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Weekly Market Report – September 14, 2023
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Restaurant & Retail Updates
Ancho & Agave is now open at 17110 Davenport Street in Village Pointe. The 10,800 sq. ft. restaurant operates inside a former Pier One store space and has a three-season room in which the south wall is permanently open to the elements. Ancho & Agave has two other locations in Bloomington, Ill. and Middleton, Wis. The restaurant has the same ownership as Biaggi’s Ristorante Italiano, a Midwestern chain, which has an Omaha location near 136th & West Dodge Road.
Buffet 402, a new, locally owned Chinese restaurant, plans to open soon in the Settlers Creek retail strip center at 72nd & Cornhusker Road in Papillion, according to The Lerner Company.
An online cottage baking business now has a brick-and-mortar store in Miracle Hills shopping center, according to the Omaha World-Herald. Crum Cakes Bakery has opened at 763 North 114th Street in the former Carson’s Cookie Fix location.
The Witchery Barber has opened at 2941 South 108th Street in Hilltop Plaza. The barbershop has the same ownership as Barroco Wine Bar and Christian Nobel Furs, both of which are right next door. A speakeasy, which will be accessible through the barbershop, is currently under construction and is expected to open this fall.
Le Quartier Bakery & Café has moved from Countryside Village to Loveland Centre northeast of 90th & West Center Road.
Tupelo Honey Southern Kitchen & Bar will host a hiring event at Embassy Suites Downtown Old Market from September 18 through October 6. The southern-style restaurant has more than 100 positions available and will open its first Nebraska location in October at 830 Harney Street in The Mercantile district.
Ross Dress for Less is now hiring for its sixth Omaha-area store, which will open in a former Big Lots space at 717 South 72nd Street just east of Nebraska Furniture Mart. Opening is expected to take place this fall.
Omaha Restaurant Week returns Sept. 15-24, after a three-year hiatus. Thirty-four participating restaurants will offer discounted three-course dinners for $30, $40 or $50 per person. Five percent of all menu item sales from Restaurant Week go to Food Bank for the Heartland. A list of participating restaurants is available at OmahaRestaurantWeek.com.
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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: Find a little slice of Paris at west Omaha’s Grand Patisserie
Last weekend, we had a few friends over to celebrate the completion of some remodeling to our home, and I was in full party-planning mode: Cheese plate. Baguettes. Cocktail shopping. Snacks galore. And something I don’t usually do was on the list this time, too: Grand Patisserie.
I’d heard rumblings about a west Omaha French bakery that had lots of pretty cakes, macrons, pastries and breads, but I wasn’t sure what it was called, and I didn’t know where it was located.
I can tell you this much: After several croissants, a memorable pistachio cake and an absolutely lovely pavlova, I won’t forget where to find Grand Patisserie.
The spot, in an unassuming strip mall southwest of 144th & West Center Road, is tucked in a corner; the sign reads just “Patisserie,” which translates loosely from French as “pastry shop.”
Inside, there’s just a couple of tables — I never saw a diner that stuck around, though I’m sure some have — and it’s mostly set up just the way I used it: To pick up pastries for an event or treat your co-workers to breakfast.
The case at Grand Patisserie, though petite, is chockablock with treats big and small, including cookies, pastries, macarons, tiramisu, fruit tarts and, on the weekends, loaves of freshly baked bread.
Here’s one thing I noted right away: the pastries are very pretty. A light and airy chocolate mousse cake came dusted with cocoa polka dots, and a millefeuille, which translates from French as “thousand sheets,” is layer upon layer of thin sheets of pastry filled with vanilla pastry cream and decorated with a geometric pattern of black and white stripes.
Somehow those layers inside the millefeuille remain crisp and airy in between the deeply flavored layers of vanilla cream; it’s a study in texture. The chocolate has depth and richness but isn’t overdone.
Co-owner Zied Allam, who runs the bakery with his wife, Rafika, said before starting to bake full time, he was working for a “giant corporation” in Omaha. He wanted to both make space for his own creativity and pursue baking, a hobby he’s had since childhood. When he would travel to big American cities like New York, or to Europe, or to Tunisia, where he’s from, he always wondered why Omaha didn’t have a French bakery like those cities did.
“I would always ask, ‘Why can’t we have something like this?’” he said. He decided then to make his hobby into something more.
Allam started making pastries and giving them to friends to gather feedback. When the feedback was good enough, he started a pop-up bakery on the weekends inside Roast in Aksarben village in 2016, and did that for three years, until 2019, when he took over the lease at his current space on West Center.
Then, their business was mostly catering special events, as much as 85 percent of it, he said, with no walk-in hours. But as more and more folks wandered by the small storefront and peeked in the windows, wondering what was going on, they decided to open to the public and sell retail.
Then COVID hit, and their event bookings all disappeared.
“The only thing that saved us was that decision two or three months before to open to the public,” Allam said. That model of our business flipped.”
Now, 90 percent of their business comes from walk-in customers, like me.
“Soft,” “creamy,” “light” and “airy” were terms I kept returning to again and again in my notes, and they came into play again when I tried what might be my favorite of the desserts, a crisp cloud of pavlova stuffed with a berry filling and vanilla pastry cream, then studded with raspberries, blueberries and a blackberry.
Generally, when I review a bakery, I limit myself to one or perhaps two bites of a dessert; it’s a lot to try. But the pavlova is the singular moment I found that I could have easily eaten the entire thing and not felt a minute of regret.
Airy is the best word to describe the pavlova and the pastry cream, with a dollop of bright, berry pink jam at its center. I’d love to serve these at the conclusion of a fancy dinner party (If I ever had reason to have a fancy dinner party.)
A friend who tried a few bites of the square pistachio cake filled with pink jam pronounced it delicious; it must have been, because it was gone before I got a chance to sample it at the party.
My friends also enjoyed two cylinders of flaky, buttery baklava, stuffed with almond paste and topped with a dusting of pistachio.
We tried a wide variety of macarons, pretty in hues of yellow, pink, purple and pistachio, and wished they had a bit more crisp to their exterior. Several friends commented that each flavor had a hint of mint; I noticed it on the chocolate one I sampled, too.
Another day, I visited the bakery in the morning to try a different round of pastries: two croissants, a pain au chocolat, and both an almond and a pear almond “tart,” flaky baked goods that felt like they would match best with a hot cup of coffee.
The tarts had the same base: a sort of flaky, shortbread-adjacent buttery cake, more nutty than outright sweet, the pear version decorated with a glistening slice of fruit.
As you might expect from a pastry chef using French techniques, the croissant and pain au chocolate are both wonderful, the kind of buttery, flaky and yes, airy treat that most bakers spend entire careers striving to perfect.
Allam said even after baking for many years, he’s still learning, but most of the technique he uses today he learned in France and Tunisia.
On weekends, the bakery offers a selection of breads, including a rye sourdough, focaccia and specialty loaves, like a braided loaf spiced with Zaatar seasoning and cheese bread with or without jalapenos.
An oval boule of rye sourdough with a crisp crust and soft interior filled with even, medium-sized air bubbles might have been the simplest thing I tried at Grand Patisserie. But for this burgeoning sourdough baker, it might have been the most pleasing: Simple. Balanced. Just sour enough, with a lovely crust, perfect for a slice of toast or a sandwich.
Allam’s devotion to his craft and high-quality ingredients — he ran through a laundry list of the high-quality items he relies on like local milk, eggs and cane sugar, and an even longer list of things he avoids, like chemicals and preservatives, when we talked on the phone, is evident with just one glance in the bakery’s case.
His devotion to giving something special to Omaha, and to diners like this one, is even more inspiring.
“Why can’t we make it look like Paris,” he asked near the end of our conversation. “Why not make it something good?”
I don’t see why we shouldn’t.
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The Big Story
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Construction Beginning Soon on Bellevue Mixed-Use Building
Mercury Builders will begin construction soon on The Bridge Flats, a $12.3 million, 4-story, mixed-use building at 210 West Mission Avenue in Olde Towne Bellevue. It’s part of an overall project known as The Frontier District, which is intended to transform Bellevue’s downtown area into a thriving commercial and entertainment destination.
Bellevue city officials and Mercury Builders broke ground last month on the new building as well as The Frontier District, an urban development area with a name reflective of Bellevue’s status as the “First City of Nebraska.” Bellevue is the state’s oldest city as well as the third largest.
The Bridge Flats will have 53 luxury residential units with 18,000 sq. ft. of first-floor condominium space for retail and business tenants located along the north side of Mission Avenue between Washington and Jefferson Streets. Construction is scheduled for completion in September 2024.
“We’re excited for the opportunity to launch the Bridge Flats, working with city leaders, the business community and Bellevue residents to create a vibrant place that will make The Frontier District an attraction for years to come,” said Jeff Gehring, co-owner of Mercury Builders and Construction.
The Bridge Flats will provide affordable living options to help meet the needs of a growing community. The building will feature a landscaped and furnished courtyard, outdoor kitchen and grill station, as well as green space for activities like Bocce ball and yoga. Redeveloped front facades for businesses on the south side of Mission Avenue also are included in the project plans, which will give the Frontier District a more uniform look. Additional public parking will be integrated.
“I couldn’t be more excited to see the Bridge Flats project completed for the city of Bellevue,” said Brian Thomas, commercial real estate broker at NAI NP Dodge, who is handling the building’s leasing efforts. “This fantastic, mixed-use development gets after the city’s need for more workforce housing for our military members who work on Offutt Air Force Base and for all future residents who either want to move or are moving to Nebraska and Bellevue with new businesses.
Thomas said the building will help fill a retail void in Bellevue.
“The Olde Towne area retail consistently remains 100 percent leased, and this additional retail will serve as a great launching pad for businesses that want to start or expand into Bellevue,” Thomas said.
The Frontier District will feature a new streetscape: strolling walkways, abundant common areas, lush landscaping and attractive streetscaping. The area will be designed to serve residents by attracting new business ventures and inspiring enriching community engagement projects as well as more mixed-use apartment/retail buildings.
“Bellevue is excited about this long-awaited project for our new Frontier District,” said Bellevue Mayor Rusty Hike. It is overdue, and the people in Olde Towne Bellevue need and want more services. Olde town will see major improvements, not only new services and living options but a whole new look including streetscaping. This project is sure to be a catalyst for new needed development.”
In addition to Mercury Builders, the Bridge Flats development team includes Perry Reid Properties, Perry Reid Construction, Moffett Investment Group, CMBA Architects, TD2 Engineering & Surveying, and E & A Consulting.
Grow Omaha Snippets
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Construction fencing has gone up around a mostly undeveloped site on the southwest corner of 30th & Leavenworth Street. That means construction should begin soon on Square Apartments, a 4-story building with 73 apartment units.
Noddle Companies recently held a topping-out ceremony for its 4-story, mass timber office building under construction at 1501 Mike Fahey Street in the Builders District. Topping out occurs when the last structural skeleton component is installed.
The Lost Rail Golf Course clubhouse was selected at the top new clubhouse of 2023, according to The Architectural Offices of Omaha, which designed the building located near 233rd & Cary Road in Gretna.
Omaha Performing Arts’ $108 million addition is going to be called The Tenaska Center for Arts Engagement in recognition of a principal gift from Tenaska, an Omaha-based energy company. The addition, which is under construction on open space immediately east of Holland Performing Arts Center, is scheduled for completion in early 2026.
In 2022, an all-time record of 3,566 units of new apartment construction was approved in the metro area, according to the Omaha World-Herald. So far, 2022 looks to be more of a normal year. From January through June, a total of 946 apartment units were permitted.
Ronco Construction is renovating a 20,000 sq. ft. commercial building that will serve as the Omaha office for D.R. Horton Homes, the nation’s largest home builder. The building was previously used as a pet resort and a Covd-19 testing center.
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:
Union Pacific recently removed a full day of transit time for customers shipping on Eagle and Falcon Premium, the railroad’s Mexico intermodal products. Eagle Premium delivers seamless interchange between Mexico, Chicago, the West Coast, and eastern U.S. points, including Detroit and Louisville, Ky. Falcon Premium, developed jointly with Canadian National and Grupo Mexico, serves all CN points within Canada and Detroit.
Fusion Medical has officially moved into The Waterford Building, a 4-story, 175,000 sq. ft. office building at 18881 West Dodge Road, according to R&R Realty, which owns and manages the class-A building. Fusion Medical occupies 115,000 sq. ft.
Erin Ren Photography has leased a 1,369 sq. ft. space at 3919 Cuming Street, according to Gabrielle Estivo of NAI NP Dodge, who brokered the lease transaction. The local photographer will open near Lisa’s Radial Cafe, Sweet Magnolias and St. Cecelia Cathedral.
Lutz, an Omaha-based business solutions firm, has been named one of The Top 50 Construction Accounting Firms by Construction Executive. This is the first year Lutz has made the industry publication’s list, ranking #50.
Werner Enterprises has been named one of America’s Greatest Workplaces by Newsweek. In cooperation with Plant-A Insights Group, the list distinguishes the best workplaces in the United States based on results from a national survey with more than 380,000 completed company reviews.
Mutual of Omaha Mortgage announced a new strategic relationship with estate planning company ePIC Services Company with the goal of fueling growth in its reverse mortgage business. The alliance will allow the two companies to serve the same client base with complementary products. EPIC Services Company offers estate planning services directly to consumers and indirectly through financial advisors. The company provides services including creating a trust, establishing a power of attorney and setting up health care directives through its electronic platform.
Skyline Med Staff recently celebrated its eighth anniversary. The Omaha-based company works with travel healthcare professionals nationwide.
The Wall Street Journal this week highlighted a new biography about the world’s richest man. In the book, Elon Musk, author Walter Isaacson shares Elon Musk’s five commandments for business: Question every requirement; Delete any part or process you can; Simplify and optimize; Accelerate cycle time; and Automate.
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
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LEADERSHIP & MANAGEMENT
According to IdeaPod, here are several things successful people never do in the morning: 1. Hit the snooze button; 2. Skip breakfast; 3. Avoid big tasks; 4. Waste time on social media; 5. Too many things at once; 6. Rush.
One reason trust is often absent in the workplace is because too many leaders “talk the talk without walking the walk.” Leaders must be approachable and actually listen to what our people say. But that alone is not enough. When an employee gives you an idea, try to implement it if possible. If it’s not an idea you want to implement, clearly explain your reasoning.
Approximately 44 percent of current retirees are planning to reenter the workforce or are strongly considering it, according to Fortune. Keep this in mind if you’re having trouble finding reliable people.
The United States has 12.3 million women-owned businesses, which is 40 percent all businesses in the country, according to Nerd Wallet. Those businesses generate $1.8 trillion per year.
Travel costs skyrocketed after the pandemic. Airfares rose 72 percent in 2022, and hotel prices were up 30 percent, according to Steve Glenn of Lincoln-based Executive Travel. Fortunately, 2023 has seen far more modest price increases: airfares 2%; and hotels 4%. Projected 2024 price increases are similarly mild. “The bottom line is that the travel inflation we have witnessed the last two years is finally starting to moderate.”
Ninety percent of companies plan to implement return-to-the-office policies by the end of 2024, according to CNBC. Nearly 30 percent say they will threaten to fire employees who don’t comply with office requirements. But the average office worker still won’t be present every day – looks like hybrid schedules will continue to be common.
Here’s a useful process-advancement question for B2B sales pros, courtesy of HubSpot: “It seems like this would be a good fit for you. What do you think?”
Sales Statistic – Only 60 percent of sales pros meet their quota, according to Spotio.
Not every company has the time or budget for in-person sales training. That’s why Jeff Beals and his partners and I created BragBird, a 24/7, cloud-based sales-training program. I strongly recommend you take it for a test drive – Try a free sample module HERE.
“Love all. Trust a few. Do wrong to none.” – William Shakespeare
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?
Did You Know?
Surprising Facts, Figures & Points of Pride That Make Omaha Unique
This section is sponsored by Lockbox Storage.
Did you know that the largest employers in the Omaha metro area are Offutt Air Force Base, Nebraska Medicine, CHI Health and Methodist health System?
Did you know Omaha hosted a world’s fair in 1898, which was known as the Trans-Mississippi Exposition? More than 2.6 million people attended.
Did you know that barges still ply the Missouri River at downtown Omaha and they can do so 10 months out of the year?
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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2023 Omaha Burger Battle on September 15th: The Burger Battle is back! Omaha’s top grill masters will be representing their local neighborhood and fighting to the finish as they battle it out for best burger in town. Each competitor will be providing a 2 oz gourmet slider with up to five toppings for you to judge. The winner will be crowned with the esteemed title of ‘Omaha Burger Battle first-place WINNER and holder of the area’s best burger. Tickets include a burger from each competitor! This event is 21+ and will have live music, lawn games, drinks and of course, burgers!
Omaha Classic Speed Dating on September 17th: Smitten Singles is hosting another classic speed dating event targeted toward all ages! The evening will begin with a meet-and-greet, allowing everyone to get to know each other before the speed dating rounds begin. During the speed dating portion of the event, you’ll have the opportunity to chat one-on-one with each participant for a set amount of time before moving on to the next. Smitten Singles will provide conversation prompts to ensure that the conversation flows smoothly. After the rounds are complete, you’ll turn in matches and have a chance to get to know the people you connected with at the post-event mixer. If you’re looking for a fun night out with other singles, this is the event for you!
Dave Chappelle Live on September 18th: American stand-up comedian and actor Dave Chappelle is taking the stage at the CHI Health Center in Omaha! This is a special occurrence as the performance will be like no other – and only available live. The show will be cellphone and camera free so make sure to get your tickets before it’s too late!
Modus Coworking Lunch and Learn – Content Curation on September 20th: Come out for another Lunch and Learn at Modus Coworking! This month features Brandon King, a brand and content management expert. At this event you’ll be able to learn more about Brandon’s background, expertise and how you can take your brand to the next level. Enjoy the afternoon by connecting with your community and learning more about what individuals are doing within it!
Successful Buyer’s Workshop on September 21st: Join others in learning how you can partner with the land bank and other resource agencies to transform neglected properties into assets – building sustainable communities. Through this workshop, attendees will learn how land banks can be used as a tool to stimulate the local economy, and prospective buyers will have an opportunity to learn about the process of purchasing properties from Omaha’s own land bank. Hosting this event is the Omaha Municipal Land Bank, a nonprofit that aims to empower Omaha to create sustainable communities through the equitable transformation of problem properties. Come out and bring a friend to the Successful Buyer’s Workshop!
Do you have an event you want Vesta to publicize? Share them with us here for free!
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
TitleCore National has promoted Enes Zamarron to residential escrow manager. She has been with TitleCore National since June 2016.
Lutz, an Omaha-based business solutions firm, recently added Sam Bonebrake, Matthew Lamm, and DeAnna Pillen to its Omaha office. Bonebrake joins Lutz Financial as a financial planner. Lamm joins Lutz Tech as a project engineer. Pillen joins the firm as an outsourced HR specialist.
Uniti Med has promoted Chad Crawford to Chief Sales Officer. He will be responsible for steering Uniti Med’s sales initiatives, aligning business goals with emerging market trends, and fostering innovation across all levels of the organization.
The James Skinner Co., an Omaha-based bakery manufacturer, has hired Olivia Torczon as director of product development and Agust Gunnarsson as master baker.
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.
Our topic for the week is the financial version of the “chicken or the egg.” Do individual stocks drive the market or does the market drive individual stocks? Spoiler alert: YES!
This brings us back to a subject the Gnomes and I have been whispering in your ear for a fortnight or so, but now we feel compelled to ramp up the decibel level.
For most of his reign, Chinese president Xi has focused on controlling the government and encouraging the economy to grow at a double-digit pace in order to keep China’s massive middle class pacified. At some point in the not-too-distant past, Xi made a 180-degree U-turn and moved to bring the entire society and economy under his heavy thumb. The unintended consequence of his actions is to bring the Chinese economy into a death spiral.
Last week, Xi announced that Chinese government workers are forbidden from using Apple I-Phones. His rationale is that the United States may be spying on them. Mr. Market went postal and smacked Apple shares down 6 percent. Because of Apple’s strong weighting in the S&P and Nasdaq, both indexes dropped 2 percent.
An article in the Wall Street Journal quoted an analyst: “From a strictly financial perspective, Xi’s action is a nonevent.” But, as has been well documented, Mr. Market is not a rational, calculating entity. Therefore, those who make market predictions based on financial realty will come up short.
The loggerhead between the Chinese and United States will eventually find a new equilibrium. It was moving forward before the Apple announcement.
During the pandemic, U.S. manufactures realized that their reliance on the Chinese for production components was headed down a slippery slope. Shifting production to other countries, and bringing some home, is well under way. Because of our reliance on China for manufactured goods, we have had a significant trade deficit with China. Post pandemic, this has declined, and indications are it will continue.
The Gnomes weekly check-in reinforced what they have maintained all along. People with robo accounts need to take a serious peek under the tent. Without throwing a wet blanket on the whole genre, it is prudent to take a serious look at any international fund holding. But, and this is a big but, there are numerous bright spots on the horizon. As the earning projections for next two quarters drop into the hopper, we are seeing a renewed optimism from Wall Street.
During the 2nd quarter earnings reveal, 73 percent of the companies in the S&P 500 exceed Wall Street’s estimates. Another heads up: August experienced a 2 percent decline in the market, while money market funds were paying slightly north of 5 percent.
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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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