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.

 


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.


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!

bouquet-food

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.


A Blue Sky View on BB Riverboats

March 30, 2016

stadium-slide

A Family-Run Business Celebrated as our OMEGA MVP

When Ben Bernstein found out a local Covington, Kentucky, restaurant was going to be moved to New Orleans, he knew something had to be done. You see, the Mike Fink Restaurant was no ordinary restaurant—it was on an old steamboat. In 1977, Mr. Bernstein ultimately purchased the Mike Fink and coined the motto, “The Romance of Riverboat Dining”.

There was, however, one problem. With the arrival of the new motto mixed with the restaurant being located on an old steamboat, customers began to think that the Mike Fink was a working steamboat that would go out on the river for cruises. For Ben, though, BBRB-logothe answer was simple. And in 1979, BB Riverboats was formed and preparing to start its new journey of river cruises.

From wedding and rehearsal dinners, corporate events and romantic moonlit charters to experiencing Cincinnati with historic sightseeing cruises and even princess and super hero cruises for the kids, BB Riverboats has it all. And you can expect the best in all aspects. “We were a restaurant family which got into the riverboat business,” said Ben Bernstein, the grandson of original owner Ben Bernstein and third generation of Bernsteins to work for BB Riverboats. “Boat cruises are not known around the country for having good food…I think people come back year after year because the product is something that you can enjoy time after time.”

This small, family-run business looks to be anything but small. “Our Belle of Cincinnati is the largest excursion boat on the Ohio River that most people assume we have a corporate entity driving!” Ben said. They participate in festivals from Louisville to Charleston and are setting out to do a five-day trip for guests to travel all the way to Pittsburgh by steamboat!

When it comes to BB Riverboat Cruises, there’s never a bad time to go. “My favorite part is all the stunning sights that you will see. An early fall morning with a coat of surface fog on the river. Or an evening sunset over the hills of Cincinnati. Maybe just a perfect blue sky afternoon with boaters and baseball being played on the river. Even storms and bad weather are impressive to see from this perspective.”

So whether you’re in search for romance, a celebration, or a fun day with family and friends, be sure to put BB Riverboats at the top of your list. Their main Newport Landing Dock is located at 101 Riverboat Row, Newport, Kentucky. Check out their website for times, reservations, and special events and go book your BB Riverboat Cruise, today!

MVP LOGO

The OMEGA MVP program was organized to help recognize, celebrate and promote the Merchants, Vendors and Partners of OMEGA Processing Solutions. BB Riverboat has been an OMEGA merchant since 2004.


How to Change with the Times – OMEGA MVP Porter’s Digital Cameras and Imaging

September 10, 2012

With roots as a portrait studio in Cedar Falls, Iowa, Porter’s Camera has been helping photo professionals and hobbyists share their art for nearly a century. And Porter’s has been changing with the times ever since.

For a large part of its history, Porter’s specialized in darkroom supplies and photo processing chemicals. Then came the digital age, and with it, the shrinking darkroom supply market. Faced with an evolving marketplace, Porter’s did just that – evolved!

Porter’s has expanded their retail store and website presence in recent years. They offer thousands of photo and video products, including a network of over 200 manufacturers, distributors and other vendors. This enables Porter’s clientele of serious hobbyists, professionals and casual users the ability to find those hard-to-find products, as well as popular favorites.

“Customers are able to come to the store to touch and test the equipment,” says Joe Schmitt, who is part of Porter’s ownership group. “This is especially helpful with the higher-end cameras and accessories, such as lights and filters.”

Combine that in-store experience with their knowledgeable sales representatives, and it makes for a successful recipe. Sales staff continually stay abreast of industry trends and products offerings, which gives them the knowledge to “dig below the surface” so to speak and determine what best fits the customers’ needs.

Congratulations to OMEGA MVP Porter’s Digital Cameras and Imaging on helping us share and preserve our history through photos for nearly 100 years.

The OMEGA MVP program was organized to help recognize, celebrate and promote the merchants, vendors and partners of OMEGA Processing Solutions. Porters Digital Cameras and Imaging has been an OMEGA merchant since 2010.


Fun Atmosphere, Great Patio, Cheap Drinks – Bart’s On York Celebrated as OMEGA MVP

August 13, 2012

Looking for a relaxed, casual atmosphere where you can enjoy drinks, music and entertainment – and not break the bank? Look no further than Bart’s on York in Newport, Kentucky, where a good time is yours for the taking.

Celebrating its 15th year in business, Bart’s boasts daily happy hours and weekly events, including Ladies’ Nights on Thursdays and Men’s Nights on Wednesdays. Yes, owner Julie Harmon wanted to give a shout-out to the men as well, so they get their own night at Barts. Ten dollar buckets of beer and shot specials are also available daily.

Located just across the Ohio River from downtown Cincinnati, Bart’s is a perfect place to celebrate before, during or after NFL and MLB games. Its huge patio (complete with cornhole sets) is great for enjoying a drink outdoors. When it’s too hot (or cold outside), you can also find a variety of indoor entertainment options, with darts, pool tables and video games.

Bart’s on York is open from 3 p.m.-2:30 a.m., Monday through Friday and 5 p.m.-2:30 a.m. on Saturdays and Sundays. They are  located at 323 York Street, just a block from Newport on the Levee. Check out their Facebook page for special events and daily specials, and go have a drink at Bart’s. Tell them OMEGA Processing sent you!

The OMEGA MVP program was organized to help recognize, celebrate and promote the merchants, vendors and partners of OMEGA Processing Solutions. Bart’s on York has been an OMEGA merchant since March 2007.