70 Years of Scandinavian Heritage

November 15, 2017

The Gift Box Celebrates an Anniversary–We Celebrate it as Our OMEGA MVP

Gift Box Glögg

Where did I come from? What were my ancestors like? How can I connect with my genealogical roots?

America is a melting pot. In a time where just about everything is produced to the masses, finding unique, authentic items can seem like no easy task. For one shop in Geneva, Illinois, they’ve spent the past 70 years providing a wide range of Scandinavian giftware both locally, and across the States.

The daughter of Swedish immigrants, Edythe Anderson had a dream to open a store that would sell all the Scandinavian items she had loved so much. After years of saving and the end of WWII, Edythe was able to open her store. The Gift Box was established in 1947.

“The Chicagoland area attracted a very large population of Scandinavian immigrants beginning in the 1800’s,” Hans Jönsson, co-owner of The Gift Box said. “A large amount of them settled in the suburbs, particularly in the Fox River Valley.” And that’s just where Gift Box Lennarthis father ended up after emigrating from southern Sweden.

Lennart Jönsson began working at The Gift Box in 1954 and he was immediately an asset. His passion and expertise of Scandinavia and giftware mixed with his ability to connect with anyone he met made Lennart not only beloved, but the obvious choice when it came to time for Edythe to retire. Lennart took control of The Gift Box in 1984 where he continued to help the business grow and thrive.

To the people in Geneva, Lennart was known as the “Swedish Ambassador” of culture and tradition. To his children, Hans and Maria Jönsson, he was simply known as dad. “Dad had so many great stories about his life in Sweden,” Hans said. “We traveled back home dozens of times together, and he has definitely passed his passion on to us.” When Lennart passed away in 2013, Hans and Maria had two options. Hang an ‘out of business’ sign, or keep the legacy alive. Of course the decision was simple.

“When The Gift Box opened in 1947, there were many Swedish owned businesses in Geneva. Ours is the last one that remains.”

Now a ‘jewel’ in Geneva, The Gift Box has become the Fox Valley’s headquarters for authentic Scandinavian gifts and food. They’ve even outlasted dozens of Swedish owned businesses that were once spread throughout Chicago.

It doesn’t matter what you’re looking for because The Gift Box just about has it all. Items are imported from Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Finland and Iceland. Swedish Gift Box Me2handcrafts, wood carvings, ornaments, and candleholders are just among the few fan favorites. Hans still spends much of his time traveling in Sweden looking for antiques and new products to bring back, just as he did with his father.

Another customer favorite is the food. “As all of the Swedish Delicatessens in Chicago have now closed, many people know they can get everything they need for their Swedish Smorgasbord at our store,” Hans said. They have everything from Swedish ham, lutefisk, herring, lingonberries and more!

This week, The Gift Box is celebrating 70 years in business with their 70th Anniversary Sale! The celebration sale began  last Saturday, November 11 and runs through Wednesday, November 22. While you cannot buy directly through their website just yet (upcoming plans for 2018!), you can phone in your orders directly for purchase.


The Gift Box is open 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m., Monday through Saturday and 11:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. on Sundays. They are located at 310 West State Street, Geneva, Illinois 60134. Check out some samples of what they sell at their website, keep updated with items and events through their Facebook Page, or stop on by for a total “in store experience” and to get back to your Scandinavian roots!

MVP logo

The OMEGA MVP program was organized to help recognize, celebrate and promote the merchants, vendors and partners of OMEGA Processing Solutions. The Gift Box has been an OMEGA merchant since September 2015.

 


The History You Crave. The Convenience You Need.

October 25, 2017

Kirkwood Inn Celebrated as OMEGA MVP

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Nestled between Mason and Lebanon in Southwestern Ohio, you’ll discover the enchanting inn and centuries old colonial home that is Kirkwood Inn. This charming country inn, along with the on-site Kirkwood House offer a historic atmosphere, scenic landscapings and updated personal accommodations as a charming alternative to the everyday hotel chains.

Family owned and operated since 2002, Sandra and David Eves opened Kirkwood Inn after recognizing the home’s historical significance. They transformed the on-site 1970s-style roadside motel into a fully renovated 48-room country inn. Each morning, guests are treated to a complimentary breakfast buffet in the Historic Kirkwood House.

kirkwood-inn-mason-ohio-3Built in 1799, Associate Judge Jacob D. Lowe opened his two story, colonial home as a farmhouse inn to accommodate travelers. The inn quickly became a routine stopping point for politicians like Congressman Henry Clay, traveling to and from Washington D.C.  Soon after, Postmaster William Kirkwood opened a post office at the farmhouse, saving locals a half day trip to pick up mail, and sealing the home’s spot in history.

Today, the Eves continue to restore many of the home’s original features, keeping the authenticity alive, yet updating to modern conveniences.

“The Inn is a wonderful family-owned alternative to large hotel chains,” Sandra Eves, owner of Kirkwood Inn said. “Where travelers seeking comfort, value and a historical atmosphere can come and enjoy their stay.”

Step outdoors to find six acres of scenic landscapekirkwood inn new-gazebo-couple where guests can stroll, sit, eat, or just be. Whether at their seasonal pool or brick patio, or at a covered picnic table or white gazebo, Kirkwood Inn’s park-like grounds are filled with places to go. Throughout their gardens and trails, you’ll find a wide variety of flowers and wildlife.

Whether you’re looking for a wedding venue, taking a family trip to Kings Island (just 2 ½ miles away!), or are in need of a couples getaway, Kirkwood Inn is one vacation you’ll never forget.

Kirkwood Inn has been the recipient of the TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence award since 2013. For more information on events, reservations or local attractions, visit www.kirkwoodinn.com or connect on Facebook for photos and updates. Kirkwood Inn is located at 4027 U.S. 42, Mason , Ohio 45040.

MVP LOGO

The OMEGA MVP program was organized to help recognize, celebrate and promote the Merchants, Vendors and Partners of OMEGA Processing Solutions. Kirkwood Inn has been an OMEGA merchant since March 2005.


Covington Partners: Mentoring ONE Student, Changing TWO Lives

August 23, 2017

OMEGA MVP Making a Difference for Years to Come

Covington Partners Summer Program 2

“Children are apt to live up to what you believe of them.” – Lady Bird Johnson

We’ve heard it said time after time–children are the future. But have you stopped to wonder just what we are doing to ensure that their (and our) future is bright? For one Covington, Kentucky organization, they’ve made the success of the local children and teens a priority from day one.

In 1999, the Covington community recognized that youth substance abuse and violence were becoming a problem that the schools could not address alone. At that time, Dr. Janice Wilkerson formed a cross-sector coalition to address these topics and Covington Partners in Prevention opened its’ doors.

Their Vision: Covington Partners envisions a future in which all Covington children realize the promise of their full potential.

It didn’t take long for the community to see the benefit of this work, lending more and more support from not just Covington, but the whole Northern Kentucky area. From businesses to schools, law enforcement entities and healthcare professionals, it was clear the success of the youth plays a direct role in the success of the region.

By 2001, Covington Partners in Prevention began a variety of mentoring programs, promoting mental and physical health, family strengthening, and staff training and support. In 2004, the organization became a registered 501 (c) 3 organization and by 2008, their name was officially changed to simply and inclusively, Covington Partners.

“While many youth serving organizations specialize in one activity or program areal, Covington Partners supports the whole child,” said Tom Haggard, Resource Development Coordinator at Covington Partners. “We know our students can achieve anything but they sometimes have barriers standing in their way. Our job is to help remove those barriers through programs designed to support academic achievement, youth development and family and community engagement.”

Covington Partners

Covington Partners programs includes before school, after school and summer learning out-of-school time programs, their one-on-one mentoring programs, a number of wellness initiatives and family engagement activities, and the Leadership and Resiliency Program (LRP).

Mentoring

If you think Covington Partners will simply change the lives of the children, think again. In fact, the tagline of their mentoring program is ‘mentor ONE student, change TWO lives’. Whether it’s playing a game, filling out college applications, lending some advice or simply sharing a laugh, it’s easy to see the positive impact each mentor has with their student—but that impact goes both ways. “Any adult who has been through our mentoring program will tell you that they learn just as much, if not more than the student,” Tom said. “Lasting relationships are built, each unique and special in its own way.”

These relationships are highly impactful on students’ school attendance, behavior, and academic achievement.

Prevention

Another incredibly successful program Covington Partners offers is their Leadership and Resilience Program (LRP). LRP is an intensive substance abuse prevention program designed for ‘at risk’ adolescents and teens. The program consists of resiliency groups, community volunteer experiences, and adventure learning and focuses on three main areas: goal setting, positive coping skills, and healthy relationships. LRP works with short term goals, such as reduced school behavioral incidents, as well as long term goals like reduced substance usage and high school graduation/college enrollment or employment.

The success is all in the numbers. With a 95.6% retention rate, 100% of LRP participants have graduated or are on track to graduate high school. Even more, 99.2% of LRP Seniors have enrolled in a post-secondary institution or the military.

For Tom Haggard, there’s one moment each year he holds especially close—Graduation Day. “You watch student after student walk across that stage to get their diploma and know that the work we do each day has touched their life. The work that we do matters.”

Covington Partners Mission: Covington Partners works every day to keep our community moving forward by eliminating boundaries to learning and success. Through innovation and collaboration, we create safe and engaging environments for our students and families to learn and grow.

Covington Partners Values: We believe our students have the potential for greatness. We create safe and engaging learning environments. We believe that learning has no boundaries. We believe with the unwavering support of schools, families and the community, our students will succeed.

Get involved! To find out how you can join, mentor, or donate, go to their ‘Get Involved’ information section. Learn more about Covington Partners by visiting their website and liking them on Facebook. Covington Partners is located at 257 Pike Street, Covington, KY 41011.

MVP LOGO

The OMEGA MVP program was organized to help recognize, celebrate and promote the Merchants, Vendors and Partners of OMEGA Processing Solutions. Covington Partners has been an OMEGA merchant since 2013.


So Much More Than a Music Store

May 17, 2017

Third Rock Music Center Rocks as our Latest OMEGA MVP

For some, the loss of a job can bring an uncertainty of what comes next, but for Gregg Gammon and Tony Colwell, that question never even crossed their mind.

TRMC Acoustic Aquarium

When a change in business strategies eliminated Gregg and Tony’s positions at their previous employers back in June of 2015, the two men, along with Gregg’s wife, Angela, decided it was time to take a leap of faith. They knew they wanted to continue servicing the local musical needs in Cincinnati, Ohio and just one month later, Third Rock Music Center opened its doors.

Third Rock Music Center offers the highest quality instruments and sound systems the industry offers, as well as, one on one lessons with the best teachers in Cincinnati. And while the quality of services they provide is always top of the line, what really sets TRMC apart is the vibe—the feeling you get when you walk through the door. “Did you ever see the show ‘Friends’?” Angela asked, “Many customers come in and sit around the counter just hanging out. Sometimes an impromptu jam session breaks out. It’s upbeat and energetic. Constant smiling and laughing—it’s absolutely beautiful!”

As for the aesthetic, almost all of the materials have been repurposed, making your creative energy pour out. Old doors became counters. A racquetball court is now a glass wall. And the drumstick holder? That use to be a mail sorter from an insane asylum!TRMC FoundingFathers

It doesn’t take long to see the obvious passion the owners have to providing expert support to the local music community. With over 60+ years in this industry, Gregg and Tony really do love sharing their knowledge and expertise with their customers.

“We want to be small and local so that we can respond quickly with expert advice to support YOUR musical interest and needs.”

Hosting two-four music events monthly, from benefit concerts to educational product days, TRMC goes above and beyond in providing Cincinnati musicians with the tools to express and further their artistic passions. “We are so much more than a music store,” Angela said. “From the first day we opened, we pledged that our store, and especially the stage, would be used as a platform for promoting local talent and events.”

Along with hosting events, Third Rock Music also offers customizable Audio Visual installations for churches, schools, and commercial buildings, allowing the local students and community members to have the proper resources they need in taking part in the creative arts world.

Whether your child is starting their first music lesson, you’re ready to try a new instrument, or you just need tuning up your guitar, Third Rock Music Center has everything to suite your musical needs. Visit their website, check out their Facebook, or stop on in to see all TRMC has to offer. They are located at 1232 8 Mile Rd, Cincinnati, Ohio 45255.

MVP LOGO

The OMEGA MVP program was organized to help recognize, celebrate and promote the Merchants, Vendors and Partners of OMEGA Processing Solutions. Third Rock Music Center has been an OMEGA merchant since 2015.


Bringing Hope to Patients and Families

February 15, 2017

Gems of Hope recognized as OMEGA MVP

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When nine-year-old, Tory saw her mother struggling with her cancer treatment, she knew there had to be some way she could help. Day after day, Tory wrote notes of encouragement, leaving them for her mom, Sheila, to find. gems-of-hope-foundersTory also accompanied her mom to art therapy classes, where the two spent the day creating their own works of art. The hope, love and support Sheila experienced inspired her to create an organization to spread this feeling with others. Along with her two friends, Beth Hammell and Cindy Sale, Sheila began developing Gems of Hope, a nonprofit organization based out of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, that gifts jewelry on inspirational cards to cancer patients.

“Gems of Hope promotes what Medical Research now supports: developing one’s spirituality can encourage feelings of optimism and hope and, thus, healing.”

Gems of Hope has been volunteer driven from the beginning. The process begins in the ‘workshops’ where volunteers come to create all of the handcrafted cards and jewelry. From there, the gifts are sent back to the main office where even more volunteers package and deliver the items to the hospitals and clinics.

“Being a part of the process is very uplifting for all involved,” Norah Hammond, Executive Director of Gems of Hope said. “Volunteers and recipients alike get true enjoyment—it’s the idea that people who don’t even know you but wish you well during your cancer journey that really moves a patient and offers hope.”

Along with giving inspiration to cancer patients, Gems support vehicles reach out to family and friends of all ages with loved ones affected by cancer. ‘What About Us?’ helps children identify and cope with their feelings when someone has been diagnosed with cancer, while ‘Cancer Really Sucks’ is a website designed by teenagers for teenagers where questions can be answered and stories can be shared. There are also libraries, scholarships, and various programs designed to assist with teaching families to cope.

Gems of Hope is truly based off the motivating power of faith, family and friends. It is not just medicine that heals you, it’s the feeling of support from those around you.

“Gems of Hope reminds patients, and others too, that hope must never be lost,” Norah Hammond said. “And when all else fails, give thanks. Those are thoughts that everyone can carry with them.”

To volunteer or get involved, donate, or join the program visit their website or call 319.393.9681. Gems of Hope is located at 420 6th St SE Suite 140, Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401.

MVP LOGO

The OMEGA MVP program was organized to help recognize, celebrate and promote the Merchants, Vendors and Partners of OMEGA Processing Solutions. Gems of Hope has been an OMEGA merchant since 2014.


Discover Something New at Bouquet Restaurant

November 16, 2016

Local Hidden Gem as OMEGA’s Latest MVP

bouquetFrom cuisine to atmosphere, finding a suitable restaurant for date night can be exhausting. We think we have found the perfect solution for you, though it may not be where you think.

Across the Ohio River from Cincinnati lies the energetic, bustling city of Covington, home of Mainstrasse Village, a beautifully unique area filled with shops, bars, bridal stores and tattoo parlors. It’s in this area that you will find Bouquet Restaurant, nestled away for your every date night need.

“It’s a fine-dining atmosphere, tucked away in an intimate, romantic setting,” Bouquet’s chef and owner, Stephen Williams said. “We’ve often been called the ‘hidden gem,’ and though word has spread, I think people feel like they are discovering something new when they dine with us.”

Chef Williams, a Kentucky native, has spent years in the Cincinnati bouquet-chef-stephenarea, earning his degree from This Midwest Culinary Institute and working with chef with all different types of culinary backgrounds. When he decided to open his own restaurant in 2007, Williams was able to bring all types of facets into his ever changing menu.

And what makes Bouquet even more unique? They are extremely dedicated to having farm-to-table food. “We have these long-standing partnerships with local farmers and producers,” Chef Williams said, “so we’re able to continue to build seasonal menus based on what’s available here locally.” Each time you dine with Bouquet, you can bet your meal will be prepared with the freshest, most hi-quality ingredients around town.

Whether you’re in search of a French inspired meal, something with an Asian influence, or just some good old Southern American food, you can be sure Chef Williams has a dish for that. With a menu that changes almost weekly, and a wine list to match, you’ll find yourself hard-pressed to outdo this spot.

It’s not just us who think so, either! With a running list of recognitions, reviews, and awards, Bouquet Restaurant was named by Business Insider’s “The Best Restaurant in Every State” as the best restaurant in Kentucky. Even more, they have spent the past six years running in Cincinnati Magazine’s “Best Restaurants in Cincinnati”, this year being the only Kentucky establishment included!

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Come celebrate a special event, enjoy a romantic date night, or simply have a fun evening with your friends with dinner and drinks at Bouquet. They also provide private parties on their second floor, which includes party planning, chef preparation, music of your choice, votive candle treatments, and a beautiful dining room.

Bouquet Restaurant is open for lunch Monday through Friday from 11a.m. – 2 p.m. and are open for dinner Monday through Thursday from 5 p.m. – 10 p.m. and Friday and Saturday 5 p.m. – 1 a.m. They are located at 519 Main Street, Covington, Kentucky 41011. For more information on Bouquet, visit their website or call 859.491.7777.

MVP LOGO

The OMEGA MVP program was organized to help recognize, celebrate and promote the merchants, vendors and partners of OMEGA Processing Solutions. Bouquet Restaurant has been an OMEGA Processing Solutions merchant since 2007.


Giving a New Perception on Special Needs Services

October 7, 2016

Northern Kentucky’s New Perceptions Recognized as OMEGA MVPnew-perceptions-logo

When parents in Northern Kentucky began to look more closely at the care opportunities for their special needs children, they realized how few options they really had. Something needed to change. That’s why when a local radio station conducted a series of individual interviews with national and local leaders from Councils for Retarded Children, parents in the area had an overwhelming response when asked about their interests in organizing school. In 1952, a group of 50 parents met, established a Board of Directors, incorporated the Northern Kentucky Council for Retarded Children and began Riverside School.

As Riverside School began to grow and merge with likeminded schools in the area, they were able to expand the community they served. The 1960’s saw major growth in services for both children and adults. Riverside began offering classes for students K-12, had home-based services that include families in this developmental process, and continued to help adults grow within their employment programs. After two decades of growth, the organization’s name was changed to better reflect how far it had come, its expanded services, and overall mission: New Perceptions.

New Perceptions now assists more than 750 individuals in Northern Kentucky, providing children and adults with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities the services they need to reach their maximum potential.

“Every day New Perceptions is bustling with activity,” Emily Prabell, New Perceptions Director of Development & Community Relations said. “The atmosphere is jovial and contagious. With 150 smiling and motivated participants on-site each day, you cannot help being inspired by our participants’ happiness and energy.”

Whether the participants are in the Learning Center engaging in classroom-style courses, having therapists visit their homes to provide occupational, speech, and physical therapy services, or out in the community workforce experiencing work, social, and life skills, the participants of New Perceptions spend each day growing to meet their full potential.

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At New Perceptions, it is not just the participants who get something out of it. For the caregivers, there is nothing better than working alongside of them. “Whether it’s an everyday interaction or witnessing an individual accomplishing something they didn’t think possible, they are our motivation and inspiration,” Emily said. “A young woman longing to live on her own entered our Learning Center program in 2015–her parents were concerned about her ability to do things on her own. In less than a year she was completing recipes on her own, was counting the value of money, and making a budget for shopping! She has progressed so much that she has a job in our Work Center and is working with our Supported Employment team toward getting a job in the community. We are so proud of her!”

Are you looking to get involved? New Perception offers multiple ways to volunteer, donate or become a sponsor. Whether it’s sending in clothes, baking goods, or any of the various household items on their wish list/needs, becoming a sponsor for their many fundraising events, or volunteering your talents to benefit the participants, New Perceptions will always be an inspiring organization worth every ounce of help given.

New Perceptions Mission: To promote the welfare of children and adults with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities (and their families) by providing opportunities for education, growth and employment in a normalized setting, in order to facilitate each individual’s achievement to their maximum potential.

New Perceptions Vision: Set the standard as the preferred provider and premier information referral source for adult and infant/toddler services for individuals with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities.

New Perceptions encourages people to arrange a tour of their facility. Come see for yourself how happy and engaged their participants are in their work and activities. We guarantee that you will not leave without a smile!

For more information, stories, employment opportunities, and donations, visit their website or call 859.344.9322. They are located at 1 Sperti Drive, Edgewood, KY 41017.

MVP LOGO

The OMEGA MVP program was organized to help recognize, celebrate and promote the Merchants, Vendors and Partners of OMEGA Processing Solutions. New Perceptions has been an OMEGA merchant since February 2009.