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Milestones in business

Milestones in business

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Happy anniversary!

As part of Directions 2015, the Journal Star invited businesses and other offices celebrating an anniversary divisible by five this year to share their history with readers. Contributors were asked to tell readers in 100 or fewer words about what their company or office does, about its founding and how many people work there. Here are the submissions we received.

* Industrial Services Inc., 100 years

The company, owned by the Knaub family, provides reliable, cost-effective solid and liquid waste removal services to Lincoln and surrounding communities. It was started in 1915 by Phillip Knaub, who immigrated to Lincoln with his family from Kautz, Russia. He started his business with a team of horses and a wagon, picking up ashes and other waste from local businesses and residential homes. Two of his sons, Phillip II and Alexander, grew up working by his side. Both sons, and their sons, continue in the trash service business. This five-generation, family-owned and -operated company has 37 employees.

* Del Gould Meats, 75 years 

Del Gould Meats has provided quality meats for Southeast Nebraska since 1940, starting as a local meat counter at 17th and Washington in what is now Russ's Market.

The company founded by Delbert Gould has transformed into the last Lincoln-based meat company serving hotels, restaurants and other institutions. The third-generation family-owned business at 3520 N. 20th St. specializes in customer service, custom cut meats for both retail customers and restaurants.

Cattle used for processing are native to Nebraska, aged and graded USDA Choice to assure the highest quality product.

* Action Realty, 65 years

Action Realty, 2126 N. Cotner Blvd., started in 1950 when Leonard Wenzl bought the business from Edith Austen, owner of Austen Real Estate, who retained the name. Wenzl was the owner/broker until his death in 1983. Family members hired Wenzl’s daughter, Sharon Wright, to manage Interstate Realty and take over ownership of Action Realty in 1984. At that time, Wright was a real estate associate broker at Action Realty in McAllen, Texas. In 1989, the business became a property management company and Wright became a single residential property investor.

* Cornhusker Billiard Supply, 60 years

Cornhusker Billiard Supply is celebrating its 60th anniversary. The company carries American-made gameroom and patio products including billiards, shuffleboards, darts, game-room décor, barstools and patio furniture.

Paul and Ruby Grosart founded Cornhusker Billiard Supply in 1955 in downtown Lincoln and sold the company to Rory and Connie Mueller in 1976. Its location at 20th Street and Nebraska 2 boasts Nebraska’s largest selection of game-room tables and accessories. The company has more than 40 employees, many of whom have been with it for more than 20 years.

* Lincoln Community Foundation, 60 years

The Lincoln Community Foundation is celebrating 60 years of service to the Lincoln community this year. In 1955, a visionary and dedicated group of leaders started the foundation. The first gift to the Lincoln Foundation came from the Woods Charitable Fund and totaled $50,000.

During the past 60 years, LCF has distributed more than $80 million in grants. Those who partner with Lincoln Community Foundation have done much to improve the city. Recent initiatives include Give To Lincoln Day, Vital Signs, and more.

* Joseph's College, 50 years

The college is celebrating 50 years in cosmetology education. The school grew from one campus in Lincoln in 1965 to seven today, in Beatrice, Grand Island, Hastings, Kearney, Lincoln, Norfolk and North Platte. Joseph's College corporate offices are in Lincoln. There are 167 students statewide, with 40 at the Lincoln campus. The college's commitment to the professional futures of its students and economic development of Nebraska cities in which is operates is the philosophy and vision of owners and founders Bruce and Jane Nims.;

* Lincoln SCORE, 50 years

The Lincoln Chapter of SCORE was established and chartered May 31, 1965, and has 15 active mentor volunteers. It is part of SCORE, America's Premier Mentors to America's Small Business, a national nonprofit resource partner with the Small Business Administration dedicated to entrepreneur education and the formation, growth and success of small businesses.

Lincoln SCORE provides free, confidential advice and counseling tailored to meet the needs of small business and personal objectives and for a modest fee offers workshops for both start-up and in-business entrepreneurs. It mentors early-stage entrepreneurs, start-up businesses and established businesses.

Lincoln SCORE is seeking qualified people to serve as mentors; contact 402-437-2409 or 

* Gene Lilly Surety Bonds Inc., 50 years

Gene Lilly founded Gene Lilly Surety Bonds in 1965 in his home along with his assistant, Betty Kreifels. The two worked with many contractors who remain loyal customers today.

Bob Cirone joined the company in 1980, two years before Lilly died. In 1988, Jim King became Cirone's partner and they started growing the business into what has become the largest surety-bond-only agency in the Midwest.

The company's offices in Lincoln and Omaha will celebrate the 50th anniversary.

* MassMutual agent Bob Bettenhausen, 50 years

Bob Bettenhausen celebrates 50 years as a career agent with MassMutual, a milestone reached by fewer than 2 percent of insurance agents nationally.

His accomplishments include being president of MassMutual Agents Association, lifetime membership in Million Dollar Round Table and founding Bettenhausen Insurance Services.

He and his son Matt and daughter Cathy maintain a high standard of expertise, specializing in employee benefits, life, health, disability, longterm care and retirement solutions. The agency is at 6041 Village Drive, Suite 100. Bob Bettenhausen credits his business success to establishing firm relationships of mutual trust and service to each client.

* Community Action Partnership of Lancaster and Saunders Counties, 50 years

The agency is one of more than 1,000 Community Action agencies across the United States, and was born out of the Economic Opportunity Act of 1964. Through more than 15 distinct poverty-fighting programs and services -- including Head Start and Early Head Start -- Community Action’s mission is to empower people struggling in poverty to reach their full potential and achieve self-reliance. Last year, the agency served more than 15,000 individuals. or on Facebook, Twitter (@CommunityActio3), or YouTube (CAction1965).

Blue Valley Behavioral Health, 45 years

Blue Valley is a behavioral health organization that provides outpatient mental health and substance abuse treatment to more than 5,000 adults and children in 12 different offices throughout 16 counties in Southeast Nebraska.

Blue Valley was incorporated in 1970 and first started providing behavioral health treatment in Beatrice. Their presence and services have grown over the years in the rural communities and most recently in Lincoln. In addition to scheduling an appointment online, you can complete a free, confidential behavioral health screen.

* Voices of Hope, 40 years

Voices of Hope, Lincoln’s crisis center for victims of domestic violence and sexual assault, is in its 40th year of providing services in the Lincoln community. What started as a volunteer-driven crisis line by students and volunteers at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln campus, has evolved into a comprehensive service agency providing 24-hour crisis intervention services and daily walk-in services for victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking, harassment and related forms of abuse.

Voices of Hope will recognize its 40th anniversary at a luncheon on April 23 at the Cornhusker Marriott.

UNANIMOUS, 35 years

The former Pickering Creative Group celebrated 35 years of business with big changes. The Lincoln-based marketing agency moved into a new building, sold the tradeshow management, hardware and storage services division and unveiled a new name -- UNANIMOUS. What began as a one-man operation in 1979 quickly grew in services, staff and clientele. Today, UNANIMOUS continues its mission to help clients succeed by assisting with branding, marketing and web development. Client input helped the agency select its new name based on the collaborative partnerships it is well-known for creating. UNANIMOUS has more than 350 active clients across 15 states.

* Pioneer Printing, 35 years

Pioneer Printing was founded July 1, 1980, as the first Sir Speedy Printing Center in Nebraska by Bud and Genni Rettke. Their daughter Cyndy Harkins became the owner in 1992 and discontinued the franchise in late 2004.

Today, Pioneer Printing Inc. is a full-service offset and digital printing company with three full- and one part-time employee focusing on customer service, fast turnaround and competitive prices. 

* News Link, 30 years

News Link is a rapidly growing, customer-centered company with 55 employees who produce 220 publications for organizations throughout North America.

Headquartered in Rathbone Village, 2201 Winthrop Road, News Link journalists and photographers travel to customers’ locations, do interviews, take photos and write stories for customers, including railroads, manufacturers, associations, construction companies, financial institutions and government.

Founded in 1985 by Peter Ringsmuth, president, News Link has helped companies achieve their communication goals for 30 years.

* Lincoln Women's Chamber of Commerce, 30 years

The Lincoln Women’s Chamber of Commerce celebrates its 30th anniversary as a separate philanthropic organization that supports charitable organizations, with an emphasis on supporting women and children, by direct fundraising and financial contributions as well as hands-on volunteering by its members.

The chamber supports Earth Wellness Day, hosts receptions for newly naturalized citizens, provides trophies for the Lancaster County Fair 4-H style show, sponsors American Legion Auxiliary Girls State, buys elementary school supplies, clothing, winter outerwear and holiday gifts, supports Voices of Hope, the City Mission’s clinic and has established scholarships through the SCC Foundation.

On Facebook: Lincoln-Womens-Chamber-of-Commerce.

* New Ventures Custom Home Design, 30 years

New Ventures Custom Homes Design is celebrating 30 years of specializing in custom home design and remodeling plans. Designing beautiful, versatile house plans that incorporate today's most popular amenities is a hallmark of New Ventures' services.

Business owner and operator Doug Nelson and his staff have worked with thousands of builders and homeowners across Nebraska and surrounding areas. The company employs full-time designers Wes Harr, Kimberly Woods and Brittnie Miller, who have a combined 40 years of experience and apply their creative thinking and clear communication to every project.

New Ventures has created lasting bonds with homeowners and other industry leaders and holds a respected position in the community.

* Coddy’s Indian Jewelry, 30 years

Husband and wife team Coddy and Tom Houchen are celebrating their 30th year of selling gallery-quality Indian jewelry in the gift shop at Quality Inn, 3200 N.W. 12th St., near the airport.

The business boasts the largest inventory of authentic, handcrafted Indian jewelry in the Midwest. It features jewelry handcrafted by Navajo, Zuni, Hopi and Santa Domingo tribes.

Tom Houchen said his mother had a jewelry store in Estes Park, Colorado, and turned his wife, Coddy, into a “turq-oholic.” Open 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., Monday through Saturday, and 8:30 a.m. to noon on Sunday.

* Southside Carwash, 25 years

The car wash at 48th and Nebraska 2 was opened in 1990 by Keith Fickenscher and Harvey Sutton. The site had been a car wash since the 1960s. Southside offers self service and was Lincoln's first touchless automatic wash. Today it offers propane bottle exchange and refills. The car wash, which is open 24 hours, seven days a week, is owned by father and son Keith and Aaron Fickenscher. They have six part-time employees.

* Lighthouse, 25 years

2015 marks the 25th anniversary of Lighthouse, a nonprofit after-school program for teens who are at risk for many unhealthy behaviors. Lighthouse was started in 1990 by Peter Allman, Jim Perry and Maureen Allman.

Its No. 1 goal is to help students graduate to the next grade level, and ultimately from high school. Lighthouse provides tutoring, enrichment and fitness activities, afternoon snacks and evening meals.

The nine staff that work at Lighthouse create a loving environment and greet all the youth with a hug every day.

* Wes' Baseball Cards, Inc., 25 years

Wes' Baseball Cards will celebrate its 25th anniversary Nov. 23. Wesley Johnson opened the store at 237 S. 70th St., Suite 102, and buys, sells and trades sports cards and memorabilia. He hosts occasional celebrity signings and helps people find cards to fill out their collections.

Johnson, the sole employee, said collecting sports cards is a hobby, investment and a pickle card all wrapped into one. And, he said, it's fun.

On Facebook at wesbaseballcards1; email

* TELCOR, 20 years

TELCOR is celebrating its 20-year anniversary. It was founded by Jim Terrano as his third start-up business. Working in Terrano's home, Deb Larson, Becky Clarke and Terrano (the TE in TELCOR stands for Terrano, the L for Larson, C for Clark and OR for organization) started the company as a health-care IT consulting firm.

Today, it has more than 100 employees, all based in Lincoln, and focuses on health-care software used by hospitals, laboratories and medical offices. Due to year-over-year growth, TELCOR is now in its fourth location and is looking forward to continued success.

* Nicholson & Associates Drug and Alcohol Testing, 20 years

Nicholson & Associates Drug and Alcohol Testing was started in 1995 by retired Nebraska State Patrol investigator David Nicholson and Col. Harold LeGrande.

The company conducts drug and alcohol testing for railroads, airlines, schools, city and county road departments, prison and correctional facilities, the University of Nebraska-Lincoln athletic department, trucking firms and manufacturing plants in Nebraska, Kansas, Minnesota, Iowa, Missouri and Colorado. The company also offers private investigation and polygraph exams for clients.

The business employs 23 Department of Transportation-certified technicians in eight Midwest states.

Havelock Social Hall, 20 years

The hall was founded in January 1995 at 4538 N. 62nd St. by Todd Corliss, Keith Blake, Craig Blake and Darren Blake. Corliss has been owner/manager since the beginning and held his first wedding reception in March 1995. Havelock Social Hall specializes in wedding receptions and also hosts holiday parties and many types of banquets. Havelock Social Hall has 11 employees with more than 80 years of combined service.

* That Tuning Guy, 20 years

Scott Kerns of Lincoln is celebrating 20 years of piano tuning and repair. He founded the business in 1995 and is its sole employee.

* Barber Bob Taylor, 20 years

Bob Taylor has been cutting hair for 20 years at the Veterans hospital in Lincoln. Taylor owned the downtown Clipper and El Toro barber shops and retired in 1992, but the hospital talked him into serving as a barber in 1995. Taylor was supposed to be there four weeks, but is celebrating his 66th year of cutting hair.

The 84-year-old plans to work six more years so his photo can join pictures on the wall of customers who got free haircuts on their 90th birthdays. Those who live to 100 don't have to pay thereafter. The shop is open Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays, 8 a.m. to noon, and Thursdays, 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Call 402-486-7918 for an appointment.

* Willet Construction, 20 years

Rick and Marcia Willet created Willet Construction in May 1995 with a goal of satisfying customers with top-quality craftsmanship and using top-quality materials. Willet Construction has 17 employees to create a “top-quality impression”.

Their firm offers complete design/build drawings in 3-dimensional viewing. Types of projects include whole house remodels, additions, siding replacement, window and door replacements, sunrooms, decks, kitchens, bathrooms, basement finishes, and garage additions. Willet Construction is Lincoln's only Preferred Remodeler trained and specialized in James Hardie Siding products. No project is too big or small.

* The Legacy, 20 years

The Legacy Retirement Communities started with a son, Jerry Joyce, searching for a retirement community for his mom. At the time, Joyce didn't find one good enough for his mom, so he built The Legacy. Since then, three more communities have been built. The four locations: The Legacy at 5600 Pioneers Boulevard; Legacy Estates, 7200 Van Dorn St.; Legacy Terrace, 5700 Fremont Ave.; The Arbors, 3777 N. 58th St.

* Paint Yourself Silly, 15 years

Paint Yourself Silly will celebrate 15 years of providing a creative outlet and place to celebrate in Lincoln this May. The Haymarket location opened in 2000 and a second location at 70th Street and Pioneers Boulevard in 2007.

The business offers pottery painting and glass fusing on a walk-in basis for people of all ages as well as parties, camps and classes. It carries hundreds of fun and functional pre-formed pottery pieces for people to paint and then pick up a week later, kiln-fired and food-safe.

Founded by Jenn Bassen, president and general manager, the business has 13 employees.

* Husker Headquarters, 15 years

Husker Headquarters celebrates 15 years as a retail shopping destination for Husker apparel and gifts. Cheyenne Hemphill is owner and founder of the family-owned, Lincoln-based retailer. The business opened at 1120 P St. on Sept. 23, 2000, and at 56th Street and Nebraska 2 in 2006. A north Lincoln store was added in 2010 near 27th and Superior, and a Gateway Mall store in 2014 inside Gateway Mall.

Today, the business has 15 employees and offers a complete line of merchandise at Husker Headquarters is proud to be the Lincoln’s Choice Award winner for three years in a row, voted “the best place to get Husker game apparel.”

* Moonlighter Searchlight Advertising, 15 years

The business specializes in outdoor searchlights at nighttime attractions by streaming a beam or beams of light into the dark sky. Big 60-inch carbon arc searchlights or smaller xenon arc searchlights attract people to special sales events, birthday parties, grand openings, special theater openings, etc. Lights represented the Twin Towers for Sept. 11 memorials in Lincoln. The Lincoln company is one of a few in a five-state region. It was founded by Steve Young, who is the chief electrician, mechanic, teamster, accountant and sole operator.

* Soy Accents Candle, 10 years

Soy Accents Candle Co. began its first full year of business in 2005. It was founded by and continues to be owned and operated by family members Angela Stueckrath, Dave Boatman and Diane Boatman in Lincoln.

Soy Accents Candle promotes a healthy environment and supports American agriculture. The owners spent six months researching products and hand-testing combinations of soy wax, fragrant oil, cotton wicks and jars. Labels on its regular line are mini pieces of artwork by a Nebraska artist. The business recently added aromatherapy products.

Order at, 402-890-3172, craft shows or Barb's Hallmark, 70th and Van Dorn streets.

* Authenticity, 10 years

Authenticity LLC is a design firm that specializes in residential projects. While the firm’s main focus is residential, founder, owner and architect Michelle Penn, AIA, has worked with many commercial clients over the years. Penn not only talks about sustainability, but has designed two Net Zero Homes and one Rainwater Passive home. Recently, the firm was awarded both “Best of Houzz” for design and “Best of Houzz” for customer satisfaction. These two awards are given to companies that exhibit the highest quality of portfolio design and client reviews.

*Dish Restaurant, 10 years

Dish Restaurant celebrates 10 years as one of Lincoln’s premier restaurants. Chef/owner Travis Green bought the downtown business at 1100 O St. from Monica McClanahan in March 2005.

Featuring American Continental fare, an extensive drink list and a comfortable atmosphere, Dish has become a staple of the Lincoln restaurant scene.

The tightknit and highly skilled staff of 20 is headed by Green, kitchen manager Jesus Martinez, sous chef Rachel McGill and front-of-house manager Marypat Heineman. Also doing excellent work are Rob Krumel, Mike Renfro, Kari Munsch, Keith Buswell, Oscar Aguirre, Andrea Audrey, Cecil, Donato, Betsy, Juana, Marco, Megan, Miranda, Samantha and Terra.

Open Monday through Saturday.

* Licorice International, 10 years

Licorice International is celebrating its 10th anniversary in Lincoln’s Historic Haymarket District. It moved to its present location Aug. 1, 2005.

The company was started in New York City and purchased by Ardith Stuertz and Elizabeth Erlandson -- The Licorice Ladies -- in 2002.

Licorice International offers more than 160 types of licorice from 12 countries and ships to customers throughout the United States and 24 other countries.

Special events planned to celebrate the anniversary include a two-day event in April for National Licorice Month and an open house in August. Tours are available. Call 402-488-2230.

* Tips & Toes Nail Spa, 5 years

The spa celebrated its anniversary by moving to a larger location at 3800 Old Cheney Road, Suite 103, in the Cheney Ridge Plaza. There are 10-plus nail technicians and owners Hanh "Cindy" Nguyen and her husband, Toan Tran.

The full-service spa is open Monday through Friday, 9:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.; Saturdays, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.; and Sundays, noon to 5 p.m. Lincoln's Choice Award winner in 2013.

On Facebook: Tips and Toes Nail Spa by Cindy

* Bryant Cosmetic Surgery, 5 years

Bryant Cosmetic Surgery is celebrating its fifth anniversary. After practicing as a board-certified plastic surgeon in Lincoln for 22 years, Dr. R. Samuel Bryant formed the company to provide specialized cosmetic surgery. By eliminating spa services and focusing on popular cosmetic surgery operations, the staff of three employees assures a personalized experience for each patient to determine the best approach for achieving their goals.

Bryant Cosmetic Surgery was selected for the 2014 Best of Lincoln Award in the Cosmetic Surgeons category by the Lincoln Award Program.

* Bridge to Better Living, 5 years

Bridge to Better Living was founded in 2010 by Mary Ann Stallings and is designed to remove the guesswork, frustration and time to find an independent, assisted, memory-assisted or longterm-care retirement community.

Three transition consultants provide individual consultations coupled with an extensive database, tours and comparisons to simplify the complex search and enable clients to make confident choices. Bridge to Better Living specializes in "Placement with Passion" in Lincoln, Omaha and surrounding communities. 

* Lincoln Yoga Center, 5 years

Lincoln Yoga Center and Register Yoga School will enter its fifth year in business this spring. Founder/director Sheila Palmquist opened the center in 2010 at 2127 Winthrop Road with three instructors and 200 students in 10 classes per week.

Today, the school has 30 instructors and 3,000 students in more than 40 classes a week. It has expanded from two studio spaces to four, and with the completion of this year's yoga teacher certification class in May, 42 teachers will have been trained at the center.

More than 100 teachers, social workers, mental health professionals, parents, etc., have been certified in Palmquist's Take 5 program, which helps children with behavior. Lincoln Yoga Center will take its yoga and Take 5 programs to city Parks and Rec camps for the third year this summer, helping more than 500 children manage stress and regulate their behavior.

* The Dryer Vent Dude Inc., 5 years

Steve Schwaller Jr. started The Dryer Vent Dude Inc. in 2010. He is a licensed journeyman in heating and air conditioning and said he noticed a need for inspecting, cleaning, maintaining and repairing dryer vents.

He is the only employee and said he enjoys the opportunity to personally meet all of his customers. The most difficult part of the business is educating the public on the importance of his service. The greatest reward is the customer’s satisfaction, he said.

Call 402-310-9530 or email

HJ Dance, 5 years

Owner/director Hilary Johnson founded the dance studio in 2010. HJ Dance offers ballet, tap, jazz, hip hop, contemporary, pointe, and LTL (leaps, turns, legs) classes for students 3 and older. The studio is home to the HJ Dance Company, which has won numerous regional and national awards. Johnson and her staff are passionate about dance. HJ Dance is in the Trade Center at 56th and Old Cheney.


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