To show our support of and investment in our local community, First National Bank is "shining a spotlight" on our business customers in the Omaha World Herald. We appreciate the opportunity to be a part of our customers' journeys and successes and want to share their stories with you.
Jack and Mary's
Four years ago when retired Omaha Police Officer Ken Oetter became the owner of Jack & Mary’s restaurant at 655 N. 114th St., he never imagined his new career would land him in hot water. “On occasions when we get busy, my wife and I will grab aprons and help with dishwashing,” Ken explained. “I’m surprised at how much work is required—it can get absolutely stressful. As a police officer I’ve dealt with high levels of stress and sometimes this place can push it." Jack & Mary’s restaurant has been an Omaha tradition for more than 40 years. Originally named Jack & Mary’s Cliff House, the restaurant was located in Old Mill Centre prior to moving to its current address.
The restaurant offers a full menu, including steaks, seafood, burgers, sandwiches, salads, breakfast items served anytime and a full bar, but its signature dish under its various owners has remained fried chicken, coleslaw, mashed potatoes and gravy. “Our menu features food that the original owner called ‘farm food,’” explained Ken’s son, Kip, who is the restaurant’s general manager. “Our fried chicken, gravy, and coleslaw recipes date back to the 1930s. How many restaurants can say that?”
The restaurant serves an average of 9,000 pounds of chicken each month, according to Kip. “Three fourths of our bone-in chicken sales are fried and the rest are grilled,” he noted. “I’ve never seen anyone cut chicken like we do, but this is the way it was done on the farm so that everyone could have a different piece of the chicken.” Catering and carryout represent a large part of Jack and Mary’s business. “About one-third of our total revenue is carryout,” Kip acknowledged. “Our carryout counter has a computer and two telephones, and on Sunday night we have three people at that station because we get so busy. We will do 150 to 200 carryout orders, which is uncommon for a restaurant setting like this.”
Families and older couples are among the regular customers who frequent Jack and Mary’s. “We have some customers who come in here every night of the week,” Kip observed. “Some older couples will split a large chicken dinner because they’re unable to eat a full portion themselves. We see young couples come in with kids and the next thing you know they’re hanging off our statue of Rex, which Guinness lists as the largest rooster in the world.”
One advantage of the restaurant’s current location is its proximity to First National Bank at 114th and West Dodge Road. “We chose to go there from day one because it’s right across the street,” noted Ken, who is responsible for managing the restaurant’s finances. “When our point-of-sale system malfunctioned, the bank provided a loan so we could replace it.” First National Bank was also able to refinance the restaurant’s original purchase loan and provide a lower rate. “We refinanced and it worked out really well,” Ken added. “I’m very happy with the bank and the people who work there, from the tellers to the loan officers.”
Steaks, a friendly atmosphere, live music in the lounge, and that iconic fiberglass steer. These are all trademarks of Anthony’s Steakhouse, 72nd and F Streets, which has been an Omaha dining tradition for more than 45 years. Named for Anthony Fucinaro, Sr., who died last year at the age of 82, the steakhouse opened in 1967 with a 130-seat dining room, 70-seat lounge, and a packaged liquor store. After a fire in 1969, the dining area and lounge were expanded, and banquet facilities replaced the liquor store, increasing overall capacity to more than 900 seats.
The current owner of the steakhouse, Anthony Fucinaro, Jr., credits the success of the restaurant to his father’s strong work ethic and instinct for creating a dining and entertainment experiene that gained a loyal customer base over the years. “My father was the best people person you’ll ever meet and everybody enjoyed him,” Fucinaro explained. “He was a fun man to be around who knew how to treat people. And even though he lacked experience in the food industry, he was able to learn as he went along and became very successful.”
While attending school, Fucinaro worked for his father on weekends and during summer vacations, learning every phase of the business from cleaning floors to tending bar. “There isn’t a single job in this building that I haven’t done,” according to Fucinaro. “That was a requirement of my father. He made sure I knew how to do everything so I would have a well rounded background in this business. Without his leadership, I would never be able to do this.”
As one of Omaha’s original Italian steakhouses, Anthony’s is famous for its selection of steaks, seafood, and pasta dishes made from family recipes. Leading the list of best sellers on the menu are Anthony’s filet mignon, prime rib, and ribeye marinated in bourbon and flame broiled. Adding to the dining experience is Anthony’s inviting atmosphere where customers are made to feel welcome and appreciated. “We are fortunate to have some very good employees here and with their help, we’re going to continue to give our customers what they want,” Fucinaro emphasized.
The past decade has seen a number of major renovation projects at Anthony’s, including a complete remodel of the Ozone Lounge, where live music is played six nights a week. “Everybody wants to go out, dance and have fun,” Fucinaro noted. “And from a talent standpoint, there are so many good musicians in Omaha, it’s unbelievable.”
In 2008, Anthony’s renovated its 350-plus seat banquet facility with a business loan from First National Bank. Improvements included adding an outdoor patio, the latest audio and video technology, and a full-time events coordinator to help schedule and plan wedding receptions, anniversary parties, and business meetings. Fucinaro plans to renovate the main dining room sometime in the near future.
“Without the help of First National Bank, I probably would have never remodeled the banquet facility,” Fucinaro acknowledged. “I have to feel comfortable with what I’m doing and they make you feel that way. It’s been a very good relationship and I really enjoy working with my business banker and the other people I’ve met. They are professional and look after my best interests.”
Urgent Pet Care
Doris Starks, DVM, and Debbie Newhouse, LVT, CVPM, are used to burning the midnight oil, getting barked at by their patients, and dealing with hissy fits. Still, the owners of Urgent Pet Care, 8419 S. 73rd Plaza in Papillion, are living their dream. “Pets are our passion,” Newhouse explained. “It’s truly satisfying to help people in a crisis situation and hopefully get a pet on its way to recovery.” With business hours from 5 p.m. to 1 a.m. Monday through Friday, 8 a.m to 12 a.m. on Saturday, and 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Sunday, Urgent Pet Care doesn’t perform general practice procedures, such as vaccinations.
"We function as an emergency unit,” according to Starks. “We do everything from ear infections, limping, bloat problems and lacerations, to issues with breathing and heat stroke. We also see a fair number of pets hit by cars. And we do surgeries as well.” Since opening in May 2013, Urgent Pet Care has experienced steady growth, accompanied by an increase in staff from three to ten employees. Referrals from area veterinary clinics and rescue groups have accounted for much of that growth.
“If the referring veterinarian has a case that is critical and needs to be monitored overnight from surgery, the patient is brought to us for care through the night,” Newhouse explained. “Even after we have closed, our staff is still here until 7:30 a.m. to care for the patients we have. Someone is always here so we can provide optimum care.” “If they’re concerned enough to call us, it usually is an issue they need to have checked out because the pet is uncomfortable, and the client is uncomfortable, too,” Starks noted. “You have to understand how important a pet is to its owner, so it is best to take care of the issue at that time.” Both Starks and Newhouse concede that emergency pet care can be exhausting, especially around the July 4th holiday when neighborhood fireworks disrupt the normal routine of family pets.
“We see a lot of vomiting and diarrhea cases during that time,” Starks shared. “Fireworks are extremely hard on pets because they have no understanding of what’s going on, so they get very frightened and stressed out and their body system produces that response. And, fireworks upset the normal balance in dogs because their sense of hearing is so keen.” As an accredited member of the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA), Urgent Pet Care meets the high quality standards covering all aspects of veterinary medicine. “Only ten veterinary clinics in this area are accredited by AAHA,” Newhouse noted.
Prior to opening Urgent Pet Care, Starks and Newhouse were involved with emergency pet practices at other veterinary clinics, where they dreamed of owning their own business. They credit First National Bank for helping them realize that dream with helpful advice and support throughout their Small Business Administration loan approval process. “Every step of the way they were there to guide us,” Starks added. “They didn’t just give us the loan and say you’re on your own. They backed us up all the way. They allowed us to fulfill our dream and our passion when nobody else would.”
Nebraska Orthopaedic Hospital
When it comes to the diagnostic, surgical and rehabilitation needs of people with sports injuries, joint replacements, or other musculoskeletal conditions, the Nebraska Orthopaedic Hospital (NOH) in Omaha is just what the doctor ordered. As the first hospital in the region dedicated to the complete care and treatment of the orthopaedic patient, NOH has experienced substantial growth since opening its doors in 2004. “We started out with about 130 employees and the majority of services were in the main hospital building,” CEO Tom Macy recalled. “Today, we have nearly 400 employees and have expanded our campus to include a rheumatology clinic, a 24-hour emergency department, a pharmacy, and outpatient surgery facilities.”
Approximately 75 percent of the hospital’s services are devoted to outpatient care, which includes the diagnosis and treatment of sportsrelated injuries. “The other 25 percent of our business is inpatient, which is total joint replacement,” Macy explained. “We’ve gone from 4,500 to over 9,500 surgeries per year. That includes about 1,200 total joint replacements annually.” Located at 144th Street and West Center Road, the main hospital has 24 beds and is equipped with the latest magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) technology, and physical therapy suites that include specialized hydrotherapy facilities.
“We offer physical therapy for individuals who are both surgical and non-surgical candidates. Physical therapy helps some patients delay or even avoid surgery,” Macy noted. “Physical therapy is also an important part of the recovery process following surgery.” Macy credited the hospital’s success over the past decade to the dedication of its professional staff in providing the highest level of patient care in the most cost-effective manner. Patient experience and satisfaction were important selection criteria for a pair of national awards presented this year to the Nebraska Orthopaedic Hospital.
The hospital was the recipient of a Women’s Choice Award as “America’s Best Hospital for Orthopedics” based on patient satisfaction measurements and clinical excellence. They also received the “Healthgrades Joint Replacement Excellence Award for 2014,” which recognizes the topperforming hospitals in the nation that have achieved quality excellence in particular specialties. In its ongoing effort to hold down administrative costs and protect patient information, Macy cited the hospital’s integration of a new electronic medical records (EMR) system. “That’s been a major change and will continue to be an evolving component in healthcare for some time to come,” he shared.
According to Macy, hospitals and healthcare organizations are responding to the population trend of leading more active lifestyles with programs that encourage health and fitness, such as the Market to Market Relay®, which NOH has sponsored for seven consecutive years. As the hospital celebrates its 10-year anniversary, Macy has been appreciative of the way Omaha and its surrounding communities have responded to NOH, and for the support of its business partners, including First National Bank. “Our relationship with First National predates the opening of the hospital,” Macy noted. “The hospital was a joint venture between 28 orthopaedic surgeons and the Nebraska Medical Center, which had a long-standing relationship with First National Bank. So choosing First National for our commercial needs was a natural fit.”
Over the years, First National has provided them with operating capital, equipment financing, an ATM, and credit card services. “We have a great partnership with First National and they have been very supportive of what we’ve wanted to do. They’ve given us everything we’ve needed,” Macy added.
Jacobo's Authentic Mexican Grocery, Bakery and Tortilleria
Since 1989, people with a need for authentic Mexican flavor, have found what they’re looking for at Jacobo’s Authentic Mexican Grocery, Bakery and Tortilleria, 24th and L streets. Owned by Ramon Jacobo and managed by his son, Carlos, this cashonly business has been a South Omaha tradition since 1976 when the family opened its first grocery at 30th and Madison streets. Three years later, the family opened a bakery at 24th and B, which later merged with the grocery store when it moved to its current location. “In the beginning, our customers were 90 percent Hispanic,” Carlos recalled. “Back then, people hesitated to go into a store that represented one nationality, thinking there might not be anything there for them, but there is. We urge people to come in and try something new and we’re always accessible to answer questions.”
Today, 50 percent of Jacobo’s customers are Hispanic and 50 percent represent other nationalities. “Now, we’re like the United Nations,” Ramon quipped. Among the store’s specialties are homemade chips and salsas; corn tortillas made fresh daily; deli favorites such as enchiladas, tamales, rice, beans and burritos; and traditional Mexican bakery items such as empanadas, conchas, and bolillos. Other departments include meat and produce sections, and packaged and canned goods manufactured in Mexico. “I got onto an airplane once and the flight attendant told me, ‘Mr. Jacobo, your salsa, chips and enchiladas are fantastic,’” Carlos recounted. “She added, ‘I’m based in Omaha and I always get them for our crew going from one city to another.’”
Ramon moved his family to Omaha from Chicago where he had worked for more than 20 years. “We decided to move back to Omaha where I was born, thinking maybe there’s a need for a Hispanic store here,” he explained. “When we opened the store at our first location, people didn’t think it was going to last,” Carlos acknowledged. “They told us there’s no demand for this type of market, but we were determined to give it a try.” For their first few years in business, Ramon drove round-trip from Omaha to Chicago every one to two weeks to load up his truck at warehouses specializing in Hispanic food products. “I would leave in the morning at 4 o’clock, drive to Chicago, load up, then drive back about 2 o’clock the next morning,” Ramon shared. “It was one of those things I never thought I would do in my lifetime, but I ended up doing it.”
Jacobo’s has experienced steady growth since those early days. The number of employees has grown from six to more than 20, and keeping the store’s shelves restocked requires semitrailer loads of fresh and packaged Hispanic food items. The Jacobos take pride in being part of the Omaha community and having the opportunity to educate people about Hispanic food and culture. They also value their business relationship with First National Bank, which started 25 years ago at the recommendation of another small business owner.
“At first, we thought First National was a big bank and we’re a small business, so we are not going to receive any attention from them,” Carlos noted. “We were told, ‘Try them, you’ll be surprised.’ So we started with First National and have been with them ever since.” Carlos added, “For us, it is important to deal with a bank that appreciates our business and we’ve seen that over the years with First National Bank.”
For Travis and Tanya Hall, owning the Interstate Batteries distributorship in Omaha is a dream fulfilled. Travis’s career path with the company had started as a teenager growing up in Ponca, Nebraska, continued through his college years, and eventually led him to the corporate headquarters in Dallas, Texas, where he met Tanya. “The opportunity to purchase this distributorship was our dream,” Tanya recalled. “Given his extensive product knowledge and my experience as an accountant, it was a perfect fit for us. Our offer was made in May 2010 and six months later we took over.”
Located at 15505 Cooper Street in Omaha, the distributorship carries an inventory of 7,000 replacement batteries in a variety of sizes for use in automotive, trucking, motorcycle, agricultural, lawn and garden, and marine applications. The business covers a 13-county area in Nebraska and southwest Iowa that includes Omaha and Lincoln. “Our batteries are provided on consignment, so there are no upfront charges for dealers to carry our products,” Tanya explained. “We provide the dealer with a rack of batteries, which doesn’t cost them anything until a customer makes a purchase.”
The locally owned business operates three route trucks that make 30 stops per day at dealer locations that carry Interstate Batteries on consignment. During these visits, the route sales managers restock the dealer’s inventory and collect old batteries for recycling. “We rotate our batteries every 90 days at no cost to our dealers to make sure they are getting the freshest product available,” Travis shared. “We also make available a ‘hot shot’ vehicle for quick delivery of specialty batteries that a dealer may not have on consignment.” Travis is bullish about the growth potential of the battery industry. “Consider how many things we use every day that require a battery,” he observed. “As technology changes, opportunities will be created with new consumer and business products that rely on stored power.”
The Halls credit their employees with maintaining a high level of customer service. “We have an excellent team,” Travis noted. “Our employees are great and we hold ourselves up to a very high standard of customer service.” This summer, the Halls also acquired three All Battery retail stores in the Omaha area, increasing their total number of employees to 28. The stores provide batteries for a broad range of automotive, consumer and business products that require stored power. “The acquisition adds value to our existing dealer base and provides better service to the entire Omaha area,” Travis noted.
Prior to the acquisition, the All Battery stores were corporateowned. “Now they are locally owned, the same as our distributorship,” according to Travis, “which means nearly every dollar we spend is with local businesses in the Omaha community. And this helps every one’s business.”
The Halls acquired the All Battery stores with a business loan from First National Bank. “The acquisition would not have been possible without their help,” Travis acknowledged. “Our commercial banker is always ready to help us with whatever we need to succeed.” “The commercial bankers at First National have been fantastic to work with,” Tanya added. “They actually care about us, which is what you want in a bank if you have a business.”
The Filter Shop
When it comes to providing air filters for commercial and industrial applications, Ryan Dahlgaard doesn’t allow any dust to settle on his warehouse inventory. The owner of The Filter Shop in Omaha strives for an average inventory turnover of 30 to 40 days, allowing for seasonal variables. “In this business, you have to have the products available or the customer will go somewhere else,” Dahlgaard explained. “At the same time, you don’t want to keep product sitting around in the warehouse for years—you need to move it.” Over the past decade, expanding product lines and a steady increase in sales has forced The Filter Shop to seek more space at four different locations prior to occupying its current 20,000-square-foot office and warehouse at 8730 F. St.
Today, The Filter Shop is the largest distributor of Clarcor air filtration products and was recently recognized by the Gates Corporation for having the highest volume of belt sales in the Midwest. In addition to its extensive selection of heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) filters, the company sells and installs air, liquid and dust filtration products, cottonwood intake screens, negative air machines, and replacement belts for HVAC applications. Serving a three-state area, The Filter Shop’s list of commercial and industrial customers reads like a Who’s Who of corporate headquarters, healthcare facilities, retail businesses, and manufacturing operations in the Midwest.
Customers can monitor and manage their product purchases and replacement schedules using FilterTrack, a free proprietary online service that Dahlgaard and a third party rolled out four years ago. The company operates four trucks that are used for deliveries by a team of National Air Filtration Association (NAFA) Certified Technicians responsible for replacing filters or other components. “It varies by application as to how often our technicians change out filters in a building,” Dahlgaard observed. “Some filters are replaced every two to three months. Our technicians will replace up to 600 HVAC filters in some of the larger office buildings we service, or as few as five or six in smaller facilities such as retail stores or restaurants.”
The market for filters offers “endless opportunities,” according to Dahlgaard. “Filters are a repeat business. It’s not one of those businesses where you sell them once and you’re done. Our challenge is to create a selling and service experience that turns our customers into ‘raving fans’ who want to come back again and again." Dahlgaard credits the company’s success to his Christian values and a strong culture of customer service fueled by motivated employees. “I am very excited that this team has taken air filters, which are far from a top-of-mind product for most people, and made this company into a business of choice for our customers,” Dahlgaard acknowledged.
Recalling his company’s early years, Dahlgaard appreciates the support and encouragement he received from his manufacturers and business partners, including First National Bank. “I’ve been with First National Bank since the day we started,” Dahlgaard noted. “It took us four years to turn a profit, but they were willing to work with me when others would not. First National, my accountant, and manufacturing partners are all team members who have supported what we’re doing from day one.”
Home Instead Senior Care
With more than 1,000 franchise locations in 17 countries, representing 1 million clients and annual revenues exceeding $1 billion, Home Instead Senior Care is recognized as the world’s leading provider of non-medical inhome senior care for seniors. For owners Lori and Paul Hogan, however, the potential for their company and the home care industry they helped create 20 years ago has yet to be realized. “There are 10,000 Americans turning 65 years old every day,” Paul explained. “Most of the aging adults we serve today are 78 to 80 years old, so we’re 10 years away from realizing the biggest demand for in-home senior care services ever seen.”
Studies show 85 - 90 percent of aging adults, regardless of the country they live in, desire to live out their lives in the comfort and safety of their own homes, according to the Hogans. Many seniors are not strong enough to push a vacuum cleaner any more, or maybe they forget to turn off the stove causing concern among family members,” Lori observed. “The adult children are often working, so we fill in with light housekeeping, meal preparation, and other services that enable seniors to remain in their own homes. We support families, we don’t replace them.” With more than 65,000 caregivers in its global network, Home Instead franchises provide more than 50 million hours of senior care annually. Approximately one-third of the company’s domestic and international caregivers are over the age of 60 years old.
The Hogans acknowledged that they have been blessed with amazing caregivers, franchise owners, and a dedicated staff at their global headquarters in Omaha where the business was founded in 1994. Home Instead evolved out of Paul’s background in franchising and personal experience helping his parents and siblings care for their 88-year-old grandmother. “We all chipped in to keep her comfortable for what we expected would be her last year,” Paul recalled. “That one year turned into 11 years and before long she regained her strength and was walking herself to church at Cathedral whenever the weather permitted.”
This year, the Home Instead Senior Care network entered Quebec, Canada, and the cities of Wuhan and Shenzhen in China. “We’re excited about the dynamics in China because there’s a growing middle class there that is looking for quality services and help with their older loved ones,” Paul acknowledged. Omaha is host city for the company’s annual convention, attended by more than 1,500 franchise owners and their supervisory personnel. The Hogans are also anchor donors for the Home Instead Center for Successful Aging at the University of Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha. “We’re thankful for the warm embrace we’ve received from Omaha over the years,” Paul noted.
The Hogans also appreciate the strong business relationships they have developed in Omaha, including the one with First National Bank, which is included on the company’s list of recommended resources for existing and new franchisees. “It’s great to have a bank right here in Omaha that can meet the needs of a company that’s doing business in other countries, as well as across North America,” Paul added. “First National offers services that are good for small businesses and large ones like ours, especially when it comes to handling currencies from around the world.”
2013 Business Spotlight
Johnny Sortino's Pizza Has the Right Recipe for Success | Johnny Sortino's Pizza: Sheri and Dana Taylor. December 2013.
Staab Management's Growth Plan Delivers | Staab Management Company (SMC): Ken and Dave Staab. November 2013.
McCarthy Capital is Investing in Growth | McCarthy Capital President: Patrick Duffy. September 2013.
Business is 'Cooking' at Kitchen Table | Kitchen Table Co-Owners: Colin and Jessica Duggan. August 2013.
Bes-Tech Generates Innovative Energy Solutions | Bes-Tech President and CTO: Mingsheng Liu. August 2013.
Thurston Manufacturing Is Geared Up for Growth | Thurston Manufacturing CEO: Layton Jensen. July 2013.
This Coin Laundry is a 'Classic' | Omaha Classic Coin Laundry Co-Owners: Patrick and Kathy Minikus. July 2013.
RV Market Drives Growth at Blue Ox | Blue Ox President: Jay Hesse. July 2013.
Global Industries Cultivates World-Class Brands | Global Industries, Inc. Chairman and CEO: Jack Henry. President and CFO: Doug Fargo. July 2013.
JNB Owner Is Driven to Succeed | JNB Inc. Owner and Manager: Brandon Priefert. June 2013.
Kirsch Transportation Shifts into High Gear | Kirsch Transportation Services, Inc. Co-Founders: Matthew Kirsch and Camilla Moore Kirsch. June 2013.
Sales Soar at Ultimate Disc Store | Extra Mile Sports LLC President and CEO: Chris Whirrett. May 2013.
International Bakery is On a Roll | International Bakery. Owner: Francisco Gonzalez. May 2013.
2012 Business Spotlight
Moving Water Keeps Briggs Pumped | Briggs Inc. of Omaha. Chief Financial Offer: Chris Sunde. Executive Vice President & Chief Operating Officer: Randy Beets. August 2012.
Accurate Communications Hits 'Speed Dial' to Growth | Accurate Communications. Owner: Jeff Zindel. August 2012.
Scooter's Coffee 'Scoots' to 100th location | Scooter's Coffee. Co-founders: Don and Linda Eckles. July 2012.
My Dream "Created a Wave" | Peachwave. Owner: Mahesh Devani. July 2012.
Markets, Location Favor Cedar Hill Cattle Co. Growth | Cedar Hill Cattle Company. Owners: Joe and Bill Sindelar. July 2012.
Finding a Lot to Love about Locating in Nebraska | WebEquity Solutions. CEO: Doug McGregor. June 2012.
Cupcakes Are Here To Stay | Jones Bros. Cupcakes. Owner: Bill Jones. June 2012.
When Bubble Burst, Charleston Built | Charleston Homes. President and Owner: Marc Stodola. June 2012.
Berries Hold Super Future for Westin | Westin Foods. President and CEO: Scott Carlson. June 2012.
A Wedding Setting in the Hills | Fountains Ballroom. Owners: Erin and Marty Williams. April 2012.
Omaha's Pull Too Strong to Resist | Trocadero. Owner: Alice Kim. April 2012.
Pedals to the People | Re-CYCLE Bike Shop. Owners: Mike & Cathy Turman. April 2012.