Brownie Bar expanding with new location in West Omaha

Brownie Bar expanding with new location in West Omaha

Brownie Bar expanding with new location in West Omaha

Baker's Candies Nebraska box

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. 

Social Media & Customer Service in Today’s Digital World | GROW Nebraska’s Free Monthly Webinar Series

Social Media & Customer Service in Today’s Digital World | GROW Nebraska’s Free Monthly Webinar Series

GROW Nebraska’s® FREE Online Training

Social Media and Customer Service in Today’s Digital World

How to Livestream Your Business to New Customers

Join GROW Nebraska for this Q&A-format training on how to use customer service to turn around a small business. Hear from Kari Printz, a small business owner who has put these tactics into action herself at her own bakery. In this webinar, you’ll learn all about hands-on customer service, whether you’re interacting with customers through Facebook or face-to-face.

You will learn:

 
  • How to meet customers where they are
  • The irreplaceable value of a simple smile
  • How small businesses can thrive in today’s environment

Kari is the owner of Ktown Cakery here in downtown Kearney. This summer she will relocate her business to a new location and will be expanding to include kitchen retail. In addition to her local business ownership, Kari juggles a role with Elanco Animal Health where she works on their global food policy team, advocating for US beef production. Prior to her work at Elanco, Kari held business analytic and operations roles at Overton Veterinary Services and the meat processing company now known as JBS. Kari volunteers at her local church as both a Sunday school teacher and a women’s Bible Study leader. She is a mentor in the Elm Creek schools TeamMates mentoring program and a local 4-H club leader. Kari and her husband, Matt, reside outside of Elm Creek with her two young children, Jameson and Scarlett.

This training is brought to you in part by the Center for Rural Affairs. Its mission is to “Establish strong rural communities, social and economic justice, environmental stewardship, and genuine opportunity for all while engaging people in decisions that affect the quality of their lives and the future of their communities.”

May 20: Making Sense of Digital Marketing | GROW Nebraska’s Free Monthly Webinar Series

May 20: Making Sense of Digital Marketing | GROW Nebraska’s Free Monthly Webinar Series

GROW Nebraska’s® FREE Online Training

Making Sense of Digital Marketing

How to Livestream Your Business to New Customers

This webinar will improve your understanding of the different aspects of digital marketing, including definitions and examples of key terms like SEO, SEM, content marketing and analytics. We will look at examples of campaigns that utilize a variety of tactics and talk about how you can implement digital marketing in your marketing mix.

 

You will learn:

  • The number of digital marketing options can be overwhelming, but understanding the different types is the first step in building digital marketing into your marketing plan.
  • Choosing the tactics that fit your marketing goals, budget, audience and timeline is key to effective digital marketing campaigns.
  • Tracking your campaign effectiveness will help make sure you build smarter campaigns in the future and make the most of your budget.

This training is presented by Marketing Coach Amanda Buzzell. With nearly 20 years of marketing and communications experience in for-profit, non-profit and education sectors, Amanda brings a well-rounded approach to strategic communication planning. Her imaginative, yet realistic, approach to marketing campaigns is what sets her apart from other communication professionals.

She’s the first to tell you that The Marketing Studio is not a typical agency, but rather a collaborative, with Amanda serving as the coach, facilitator and connector. She works with clients to really understand their business and culture so she can work with them to develop a communication plan that is sustainable, scalable and tailored to their business and culture. Clients work directly with Amanda to develop well thought out and researched strategies, but also benefit from her network of graphic designers, producers/directors, social media experts and digital analysts to draw on resources that rival a large agency.

This training is brought to you in part by the Center for Rural Affairs. Its mission is to “Establish strong rural communities, social and economic justice, environmental stewardship, and genuine opportunity for all while engaging people in decisions that affect the quality of their lives and the future of their communities.”

GROW Nebraska to kick off Training Tip Tuesdays April 6

GROW Nebraska to kick off Training Tip Tuesdays April 6

GROW Nebraska to kick off Training Tip Tuesdays April 6

The GROW Nebraska Foundation and the new GROW Nebraska Women’s Business Center in Omaha are partnering with the University of Nebraska – Lincoln Center for Entrepreneurship to bring established or aspiring entrepreneurs short, approachable training sessions through social media.

These Training Tip Tuesday sessions will be held live at noon through Grow Nebraska’s Instagram, @buynebraska, every first and fourth Tuesday of the month.

The first Training Tip Tuesday event will kick off at 12 p.m. Tuesday, April 6.

Designed to easily flow into the lunch break of a busy small business owner, these sessions will bring highly-relevant and easily applicable advice to anyone who tunes in.

By using Instagram Stories as the training platform, the information will not be limited to GROW Nebraska members or even users located within the state. Anyone who follows @buynebraska will be able to view the training, either live or in the 24 hours following the event, reaching a potentially endless audience. The sessions will also be saved on Instagram TV. 

“GROW Nebraska is thrilled to be working with business development experts like Umeda Islamova and Candice Price. These women are experts in their field, and will surely bring a wealth of knowledge to Training Tip Tuesday in an easily-digestible format as viewers munch on lunch,” said Tiffany Stoiber, Director of Marketing and Business Development for GROW Nebraska.

Umeda IslamovaIslamova is the Director of Business Consulting at the Center for Entrepreneurship in Lincoln, Neb. There, she provides guidance, mentorship and resources to students, staff, faculty, and community businesses including strategy, marketing, financial management, sales growth and HR resources.

Prior to her current role, Islamova coached more than 300 businesses as the Center Director for Nebraska Business Development Center and was awarded the America’s Small Business Development Center State Star. She also has worked in product management and operations management at ISoft Data Systems, commercialization and marketing at NUtech Ventures, and research assistantship at the Center for Entrepreneurship. She has also ran a few retail businesses and currently owns a global online retail shop.

Candice PricePrice is the Director of GROW Nebraska’s new Women’s Business Center in Omaha, Neb. In addition to that role, she is the proud owner of two businesses in Omaha: Home Team Auto Sales, an auto dealership, and Sapphire Grill, a local food service company. She is also a licensed Real-Estate Broker in the state of Nebraska, an independent insurance adjuster licensed in six states, and a Notary Public commissioned in the state of Nebraska.

Price is a member of the New Leaders Council, a national organization, and Leadership Omaha. She also sits on the boards of several non-profit organizations including the Omaha Municipal Land Bank; Omaha 100; Family Housing Advisory Services; and the Metro Omaha Women’s Business Center.

“We are so excited about announcing our expansion with the GROW Nebraska Women’s Business Center in Omaha and delivering training tips that are right on the mark,” said GROW Nebraska CEO Janell Anderson Ehrke. “We know people are on their social media numerous times during the day. Why not provide them with a quick training tip to help build their business?  We are so grateful to our innovative board and sponsors that continue to help us create opportunities like Training Tip Tuesday.” 

No registration is necessary to view Training Tip Tuesday. Participants only need to follow GROW Nebraska on instagram, @buynebraska. Open the app at noon on each training day and look at the top of the Home tab to find the live feed.

The first session with Islamova on April 6 will focus on social media demographics.

To suggest a topic to be covered on a Training Tip Tuesday, email tiffany@grownebraska.org.