Brownie Bar expanding with new location in West Omaha
OMAHA – If there’s anything we love more than seeing one of our members gain enough success to expand operations and open a new location, it’s when one of our members gains enough success to expand operations and open a new location because of dessert!
Michael Mitilier, co-owner of The Brownie Bar with Jim Friedman, took some time to tell us about the company’s exciting new developments, as well as provide some insight into their success. After the challenges that small businesses endured due to the pandemic, it’s especially encouraging to see such dynamic growth from one of our members!
After seeing so many cupcake, cookie, and donut shops around Omaha, Michael and Jim realized there was an opportunity in the dessert market for something different, and in 2019, the Brownie Bar was born.
If you haven’t heard of (or visited) the Brownie Bar, here’s a quick rundown of the innovative concept:
Step 1: Choose from 3 types of signature brownies: Traditional, Blonde, and Dark Chocolate
Step 2: Choose 1 of 9 different toppings
Step 3: Enjoy them for yourself, ship them to a loved one, or make a large order for an upcoming event!
This simply delicious business model not only helped the Brownie Bar get on its feet, but kept it upright throughout the pandemic. In addition to producing a high-quality product that people love, their active presence on social media has been extremely useful in not only getting the word out, but actually expanding to a new location.
“We were getting so many people who were coming down to our location in the old market,” said Michael. “I think a lot of those people were traveling from West Omaha, and would say things like, ‘We would have gotten down here sooner but we just don’t get downtown as often,’ or ‘We’ve been following you for about a year and finally got down here.”
So when it was time to expand, how did Michael and Jim decide where the next location would be? They took it to Facebook and let the people decide. They offered three zip codes and, after around 300 people voted, it was clear that West Omaha was the right choice.
Michael had plenty to say about the benefits of social media. “Social media is probably one of the biggest factors of our success. It gets the word out there quickly, and we can adjust it and play with it to see what’s working and what’s not working. Email marketing has been pretty good for us, too, allowing us to constantly remind clients and potential clients of our presence. That helps a lot.”
The ability to ship their brownies was a big help during the pandemic. “We do a lot of shipping. That saved us through COVID for sure, especially for the holidays and Valentine’s Day. We also have a food truck/van for private things and corporate events, which helped a lot, too.”
The fact of the matter, though, is that The Brownie Bar provides a unique, delicious dessert option that is consistent in quality and hard to forget.
“Everything is made from scratch.” Michael laughed, “Some days I’d love to find out how many pounds of butter we go through a month! The packaging has a lot to do with it, too: cute little boxes with our logos on them. And if they order a 6 pack or 12 pack, there’s crinkly paper and an instruction sheet on how to heat your brownies. It’s the little things that make it just a little more memorable.”
Michael also believes in the power of simplicity, when it comes to success. “Keep yourself lean; don’t offer 5000 products. You need space, and you need the people to do all that work, and you need to be able to do everything well.”
GROW Nebraska would like to wish a hearty “Congratulations!” to Michael and the whole Brownie Bar team. Your hard work, ingenuity, and talent has certainly paid off!
Story by Lauren Bonk, owner of the Curtain and Pen Copywriting Services, a GROW Nebraska member. Lauren hails from Kearney, NE, where she works as a freelance copywriter for small businesses, startups, and even larger corporate entities in need of professionally-written marketing content for their businesses and organizations.