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Weekly Market Report – October 27, 2022
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Restaurant & Retail Updates
Mercy Thai Restaurant has opened at 4104 Rivers Edge Parkway in Council Bluffs’ River’s Edge development at Interstate 480 & the Missouri River. Mercy Thai has a location at 96th & L Street in Omaha.
Julio’s Tex-Mex has opened its second restaurant in the former Jack & Mary’s space in Miracle Hills. The first location of the recently reincarnated brand was at 192nd & Q Street.
Time Out Foods has listed its famous chicken restaurant at 3518 North 30th Street for sale. The building, plus two nearby lots, are on the market for $4 million.
The Omaha City Council earlier this week unanimously approved a preliminary plan for a Costco Wholesale store planned for the southeast corner of 180th & West Maple Road. Costco operates existing stores near 122nd & West Dodge Road and in La Vista’s Southport West area.
Bath & Body Works will open its 7th metro area store soon in the Eagle Run Shopping Center near 132nd & West Maple Road. Mobility City – a home medical equipment company with 30 locations across the nation – has recently opened in the center as well.
Another Victory for Baker Square – Planet Fitness is moving its existing location on the northwest corner of 132nd & West Center Road into Baker Square on the southwest corner. Baker Square recently landed a Pet Supplies Plus store.
Farnam House Brewing Company at 3558 Farnam Street will permanently close on October 31st. The Blackstone District business sells artisanal Farmhouse Ales and fresh local food.
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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 Benson’s Virtuoso, much has changed, but the pizza remains the same
It’s been a while since I found myself in Benson with a slice of what is, in my book, one of the city’s top pizzas.
I can’t quite say why it’s been several years — since 2017, to be exact, when I was first reviewing the restaurant — since I’ve returned. But here’s what I can say for sure: That’s way too long.
Virtuoso Pizzeria, which closed its dining room for 22 months during the COVID-19 pandemic, has reopened with a boom, if the line streaming out the door on a recent Friday night is any indication. Chef and owner David Losole is still at the helm of the oven, still slinging out whole pies and slices, and as far as this diner can tell, doing it all with as much — perhaps more — passion for the craft than he has ever had.
“We are just flat out busy,” Losole told me after my two recent visits.
You can expect a wait for your weekend dinner at Virtuoso. Most diners, including the ones standing around waiting for one of the few booths or high-top standing tables in the restaurant, seemed okay with it. I certainly was. Get yourself a beer (there’s only one, Peroni) and a can of red wine (there’s only one, Coppola Pinot Noir) and enjoy the music, which is on blast, upbeat and definitely dance-worthy, and time spent waiting for that seat flies.
The first night, we ordered just one item, a 16-inch New Yorker pizza, which arrived a bit more than a half hour after we sat down.
The crust is still downright delicious, with a thicker profile than a Neapolitan style pizza, but still relatively thin all around — especially when compared to the thick Sicilian-style grandma pie that Losole now has on the menu (more on that later.)
The edge of the pie, colored to a beautiful hue of golden brown, has the right combination of crisp and chew that makes you want to put away slice after slice.
Losole lays down a thin layer of acidic tomato sauce and then any variety of flavorful, high-quality toppings. The New Yorker involves rounds of pepperoni stacked under ovals of sliced, house made Italian sausage, the meat nestled between a layer of mozzarella below and dollops of melted Burrata cheese on top. It’s incredibly rich, punctuated with the heat of pepperoni, the spice of sausage and the creamines of cheese. The crust holds up miraculously under such weight, never getting soggy.
Though the pizza has not changed since I was last at Virtuoso, a lot of other things have. Losole, whose parents ran South Omaha’s Lo Sole Mio, said his restaurant had hit a stride in 2020, with customers filling up the space from lunchtime straight through to dinner.
“We were on the map,” he said.
But COVID kept coming, and Losole said he had a bad feeling. The family — Losole runs the restaurant with his son and wife — came in on a Saturday, and business was slow. Then the cancellations of big events began. Losole started calling vendors that day, pulling back on his orders and putting things on hold.
He closed Virtuoso’s dining room when restaurants shut down, and it remained shut for almost two years. The restaurant’s walk-up window, which faces Maple Street right in the heart of Benson, is all that kept the shop going, Losole said. The family handed pizzas to customers out the window, and Losole added a deli to the business, selling sauces, salad dressings, meat and make-your-own pizza kits. He’s still running that small market online and looking for someone to run it in person now that the dining room is open again.
He reimagined Virtuoso during the pandemic, installing new ovens that took a seven-month journey from Italy to Omaha. He also removed most of the seating from the restaurant, and added a 16-inch pizza to the menu, joining the larger 20-inch pie.
He rethought his business hours, narrowing them to just four days a week, from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday. He sees COVID as the silver lining that helped him find a way to keep the restaurant going and do it on the schedule he wanted.
“I want to have a family life, I want to do things with my life. I have no apologies on the hours or the prices,” he said. “We are still putting in our 60 hours a week up here.”
Prices these days are slightly higher than they used to be at Virtuoso, when every slice was $6. A cheese slice is still $6, but a specialty slice like the combo or the Sicilian is $8. Whole pies run between $33 and $45, and the Italian beef is around $15. For the quality and the care put into this food, plus the rising costs of ingredients across the board, I felt it reasonable.
He said COVID also changed how his customers dine out, and most are looking for more of a fast-casual experience and less of a sit down, full-service restaurant.
To that end, the staff at Virtuoso is small, just the Losole family and two employees working at the front, who ring diners up waiting in line and deliver food to tables and takeout customers as it comes out of the kitchen. Those front-of-house employees kept incredibly busy when we were there, taking orders, delivering food and wiping down tables.
The second night we dined at Virtuoso, we tried another slice of their New York pie, but expanded beyond it, revisiting their excellent Chicago beef sandwich and two other items I’d never tried: A dish of baked ziti and a thick slice of Nana’s porky pig, a Sicilian-style grandma pie.
I love Chicago beef, and Virtuoso’s is among the best Italian beef sandwiches anywhere in Omaha, no contest. I wrote in my notes “swoon worthy,” and I stand by that dramatic estimation.
The beef, seasoned with garlic and a house-made rub, is served medium rare, topped with a crisp and spicy house made giardiniera and a layer of hot melted cheese. We got ours dipped in the beef jus, and the roll absorbed that flavor, becoming slightly soft while also staying partially crisp. It’s a textural wonder.
Also great is the combo slice, simply topped with pepperoni and minced garlic along with slices of Virtuoso’s flavorful meatballs sliced into rounds. My one small complaint: Our New York style slice wasn’t as hot as the rest of our food. But don’t worry, we still devoured it.
The moment I laid eyes on Nana’s Porky Pig in the case at the front of the restaurant, I knew we had to try it. Its focaccia-like crust has a tender, airy center and a base that gets almost fried in a layer of oil, lending a crisp finish. On top, the restaurant piled up pepperoni and a combination of house made Italian and chorizo sausages on top of the sauce. Each bite had a smoky, savory finish and the crust’s edge had a rich, almost buttery flavor.
Baked Ziti is an Italian American classic, and Virtuoso does it Carmela Soprano style: a huge portion of tube-shaped pasta coated in plenty of sauce and plenty of cheese. But that sauce has nuance, with hints of fresh herbs and garlic, and the crisp cheese on top adds textural interest.
I think I can definitively say that Virtuoso is serving some of the best pizza, and even the best food, in midtown Omaha. I love Frank’s and Dante in West Omaha; I love Via Farina downtown. Virtuoso sits in the middle of those destinations, and if you, like I, have not been back in some time, it’s time to return.
The Big Story
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Express Parking Ramp Opens at Eppley
As part of the Airport Access and Parking Modernization Program at Eppley Airport, Premier Parking relocated from Level 1 to Level 3 in the south parking garage with the opening of a new exclusive express ramp.
The new ParkOMA Premier Parking location provides convenient and quick access to the departures level of the Eppley Airport terminal via climate-controlled walkways. To reach the newly relocated premierpParking, visitors
should follow the directional signs on the recently opened Eppley entrance roadway.
To prepare for Eppley’s future growth, the Airport Access and Parking Modernization Program has been expanding the roadway leading to the terminal and modernizing the south garage.
When complete, these projects will improve customer service by providing enhancements to capacity, efficiency, safety, and security. Construction is anticipated to conclude at the end of the year.
The roadway and parking garage improvements will pave the way for Eppley’s $600 million passenger terminal expansion, which is scheduled to begin construction next year.
Travelers can learn more about these projects and receive construction updates from the program website OMAinMotion.com.
This section is sponsored by TR Construction. With over 25 years of commercial concrete construction experience, TR Construction has expertise with projects large and small to include commercial building concrete, footings, paving, remove and replacement of concrete, industrial projects, and special projects for clients. TR Construction can deliver Concrete Excellence on your next project. Learn more HERE!
Grow Omaha Snippets
Grow Omaha Snippets Sponsored by:
The City of Omaha, Omaha Police Department and Omaha Fire Department are requesting qualifications for Architect/Engineering Programing and Master Planning, Design and Construction Administration Services for the construction of a combined police-and-fire headquarters.
The city has not yet provided a preferred location where the new headquarters would be built nor a construction timeline.
The current police headquarters is at 505 South 15th Street. The fire department headquarters building is located a block away at 1516 Jackson Street.
Bellevue University plans to construct a 72,000 sq. ft. athletics field house just west of its main campus near Harvell Circle & Herman Drive. Groundbreaking will take place tomorrow afternoon. The 2-level building will include courts for basketball and volleyball; athletic training facilities; weight room; locker rooms; media room; and office/meeting space. The project will take 18-to-24 months to complete.
Now that the Omaha City Council approved a right-of-way agreement with Google Fiber, construction on Omaha’s new underground fiber optic infrastructure will start next year, according to KETV. Construction will likely begin in central Omaha. It could take four to five years to build out the entire city.
On Friday, Oct. 28th, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency will announce its National Lead Strategy from Omaha, where cleanup continues at the Omaha Lead Superfund Site. The Agency will also present a $12.7 million ceremonial check to the Douglas County Health Department to continue their work in addressing public health needs, including free blood lead screening.
The City of Omaha plans to expand 180th Street between Harney to Arbor streets to four lanes with construction starting in 2025. The project would also upgrade the 180th & Pacific Street intersection.
New research shows 2021 was a great bounce-back year for Omaha tourism, according to Visit Omaha. The number of visitors traveling to Omaha/Douglas County rebounded to 95% of 2019 pre-pandemic levels. A study conducted by Tourism Economics reports that 12.7 million out-of-town travelers visited our community in 2021 spending $1.2 billion while they were here.
The Douglas County Board of Commissioners is giving $150,000 in ARPA funding to the Nebraska Center for Workforce Development and Education, according to KETV. The funds will go toward building the Nebraska Museum of Industry and Labor, planned to be built at 60th and Grover Street. The museum will offer career exploration to 4,000 students each year.
The Sarpy County Museum plans to build a new facility at 90th & Highway 370 in Papillion, according to the Bellevue Leader. It would move from its current home at 2402 Clay St. in Bellevue to a more centrally located location in Sarpy County. The 3-acre site would feature a 28,000 sq. ft. building with space for the museum’s current collection, traveling exhibits, administrative and education areas, and archival storage.
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.”
Local Business News Sponsored by FranNet of The Heartland:
Real Estate News from CoStar – A major commercial real estate lender is questioning whether the Federal Reserve is pushing too aggressively on raising interest rates to tame inflation.
In a recent economic analysis, Berkadia said that “evidence of persistent inflation is too prevalent to ignore” another 0.75 percentage point rate hike at the Fed’s November meeting. “But we begin to approach the idea of a rate hike too far if we continue this supersized trend,” the lender said. READ MORE
Nebraska has dropped in a national ranking of states for low unemployment, dipping to a three-way tie for fourth place with a 2.2 percent unemployment rate, according to Nebraska Examiner. Earlier this year, Nebraska’s unemployment rate was the lowest or tied for the lowest on record for any state. The national seasonally adjusted unemployment rate is 3.5 percent.
AMCON Distributing Company has declared a quarterly cash dividend of $0.18 per common share. This cash dividend is payable on November 30, 2022 to shareholders of record as of November 7, 2022. Omaha-based AMCON is a leading convenience distributor of consumer products, including beverages, candy, tobacco, groceries, foodservice, frozen and refrigerated foods, automotive supplies and health and beauty care products with distribution centers in Illinois, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, Tennessee and West Virginia.
Green Plains Inc. and Green Plains Partners LP will release third quarter 2022 financial results prior to the market opening on November 3, 2022, and then host a joint conference call beginning at 8 a.m. Central time to discuss third quarter 2022 performance and outlook.
A brand-new television series, “Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom Protecting the Wild,” will premiere on RFD-TV and WildKingdom.com on Monday, Jan. 2, 2023 at 12 noon Central Time. The series will be hosted by Peter Gros, co-host of the original Wild Kingdom, and marks the 60th year anniversary of the original show’s debut in 1963.
Union Pacific Railroad announced two steam engines that are among the last of their kind in existence, including the 1940s-era Challenger No. 3985, will travel from Wyoming to Illinois in November, with other pieces of vintage rail equipment. Union Pacific donated a small portion of its Heritage Fleet earlier this year to the nonprofit Railroading Heritage of Midwest America as part of Union Pacific’s continued commitment to preserving this nation’s rich railroad history.
North End Teleservices plans to build a new headquarters building at 24th and Lake Street, according to WOWT. The project is currently in the design phase with groundbreaking planned for this winter. The new headquarters building would be part of a $40 million mixed-use development.
Construction is progressing on a 45,000 sq. ft. warehouse building at 11741 Centennial Road in La Vista, according to John Meyer of NAI NP Dodge, who has the building listed for lease. Approximately 20,000 sq. ft. with docks and a drive door is still available for lease. The building is scheduled for delivery in February.
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-founJeff Bealsder and sales trainer
Sponsored by MyStaff, Inc.
Leadership & Management
Last week I delivered a motivational keynote speech here in Omaha entitled, “Tons of Room at the Top: The Attitude & Altitude of Success.”
The title came from one of my favorite quotes. Former UK prime minister Margaret Thatcher once said, ““People think that at the top there isn’t much room. They tend to think of it as an Everest. My message is that there is tons of room at the top.”
Although reaching the top (however you choose to define that) isn’t easy, and it doesn’t happen overnight, there is a clear path to it. As you contemplate how you can make progress toward your Everest – even in difficult times – there are several encouraging things to consider.
First, you have total control of the process. You have the freedom and the right to succeed. You don’t have to ask permission, and you don’t have to wait for someone else to do it for you.
To reach the metaphorical Mt. Everest, you need to take to initiative and be proactive. Benjamin Franklin advised, “Plough deep while sluggards sleep.” Successful people are always on the move and don’t behave passively. Be the ultimate self-starter.
Perhaps even more important, avoid victimhood and blaming at all costs. It’s never somebody else’s fault. The highest-performing people accept blame when appropriate, and they also graciously accept credit when it’s due.
I also believe that the most successful people are gritty, which means “bravery, courage and determination despite difficulty.”
Achievement guru Angela Lee Duckworth says, “Grit is sticking with your future day in, day out and not just for the week, not just for the month, but for years.”
Grit is especially important as we head into what looks to be a challenging market over the next couple years. I urge you to be resilient no matter what happens in the world.
This “Tons of Room at the Top” message is a liberating one. Success is always within your grasp. You can manufacture it out of seemingly nothing. To reach your Everest, you need to adopt certain behaviors and beliefs and make them part of your daily life. You have control of your life, work and business. Success starts with you and ends with you.
I have a book recommendation for you! All you need to do is look at the news to know that economic storm clouds are brewing. We’ve had a good ride, but those days appear to be coming to an end.
“Winter” is coming and what comes with it is a much more challenging selling environment. It will be harder to get meetings, you’ll face harsher objections, and you will be under constant pressure to protect your income and career.
This is why I urge you to read Selling in a Crisis, the new book by Jeb Blount. In it, he gives you 55 easy to consume tips, techniques, and tactics that are time-tested and proven to help you keep winning when everything hits the fan. Get the book HERE.
I was speaking in Boston earlier this week and talked with one of the other presenters on the conference agenda: Elke Laughlin of Laughlin Consulting Group. She said something that really hit home: Full time work equates to about 2,080 hours per year. That means, if you want to be a million-dollar producer, you need to be a $500-per-hour worker. Too many sales pros are doing only $50-per-hour activities instead of spending their time on truly impactful, commission-generating activities.
“Only when the tide goes out do we get to see who has been swimming naked.” – Warren Buffett, Oracle of Omaha
“You must take personal responsibility. You cannot change the circumstances, the seasons or the wind, but you can change yourself. That is something you have charge of.” – Jim Rohn
Grow Omaha University is sponsored by MyStaff Inc, a locally owned staffing firm whose purpose is helping Nebraska companies recruit for corporate office positions.
My Staff Inc – Our team helps you find yours!
Upcoming Events in the Metro
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It’s Fall Y’all on October 29th: Kick off the fall season with lawn games, a fall photo area, free pumpkin painting, trick-or-treating through the whole park, and a variety of characters taking pictures including the Sanderson Sisters. Food trucks will be available to enjoy in the evening. The festival will go until 6pm followed by a showing of Hocus Pocus as an outdoor movie. Bring folding chairs, family, and friends to kick off fall right!
Huskers v. Illinois Tailgate & Watch Party on October 29th: Bushwackers is the place to be on Husker Game Day! Reserve your tailgate spot or general admission tickets for a can’t-miss game day celebration. Host your own tailgate while getting an unbeatable view of the Husker game on a 27ft LED screen!
Midwest Craft-O-Roma on October 29th and 30th: Expect the unexpected at this year’s 2022 Midwest Craft-O-Rama! Experience art & crafts designed with humor, recycled material, and an individual touch! Along with some of the modern and classic hot items. Bring the kids for safe, indoor and FREE Trick-or-Treating while celebrating the creativity and independence of the artists and craftspeople!
Halloween Spooktacular on October 29th: Something wicked and fun is coming to this year’s Halloween Spooktacular at Nebraska Furniture Mart! Stop by for a frighteningly fun time with family and friends. This event is kid friendly and happening from 10-3pm on Saturday, October 29th!
Trunk or Treat in Farnam Hill on October 29th: Come out to trick or treat with area nonprofits, games, face painting, bounce houses, and more fun! Local food and shopping will be available for you to enjoy as well. All proceeds from this event will be given to a non-profit that the community votes for!
The War and Treaty on October 30th: The War and Treaty show has amassed a following as eclectic as their sound itself with “voices that will stop you in your tracks” (Garden and Gun) and their bluesy but joyful fusion of southern soul, gospel, country, and rock-and-roll. Experience this revival-like performance live at the Holland Performing Arts Center on October 30th!
Web3.0 Open Lunch Forum on November 3rd: Connect and make friends with other individuals interested in decentralization, ownership, cryptocurrencies, NFTs, and blockchain technology. This monthly event provides opportunities for successful entrepreneurs in our community to share their stories and insights. Join the movement to bring together the startup community and those interested in growing tech in Omaha at the Web3.0 November lunch!
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
WoodmenLife President & CEO, Patrick L. Dees has announced his impending retirement. The timeline for his retirement from his role as president & CEO, as well as chairman of the WoodmenLife National Board of Directors, will be established in the coming months. The board has selected Denise M. McCauley as the next president & CEO to assume leadership upon Dees’ retirement. McCauley is currently executive vice president & COO and Secretary for WoodmenLife.
NP Dodge Real Estate has welcomed new residential sales associates including Elizabeth Matthews, Julie Knudsen and Timothy King Sr.
One World Community Health Centers has named Vickie Adams as human resources director. Adams has more than 20 years of human resources experience and most recently served as HR director for Boys & Girls Clubs of the Midlands.
Security National Bank has announced the promotion of three executives: Mark White as senior vice president and commercial real estate team leader; Cindy Wowery, senior vice president and director of treasury management sales; and Lindsey Miltner, vice president and treasury management sales consultant.
Wall Street: The Week in Review
with George Morgan
The author 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.
Views and opinions expressed herein are solely those of the author.
Our discussion for this week begins with the burning question: does the dog wag the tail or does the tail wag the dog?
The Wall Street paradigm is that stock prices are determined by the financial fundamentals of the underlying stock. They have injected the investing public with this belief through their media cronies, ads on the Golf Channel and in every encounter with the public.
This paradigm has become so pervasive that it’s accepted without any supporting evidence. Facts that might cause rational individuals to question this position are there, but the collective response elicits images of the emperor’s new clothes. The evidence is there, but it’s in everybody’s best interest to ignore it.
Until 1975, stock market indexes functioned solely as a market indicator. In that year, Jack Bogle invented the first index fund. An index fund is a mutual fund that buys and holds all the stocks in the index it’s designed to mimic. No effort is made to trade the holdings in order to improve the funds’ performance.
When an investor purchases shares of an index fund, the fund company goes into the open market and buys all the shares of the companies in the index. Thus, shares of some companies are purchased that may not otherwise been traded. When investors sell, the procedure is reversed.
Thus, stocks are traded not on their fundamentals, but rather on the investors’ outlook on the market in general.
The conventional wisdom is that index funds are a passive investment and that investors buy them and hold them forever. An examination of the daily market trading activity shows that ETFs mimicking the big three indexes – the Dow, the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq – are among the most actively traded. There’s evidence that index funds as well as individual stock fundaments are market drivers.
There is another data point that brings into question the Wall Street paradigm. If stock prices reflect the economic fundamentals, then the stocks in the S&P 500 should be moving in all directions because some are reasonable priced, some are overpriced and some are underpriced.
Based upon the Wall Street paradigm, they should all be moving towards reasonable priced. A recent article in the Wall Street Journal presents us with a conundrum. The article reports that beginning in early spring, the correlation coefficient of the stocks in the S&P had increased dramatically. Translation. Most of the S&P stocks – the good, the bad and the ugly – are moving in the same direction.
This leads us to a rhetorical question? Could index funds be Wall Street’s UFO? A mysterious force that we can’t identify, that some believe in and others deny exist? Stay tuned for more!
Stories Coffee Company to Open at Midtown Crossing
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