construction fencing was recently installed on the site at 36th & Leavenworth Street.

This section is sponsored by RENZE. For over 128 years, we have been providing our clients with innovative solutions for interior corporate and retail branding, as well as unique exhibits and graphics for tradeshows and events. With leading-edge equipment and quality craftspeople working out of our 90,000 sq. ft. facility, we partner with you to help create your vision. We like watching brands grow. Click HERE to see our recent work for Steelhouse Omaha!

Grow Omaha Snippets

Grow Omaha Snippets Sponsored by:

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Omaha-based Kiewit has been tapped to serve as construction manager for the $450 million overhaul of Memorial Stadium at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and is set to be awarded a contract for the initial phase of the job next week, according to the Omaha World-Herald. The NU Board of Regents will vote December 1st on a $1.8 million contract for Kiewit Building Group to manage construction of the estimated $34 million Phase 1, which involves infrastructure and mechanical work in the existing stadium.

Vita Nova, an organization that helps mothers in need, will make their new home at the former Nebraska Christian College campus at 12550 South 114th Street in Papillion, according to P.J. Morgan Real Estate. The 41-acre campus has five buildings, including two dorm buildings and a 17,000 sq. ft. arts building. Vita Nova aims to empower women and end generational homelessness, poverty, and family breakdown.

A sewer project expected to open more than 10,000 acres of rural land for residential, commercial and other development in Nebraska’s fast-growing Sarpy County has received a financial boost, according to Nebraska Examiner. A federal $45.3 million low-interest loan helps advance the first phase of a broader sewer extension plan that carries an overall price tag likely to exceed $250 million. Lack of sewer infrastructure is one of the few things slowing down growth in Sarpy County.

The Salvation Army plans to expand and renovate its North Corps Community Center at 24th & Pratt Street next year, according to the Omaha World-Herald. The Omaha City Council last week approved the project, which includes renovating 14,000 sq. ft. of existing space and constructing 29,000 sq. ft. of new building space.

State of Iowa and City of Council Bluffs officials last week approved plans for a $55 million, 96-bed behavioral health hospital planned for an undeveloped lot southwest of 24th & Richard Downing Avenue, according to the Council Bluff Nonpareil. Methodist Jennie Edmundson Hospital and Acadia Healthcare will operate the 82,799 sq. ft. facility. Construction is planned to start in March with completion in August 2025.

The City of Gretna is raising money to construct a new library building that would also house city offices and a community center, according to KMTV. The building would be in close proximity to the new Gretna Crossing park, which opened in September. The fundraising campaign hopes to raise $3.5 to $4 million and runs until early 2024. The building is expected to be completed in 2027.

Grow Omaha Snippets are brought to you by Omaha Car Care with four metro area locations – 131st & Dodge, 58th & Center, 85th & L and 144th & Harrison.

Omaha Car Care “We’ll be along for the ride.”

Business News

Local Business News Sponsored by FranNet of The Heartland:

Warren Buffett donated about $866 million of Berkshire Hathaway stock to four family charities and told shareholders: “At 93, I feel good but fully realize I am playing in extra innings.” The donations are in addition to the $759 million of Berkshire stock Buffett donated to the charities at Thanksgiving time last year.

Buffett donated 1.5 million Class B shares to the Susan Thompson Buffett Foundation, named for his late first wife. He donated another 900,000 shares, divided evenly among charities run by his children: the Howard G. Buffett Foundation, the Sherwood Foundation and the NoVo Foundation.

Buffett also issued a rare letter to shareholders, again pledging that more than 99 percent of his wealth would go to charity, with his children serving as executors of his will. He said Berkshire was “built to last” and would remain in good hands.

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority in New York has selected an HDR-led team to support the procurement of a six-package program to make 24 subway stations accessible per the Americans with Disabilities Act.

The average price of Nebraska farmland has increased 41 percent since 2018, to a record $3,835 per acre, according to the Omaha World Herald. Closer to Omaha, the price per acre is dramatically higher. Between 2018 and 2022, the single biggest buyer of Nebraska ag land was the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints through a Utah nonprofit.

Werner Enterprises has been named among the 2023 “Top Companies for Women to Work For in Transportation” by the Women in Trucking Association’s Redefining the Road magazine. Werner has earned this recognition in all six years it has been awarded.

A recent Mutual of Omaha survey revealed that that one in four people over age 60 delay or avoid one or more of these treatments due to cost: surgeries; consulting with a doctor; medical tests or diagnostic procedures; and filling a prescription or taking a required dose of medication.

In advance of Small Business Saturday, which takes place November 25th, the Greater Omaha Chamber reports: “When you shop small, 48 percent of your purchase stays in our local economy, compared to only 14 percent for a retail chain store.”

U.S. airlines are bracing for record-high traffic this Thanksgiving, according to The Hustle. The TSA plans on screening 30m passengers between November 17th and 28th.

Here’s an obligatory report every year at this time…The average cost of Thanksgiving Dinner for 10 people in 2023 is $61.17, according to the American Farm Bureau Federation. That’s down 4.5 percent compared to last 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 University

Leadership & Sales Insights for Ambitious People

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

Sponsored by Dundee Bank

LEADERSHIP & MANAGEMENT

Gallup has long identified “having a best friend at work” as one of the keys to employee engagement. New research indicates that having a best friend is even more important after the pandemic, according to Dr. Jim Harter, Gallup’s Omaha-based chief scientist of workplace management and wellbeing. Additionally, remote workers are more likely to behave like gig workers and not relate to your company mission and vision.

A recent survey of 18,000 workers found that 33 percent of women are almost always burned out. Just a quarter of men feel the same, according to Fortune.

Companies looking to cut costs in this high-inflation environment are targeting employee perks. Tuition assistance, charitable gift matching, commuter assistance, free gym memberships and even dental insurance are often on the chopping block, according to Fortune. Benefits that focus on family/parenting issues appear to be protected including adoption and fertility assistance as well as parental leave. Why? The largest generation of workers in U.S. history – Millennials – are now in the prime parenting years.

Employee interest throughout the day peaks at 12 noon and is at its lowest between 3 and 5 p.m., according to Gallup.

A recent survey asked 2,000 Americans how much money would make them feel “happy and less stressed.” The respondents, who had a median salary of $65,000 said a median of $95,000 would do the trick, according to the Wall Street Journal. The highest earners, with a median income of $250,000, gave a median response of $350,000.

You decide whether this is good or not…The Pew Research Center reported the percentage of adults who regularly get news on social media channels: Facebook 30%; YouTube 26%; Instagram 16%; TikTok 14%; X (Twitter) 12%; Reddit 8%; and Nextdoor 5%.

SALES

Here’s a useful qualification question you could use when meeting with a prospect: “Do you currently have a budget allocated for this or will you have to make the case for one?”

A significant percentage of sales people think that empathy is actually a negative trait. Sales expert Chris Corey cautions against that kind of thinking. Find out why HERE.

According to InsideSales, 35 to 50 percent of sales go to the vendor who responds first.

You can improve your sales skills without burdening your already-overloaded schedule. It’s called BragBird, and it fits into your regular sales meetings. You can also use it for new sales rep training. Because it’s cloud-based, you have constant access to all the content on demand. Here’s a free module so you can take it for a test drive. Click HERE now!

WISDOM

“If you’re losing your soul and you know it, then you’ve still got a soul left to lose.” – Charles Bukowski

Founded in 2006 right in the heart of Omaha’s Dundee community, Dundee Bank is all about local ownership, friendly customer service, and supporting the needs of our beloved community. With nearly 100% of your deposits going right back into our neighborhoods, Dundee Bank is committed to fueling growth, enabling loans, and fostering stability for you and your neighbors. So why not open an account at Dundee Bank and discover what it means to truly support local?

https://www.dundeebanking.com/

Did You Know?

Surprising Facts, Figures & Points of Pride That Make Omaha Unique

This section is sponsored by Lockbox Storage.

Did you know the SuperTarget at 132nd & West Maple Road was the very first SuperTarget anywhere in the world?

Did you know Omaha was hit by a small earthquake in 1872? There was only minor damage, no loss of life. Another small quake struck Omaha again in 1877 and pretty much just rattled the dishes. (source: Howard A. Hamilton)

Did you know Omaha-based Scoular remains one of the top exporters in the United States, ranking No. 12 on The Journal of Commerce’s most recent listing of the top 100 exporters for 2022?

This section is sponsored by Lockbox Storage, an affiliate of Omaha-based McGregor Interests Inc. We provide storage solutions for all of your storage needs. Our facilities have full-time managers and bright lighting to provide superior security for your belongings. In addition to space for rent, we also provide packing supplies, protection plans and locks along with complimentary handcarts and dollies. Visit LockBox Storage and let us help you with all your storage needs.

Upcoming Events in the Metro

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Zoolightful on November 17th – 22nd, 24th – 30th: Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium welcomes the holiday season with an all-new wildly bright tradition: Zoolightful presented by Chesterman Co. Coca-Cola. Visitors will experience the zoo like they’ve never seen before, as it transforms into a world of immersive lands with unique and enchanting experiences, dazzling light displays and unforgettable holiday fun. Food and drink will be available and features Grinch-themed menu items, decor and craft station. This event is open to all ages and offers something for everyone!

“Feztival” of Trees 2023 from November 18th – 22nd & 24th – 25th: The Tangier Shrine Center is hosting a holiday display like no other. This is an all-ages event with a special chance to win a fully decorated Christmas tree and the gift associated with the tree. Wander through the sparkling displayed trees and make it a Thanksgiving week tradition. All ages are welcome and children under the age of 12 get free admission!

Local Music Fridays Concert Series on November 24th: Bushwackers is hosting a concert series featuring some of the best local music. This Friday features Secret Weapon where they will begin the show at 9:00 p.m. This event is 21+ only. Bring a friend, enjoy drinks and rock out to live music!

Holiday Lights Festival Old Market Lighting Displays from November 25th – January 1st: See Omaha dazzle every night from Thanksgiving to New Year’s! Lights will illuminate the Old Market, North Omaha and South Omaha every single night from November 25th to January 1st. Celebrate the holiday, enjoy the beautiful city and walk through the dazzling light display!

Holiday Modern Market on November 25th & 26th: The event celebrates Small Business Saturday weekend, featuring more than 80 small Nebraska shops, offering a wide range of products for everyone. Attendees can enjoy various food options, a hot cocoa bar, coffee from Zen Coffee Co and adult beverages. It’s a family-friendly event with a special appearance by Santa Claus, complete with professional photography. The event has expanded to include a ‘Little Locals’ area for children, offering activities like coloring, face painting and balloon art while partnering with Angels Among Us, supporting families with children battling cancer through ticket sales contributions.

Night Light: GLOW on November 30th: Kiewit Luminarium is hosting an adults-only event “Night Light GLOW” on Thursday nights. This exhibit combines light, art and science. These evenings feature interactive and thought-provoking programs, ideal for expanding your knowledge and sparking delight. Discover a radiant display of art by both international and local artists, alongside exhibits and activities centered around light. Night Light GLOW offers a deep dive into topics like bioluminescence, luminescent chemistry experiments and the essential role of light in human life. Experience the Kiewit Luminarium in a new and illuminating way!

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

a beautiful blue and white house with a green lawn
digital rendering of Flatiron District project buildings

NP Dodge Real Estate has welcomed new residential sales associates including Jami Shupe, Justin Blecha, Keith Hale and Marty Evans.

The American Medical Association Journal of Ethics podcast “Ethics Talk,” referenced Creighton University professor Amy Wendling’s research during a recent podcast with U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy. The topic was loneliness as a public health threat and the connection between loneliness, public health responsiveness and the health of our democracy.

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

with George Morgan

Morgan is the 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.

OK, boy and girls, the topic for this edition of my incredibly insightful commentary is something way out of my wheel house: Beauty contests.

Using government spending as a tool to fine tune the economy was the brain child of the early 20th century British economist, John Maynard Keyes. He developed this concept in response to the global depression that occurred in the 1930’s.

In addition to being a revolutionary economist, Keynes was also a prolific investor. His management of his personal fortune and the endowment funds of his alma mater, Oxford University, drew praise on both sides of the Atlantic. The methods he applied to investing were as revolutionary as his approach to government spending policy.

Keynes’s contemporary professional money managers devoted their days to devouring all the public information about the financials of public trading companies searching for those who produced the greatest earnings. They then calculated how those earnings translated into the company’s stock price.

Keynes took an entirely different tract. He believed the only thing that mattered was not the economic value of the company, but rather what other investors thought it was worth. He approached investing from the perspective of someone who was asked to select who would win a beauty contest. Keyes said not to choose the one you think is the best choice. He stressed that you are not the one who determines the winner. That decision is up to the judges. Your choice of the winner should be the one you think the judges will choose.

Buffett takes Keynes observations one step further and gives the stock market a human persona he calls Mr. Market. Buffett’s Mr. Market is an emotional investor who constantly offers to buy and sell stocks to any interested party. Mr. Market is a tongue-in-cheek recognition of the fact that most of the time the stock market’s actions are based on arbitrary, random activity rather than rational, calculated reasoning.

What Keynes and Buffet recognize – and Wall Street fails to accept – is that there are many market participants that make buy and sell decisions on factors other than the financial condition of the underlying company. This is exponentially more significant than it was in the 1930’s. Today we have hedge funds, high-speed traders, computer algorithms, index funds and the list goes on and on.

The good news for individual investors – those who make their own investment decisions – is that the impact these alternative market participants tends to be dramatic only in the short term. In the long term, the market has historically reflected the strength of the dynamic American economic engine.

Important take away: Forget the needle, buy the haystack.

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