Welcome to the August 29, 2014 Midlands Business Journal
Here is brief summary of our feature stories.
Vol. 40 No. 35

Briefs in this week's issue

SCORR Marketing appoints seven as new associates with firm

Assurity Life names Grenemeier

Cornhusker Bank names Deaver as its executive vice president

Pinnacle Bank appoints Mowitz as new commercial loan officer

Hornady adds Javins to its staff

Lincoln Electric appoints Owen

Concierge Marketing of Omaha promotes Pelto, selects Moore

Union Bank & Trust promotes Kuehn, Muhleisen to new posts

Noll names Woodfill to VP role

Special Sections:

• Home Improvement & Maintenance

Geographic reach brings growth to Johnson Hardware
by Richard D. Brown

Although Johnson Hardware is 159 years old and one of the oldest businesses in the state, the owners of the firm are not about to rest on their laurels. In order to become more competitive in Minnesota, the business has purchased Greene Doors & Hardware, a 57-year-old family-owned company in Dodge Center (near Rochester). Also, Johnson Hardware’s Omaha showroom has been relocated from the northwest to the southwest part of the city to facilitate greater customer traffic.

Rite-Style Optical gains benefits through merger, new technology
by Michelle Leach

Over its more than 60 years in business, Rite-Style Optical Co. has had its share of admirers wanting to join forces with the family business, but it wasn’t until 18 months ago that the optical lens laboratory merged with Minnesota- based Walman Cos., reportedly the largest independent ophthalmic company in the country at 40-plus branch offices spanning almost 20 states.

U.S. Cellular makes investments in stores within competitive industry
by Michelle Leach

U.S. Cellular customers in and around 21 population centers received access to up to 10 times faster wireless speeds via its 4G LTE rollout last October, and the carrier anticipates continued expansion in Nebraska this year, with more than 93 percent of its customers nationwide having access to such speeds by 2015.

Lincoln Chamber surpasses 1,600-member mark as local economy maintains improvement
by Michelle Leach

Technology represents not only the types of businesses the Lincoln Chamber of Commerce is targeting, but also opportunities for the 125-year-old organization to further demonstrate value to its members.

New state tax credit for historical property rehabilitation expected to draw interest
by Kristin Durbin

Aiming to spark reinvestment in historical buildings, Nebraska’s new law to incent rehabilitation projects is moving forward with an online application that will be available in the fall, said Lissa Schwab, tax incentive coordinator at the Nebraska State Historic Preservation Office.

Zongkers delivering heirloom furniture nationally, internationally for 25 years
by Becky McCarville

When brothers Dan and Dennis Zongker started their namesake business in 1989, they never imagined that 25 years later they would still be creating custom pieces for clients spanning 44 states and internationally: Canada, Japan, Mexico and Germany.

The Twisted Vine diversifies business by adding wine bar, retail
by Kendra Strasser

Since opening in March, The Twisted Vine has expanded its services by adding a vintage boutique shop called Collective at the Vine and by expanding its wine bar.

Entrepreneurial duo pushes DigiWidgets software product toward funding round
by Dwain Hebda

DigiWidgets’ founders Stacy Carlson and Carl Steffen of Lincoln are leveraging a potent mix of technical, graphic design and entrepreneurial experience to create easyto- use software that adds a digital graphic editor to websites. But it was a more elusive element of startup life that initially brought them together — luck.

Sky Zone planning additional hiring to meet expected demand in area
by Michelle Leach

The Sky Zone franchise has gone over so well in the region that, within its first week in Des Moines, Richard Andraschko and wife Tracy Walker-Andraschko began hiring what would grow to 70 more employees. And within two weeks of its Nebraska debut, the indoor trampoline park franchise opened gained such a positive response that the Omaha location is expected to hire at least 20 employees to its roster of 30 to 40.

Car sharing services gain popularity in Omaha, but insurance a concern
by Lori McGinnis Black

Want a ride? You don’t necessarily have to call for a taxi anymore. Simply go to your smartphone.

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