Big March OL!BA Announcement Unveiled


The brand-new logo & MaverickPR Firm designs were unveiled at Shop Local Omaha’s Local Independent Business Alliance’s (OL!BA) March 10th event. Donna Fiarkoski owner of the Joy in the Journey won the Public Service Announcement (PSA) drawing from Patrick Stibbs’ On the Spot Productions. Stay tuned to hear the PSA on the 101.9 air waves soon!

All Shop Local Omaha members and locally owned business were invited to attend. Thanks to Rick Fox and Julio’s West for hosting the festivities. If you missed the unveiling party on March 10th, click on the video link below for a recap.

Thanks to everybody who attended and keep spreading the word about Shop Local Omaha!


Local Business Alliance to Share ‘Big’ Announcements at March 10th Event

Study after study concludes on a dollar-for-dollar basis, the local economic impact of independently owned businesses is significantly greater than that of national chains. In short, one small purchase at a local, independent business can make an impact on that business – and the local economy. That’s the message Omaha Local Independent Business Alliance’s (OL!BA) Shop Local Omaha has worked to spread around the city for the last seven years.

The Shop Local Omaha initiative, which works to promote local, independent businesses, is looking to enlarge its membership and have an even stronger voice in the community. Their reach will go even farther thanks to the partnership with two community partners. Since its inception OL!BA has held monthly membership meetings, but a couple weeks from now, it will be hosting its most anticipated event ever.

Save The Date for March 10th

Save The Date for March 10th

Current members and local-owned independent businesses are invited to attend the Monday, March 10, meeting from 6 to 8 p.m. at Julio’s West, 2820 S. 123rd Court. At the event, see OLIBA’s Shop Local Omaha brand-new look for 2014, produced by UNO’s very own maverickpr; as well as get introduced to the new Big O radio marketing program available from On the Spot Productions.

“I’m very pleased to join OLIBA and Shop Local Omaha on March 10th,” says Patrick Stibbs, president of On the Spot Productions and on-air personality for The Big O 101.9, “I’ve been working with local businesses for almost 30 years, and I realize it’s getting tough and tougher for them to advertise. We’re excited to announce this marketing plan to make their ad dollars stretch to become more cost effective and successful – and the chance to network with other businesses!”

Also learn about the www.shoplocalomaha website, The Reader advertising campaigns and catch up on other 2014 promotions. Free snacks, drinks and drawings for free radio spots will be handed out. No R.S.V.P. required.

OL!BA’s Shop Local Omaha is made up of a core group of business owners and developed a four-fold mission:

• To educate the public about the importance of buying local,
• To promote the success of local, independent businesses,
• To encourage a “hometown” quality of life through diversity,
• And to advocate for local, independent businesses in media and government.

Ellen Scott, a founding board member and manager of the children’s department at The Bookworm, believes the organization has made progress in accomplishing its objectives during the last several years.

“I think there’s a lot more awareness of local independent businesses now,” she said.

OL!BA is an affiliate of the American Independent Business Alliance (AMIBA), which offers guidance and resources to independent business organizations.

Local business owners said they felt compelled to join OL!BA’s Shop Local Omaha primarily because of its mission to educate the public about the benefits of supporting local businesses.

The group meets once a month, publishes a monthly e-newsletter and maintains a social media presence on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest. It also regularly updates its website.

Any locally owned, independent business is welcome to join OL!BA for $75 per year. Dues go toward promotions and administrative fees. If you can’t attend the March 10th meeting, visit  for details.

Editor’s note: For interviews contact founding OL!BA Board Members:

-Ellen Scott, manager of the children’s department at The Bookworm, or 4o2.392.2877.

-Rick Fox, owner of Julio’s West, or (402) 330-2110.


Key Studies on Big-Box Retail & Independent Business:

~By Becky Bohan Brown, Shop Local Omaha | OL!BA communications coordinator and founder/blogger of population-we, LLC.

Curb Appeal Salon and Spa Celebrates 15 Years This February

No two words are more welcoming to hear than Happy Anniversary; especially, if you’re a locally-owned independent (indie) business. One of Shop Local Omaha’s Local Independent Business Alliance’s (OL!BA) very own, Curb Appeal Salon and Spa, celebrates a very special date this year. February 1st, 2014, marks the 15th Anniversary for when Curb Appeal Salon and Spa officially opened its doors at 518 S. 10th St. in Omaha.

Owner Troy Davis contributes his indie businesses success and longevity to embracing openness to change with the times and being fluid in a changing market.

Something that has changed a lot over the 15-years is hair trends. Davis shares with us two that will go down in the hairstyle hall of fame, if there was one that is. “I don’t know if it’s the strangest trend (as far as look), but the ‘Jennifer Aniston’ or ‘friends’ haircut made me want to drive off a bridge,” Davis said. “I think just because soooooo many people asked for it and wanted it. It was the last mega-trend. The closest thing since was Victory Beckam’s bob. But that didn’t even come close to Jennifer’s!”

ImageJust like their urban edgy mantra states, Curb Appeal Salon and Spa, does not always follow all fad spa treatments but strives to deliver their customers unlimited individual appeal. However, the business does fall prey to fads on occasion, one Davis explains: “We have never really followed spa trends…so there’s nothing in that department that we have offered that I regret. However, in the salon, I am really embarrassed by the feather trend. I sold the last of all of our feathers, along with all of the equipment, to my dog’s groomer. Who started implementing it her practice on dogs!”

He offers some heartfelt advice to budding entrepreneurs and other indie small business owners. He said, “My only advice is diligence and hard work! Opening and running your own business is one of the hardest things you can do in life. But, the most rewarding! If someone wants a crash course in confidence…open a business.”

Curb Appeal Salon and Spa will officially celebrate its anniversary on Feb. 1st by giving back to the customers who’ve supported the indie business these past years. They will offer facials, massages, manicures and spa services at a very reduced price. But Curb Appeal Salon and Spa didn’t stop there and will conduct a raffle giving away some $1,500 in products and services.

If in the market for a spa treatment Davis highly recommends: microdermabrasion and any YonKa facial. “They are the BEST! With the BEST results!” he said.

Davis also shares his view on why other Omahans should shop local. “Shopping local helps to support the local economy. Spending your money at a locally-owned business puts money in the hands of the people who live and shop in your community,” he said. “To me it’s a simple karmic law…what you put out comes back to you. You want to be successful in life and business? Spend you money on the people around you.”

For more information on Curb Appeal Salon and Spa, visit

~By Becky Bohan Brown, Shop Local Omaha | OL!BA communications coordinator and founder/blogger of population-we, LLC.

OL!BA’s Annual Shift Your Shopping Pledge Drive Under Way

ImageIt’s gift-giving time once again! As a gift-giver, nothing says you’ve nailed it more than witnessing a smile appear on your gift recipient’s face, when your present is unwrapped Christmas day. But what puts a smile on this buyer’s lips is knowing the gift was bought from a locally-owned business.

It’s hard to beat a gift that comes from your hometown; since, your purchase helps support a local, independent businesses as well as your own local economy. In a 1991 study, Patricia Frishkoff, a professor at Oregon State University, analyzed charitable giving by firm size. The Business Contributions to Community Service study found companies with fewer than 100 employees gave an average of $789 per employee in cash and in-kind donations, compared to $334 per employee at firms with more than 500 employees.

Join Shop Local Omaha | Omaha Local Independent Business Alliance (OL!BA) and more than 150 business networks and 40,000 locally owned businesses for the third annual grassroots holiday Buy Local campaign, Shift Your Shopping. Again this year, the Shift Your Shopping campaign is led in partnership with our national affiliate, the American Independent Business Alliance (AMIBA). OL!BA brings the campaign home to the Omaha metropolitan area.

“We’re excited for another year of Shift Your Shopping – the annual ‘Buy Local’ holiday campaign aimed at strengthening locally-owned and independent businesses in our community,” said Ellen Scott, founding Shop Local Omaha | OL!BA board member and The Bookworm participating merchant.

So, we are in agreement that local gifts are the best!

Given that fact, Shop Local Omaha | OL!BA encourages our family, friends and customers to participate in Shift Your Shopping Pledge Drive which has been extended through Christmas. Need some local gift-giving ideas? Read our previous blog posts below for some hometown gift ideas.

So, with your holiday wish list in hand–go shopping for the perfect holiday present and pledge to participate in Shift Your Shopping to a local independent business this year. Stop by our blog on one of those dates and leave a comment below. Tell us your favorite shop local gift to give. Those readers who participate will be entered into a drawing for gift cards from Shop Local Omaha | OL!BA merchants. Your name and email address must accompany your entry.

Still need some more holiday gift-giving ideas, check out our entire Shop Local Omaha | OL!BA directory listing at Most importantly, remember this holiday you can’t go wrong with a gift from a local indie business!

(Editor’s note: A full Shift Your Shopping OL!BA poster is available at this link for participating store owners to download.)

~By Becky Bohan Brown
Shop Local Omaha | OL!BA communications coordinator and founder/blogger of population-we, LLC.

Shopping Local: Baby Junk

Baby Junk is a fun little boutique store tucked away in Rockbrook Village (10915 Prairie Brook Road), where shoppers can find baby supplies and support the local economy simultaneously. According to their Facebook page, they provide products that help parents “nurture babies naturally.” A lot of friends have told me about this store, and I was eager to give it a try. I headed over to pick up a toy for my baby girl, who will be arriving in about a month.


If you are interested in cloth diapering, Baby Junk is a great store to check out. They have a huge wall filled with colorful, modern cloth diapers. You can find specialty diaper detergent, wipes and accessories there, too. They consign used diapers for those who are looking for less expensive options, or want to try cloth diapering without making a big financial commitment. If you want to cloth diaper your child without washing the diapers yourself, they also have a diaper service.


Additionally, the store carries clothing, high-quality toys, breastfeeding supplies (including nursing bras), furniture, slings, baby carriers, natural medicines and other unique items. I picked up one of these popular toys and have hidden it away for my baby girl’s Christmas present.


I loved their mod furniture, including this awesome orange gliding chair. 


The great thing about this store is their knowledgeable workers. They can help customers get fitted for post-partum gear, choose the right brand of diapers, and pick out the perfect gift. They also offer a variety of classes, including Cloth Diapering 101 and Solutions for Baby Colic. If you don’t have time to go to Rockbrook Village, you can shop through their website as well. They even have an online baby registry option.

I will be back, Baby Junk! And if you have a baby or know someone who does (or will), you should head there, too.

Editor’s note: The people at Baby Junk do not know who I am, and they did not provide me with any compensation for this post. I just enjoy shopping there. For more information about local, independent businesses, visit

Shopping local: Bigwheels 2 Butterflys

I have two lovely little girls who are growing like weeds, and clothing them affordably can be a challenge. While bargain hunting, I have discovered that I can get awesome deals on clothes without having to turn to chain retailers. Consignment retailer Bigwheels 2 Butterflys has become my favorite source of girls’ clothing during the last year or two.


Bigwheels 2 Butterflys is a locally-owned retailer with two main locations in the Omaha area: one on 72nd Street and Highway 370 and the other on 168th and West Maple Road. They will be opening a third location at 132nd and West Center Road in the coming months. They also have a maternity store next to their regular location on 72nd and Highway 370, and a B2B Last Chance store across 72nd Street, where they sell closeout items for 99 cents each. Those who wish to get rid of some of their gently-used children’s clothing, furniture, and toys can sell their items to Bigwheels 2 Butterflys for cash or store credit. My older daughter was able to save up some money by picking out toys she no longer used and taking them in to exchange for cash.


Unlike thrift stores, Bigwheels 2 Butterflys is fairly choosy about what items they sell, and they inspect their inventory to make sure their offerings aren’t worn out or stained. I try to stop into one of the stores whenever I am in the neighborhood. Inventory changes daily, and I have scored some great deals. I have found like-new clothing items from retailers like Gap, Old Navy, Gymboree, The Children’s Place, and OshKosh. They have cute little girl leggings for $1.50-$2.50, girls shirts for $2+, dresses for $4+, and shoes for $2+. There’s also dance wear (I recently found my older daughter some tap shoes for about $5), winter coats, and Halloween costumes.

Aside from clothes, they sell lots of baby toys and equipment, such as nursing covers, strollers, potty chairs, bouncers, bottles, sheets, etc. During the last few months I have been able to find some great toys and books that I have hidden away for Christmas presents. Some of the items are even new and in their original packaging.


So if you’re looking to find your children nice clothes for less, try straying away from the chains and give Bigwheels 2 Butterflys a try. Support your local businesses!

Editor’s note: Bigwheels 2 Butterflys does not know who I am, and they did not provide me with any compensation for this post. I just enjoy shopping there!

Shopping local: Village Pointe Farmers Market

I love the farmers market, and, unfortunately, I don’t get there as often as I would like during the summer and fall. When I do head out to buy some farm-fresh produce and other local items, I typically go to the downtown farmers market on Saturday mornings. I’ve heard lots of good things about the Village Pointe Farmers Market, though, so a few weekends ago I went out west instead.


The farmers market is set up on the south side of Village Pointe shopping center (168th and W Dodge Road), where there is parking galore. My kids and I walked across the street to the market, which is smaller than the Downtown version. We were greeted by stands filled with fresh flowers, fruits, and veggies. There’s also dairy and eggs, meat products and honey.

The Village Pointe Farmers Market tends to focus strictly on produce and other fresh food. There are some mixes for soups and baked goods, but that’s pretty much all. We didn’t find toys, crafts, and other items like we would have at the downtown market. But that was alright for us. We were just visiting the farmer’s market before hitting the grocery store, so we were focused on food. It was great to chat with the farmers, and the market didn’t seemed rushed or overcrowded.


In the end, we made off with lots of goodies: cucumbers, zucchini, fresh raspberries, free-range eggs, some gift items for our family, bell peppers, corn on the cob, peaches, onions, and dill. You can look at all of the market’s offerings here:


I will definitely head back out to the Village Pointe Farmers Market again in the near future, and you should check it out, too. It doesn’t get much more local than that!

Editor’s note: The people at the Village Pointe Farmers Market don’t know who I am, and I did not receive any compensation from them for this post. I just like shopping there!