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Success Stories

When you talk to Sierra Arends, owner of Helium Salon, she’ll tell you that she was born to cut hair. By the time she was five years old she was dying her Barbie dolls’ hair with Kool Aid and giving them buzz cuts. When she turned 18, Arends attended Capital School of Hairstyling and Esthetics in Omaha, Nebraska. One week after graduating she took a position with Creative Hair Design where she was inspired by owner and mentor John Mangiameli.  Arends flourished at Creative Hair Designs and she soon realized that owning her own salon was the next step in her life’s journey.

To start a business takes hard work and flexibility, so Arends left Creative Hair Design after 4 ½ years to rent a chair at another Omaha salon in May 2014. Being self-employed gave her the flexibility she needed to seek out property for her own salon in her home town of Grand Island, NE. Arends has very fond memories of the small-town life in Nebraska. She vividly remembers talking with her mother about... Read More

Jim Glazer was looking for a change of pace.  After graduating from Duke University and then the University of Michigan with an MBA he spent a few years working in public accounting. But after a while he was, as he puts it, “looking for something a lot more fun.” He wanted the “opportunity to work with people, create solutions and make people’s lives better” because it’s a “lot more fun than messing around with numbers.”

That opportunity came about in 1991 for Jim, his father and his brother when they took ownership of Elliott Equipment Company. Elliott was started in Omaha, NE in 1948 by Richard Elliott. It supplied contractors with equipment to construct the electrical grid and interstate highway system after WWII. The company currently engineers and manufactures a variety of aerial work platforms, truck mounted cranes and digger derricks.

The Glazer family has successfully grown the company from 20 employees to 165 over 27 years of ownership. Elliott Equipment has... Read More

Maria Swenson and some of her staff at MLCS Family & Youth Services in Alliance on Red Nose Day, a worldwide campaign to raise money for children's causes

The sirens shattered the quiet of the small town in the Nebraska Panhandle, and the safe, assured feeling locals had -- that bad things happened in other places.  

News reports would tell of the gunman's spree which left his father dead; then, after failing to rob a downtown pharmacy, taking the pharmacist hostage during a 14-hour standoff, ending in a shootout with a SWAT team. That exchange left several law enforcement officers wounded and hospitalized, the pharmacist hurt, and the perpetrator dead. 

The town of Alliance reeled from the violence, but vowed to take their community back.

Maria Swenson vowed to do her part, one troubled youth at a time.

"I thought about how tragic the lives of some of our young people are," she said. "Some never get the help they need, whether it's for lack of services, lack of money or lack of knowledge of what's out there, or a lack of perception that they do need some help."

She'd just need an SBA Microloan to... Read More

Chef Doug Trammel (left) and owner Nick Bartholomew in the kitchen of Omaha's first chef-driven drive-thru restaurant.

His second-grade teacher once told him she thought he was either going to wind up behind bars, or wind up owning a city block. After a couple of career detours, the still-obstreperous Nick Bartholomew makes no apologies that he's well on his way to the latter, starting with the latest in locavore eating in Omaha's Millard neighborhood.

To think it took Bartholomew willing to chuck a career as a stockbroker at his father's firm and an SBA Lender Advantage loan approval to make it happen.

Bartholomew's idea, Over Easy, boasts a unique chef-driven menu packed with locally-sourced delectables for breakfast and lunch. Try the homemade Pop-Tart packed with plums and the house favorite, the herb biscuits and gravy whipped up with ingredients from area farms.  And then there's the inviting hash brown rounds with bacon, cheese and caramelized onions.

Better, diners on the go can pull up to the drive-thru window and watch the chef prepare his recipe of a farm fresh baked... Read More

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