Two Wohlner's stores now have two different owners -
Published Monday, January 7, 2013 at 6:00 am / Updated at 11:35 am
Two Wohlner's stores now have two different owners

Mike Schwartz, owner of Wohlner's Neighborhood Grocery and Deli, has sold the Wohlner's store at Aksarben Village and plans to focus on running the Wohlner's Midtown Crossing location.

Schwartz sold the Aksarben store to Rama Kilaru of Omaha for an undisclosed amount. The deal closed Dec. 21, Schwartz said.

Wohlner's is one of Omaha's oldest grocery operations, founded by Schwartz's grandfather, Albert Wohlner, in 1918.

Schwartz said he began mulling the idea of selling one of his stores a year ago.

“It's been hard concentrating on the two stores,” said Schwartz, 61.

In 2008, Schwartz moved the family grocery store from 5205 Leavenworth St., where it had been located since the 1930s, to Aksarben Village.

In 2010, he opened the Midtown Crossing location, just a few blocks from his grandfather's original store at 33rd and California Streets.

When it came time to decide which store he wanted to part with, the decision was fairly clear, Schwartz said. Each store is about 15,000 square feet.

“I always wanted to keep the Midtown Crossing store. It's always felt more like home for me. I worked on the store's design,” he said.

In addition, he said business at the store, at 33rd and Dodge Streets, was up 38 percent in 2012 over the year before.

Parking at that location is free, and there is plenty of it, he added.

Schwartz last August told The World-Herald that he hoped Aksarben Village's management would find a “solution to parking.” When events take place at the shopping center or nearby park, he said, it can be difficult for his would-be shoppers to find parking spaces outside his store.

The Aksarben store, he said, “wasn't performing the way I wanted it.”

Schwartz, who employs about 30 workers at the Midtown Crossing store, said he plans to concentrate on what he does best — “I've always been known for my meats, and I want to focus on that.”

Molly Skold, marketing director of Midtown Crossing, said she is thrilled with Schwartz's decision to focus on the Midtown location.

He plans to change the name of the Midtown Crossing store later this year. The family name will remain as part of the store's name, but he said he might include Midtown Crossing in the name.

As part of the deal, Kilaru kept the Wohlner's name and the 40 workers who are employed at the Aksarben store.

Kilaru ran a convenience store called Tobacco Junction, located at 90th Street and West Center Road, for several years until four years ago, and he has worked in IT consulting for 15 years.

He said in an interview that Wohlner's will remain a neighborhood market. The name will be the same, he said, but he plans to “completely transform the store.”

He already has ordered new shopping carts and plans to add a salad bar and soup counter.

“There are a lot of ideas I'm kicking around. I'm very excited to take over the store.”

Contact the writer:


Contact the writer: Janice Podsada    |   402-444-1142

Janice is a retail reporter for The World-Herald's Money section.

Lyft launches tonight in Omaha; police won't ticket drivers while service is free
Omaha senator seeks minimum wage ballot measure
Omaha's Straight Shot Accelerator announces companies in its 2nd class
Cabela's 1st-quarter sales down 21 percent as gun, ammo sales dip
Kelly: Started at a dining room table, Home Instead thriving at 20 with $1B in annual revenue
Hy-Vee opens its first Omaha Market Cafe
Omaha's Eppley Airfield sees increased demand — and that means more fare options for travelers
Construction to start in May on West Broadway apartment/retail structure
No 'bear' qualifies to ask Warren Buffett questions at this year's Berkshire meeting
Omahans start their workday earlier than most, at 7:48 a.m.
Omaha Hall of Fame inductees share stories of their lives in business
Warren Buffett says Coca-Cola pay plan 'excessive'
Earnings roundup: Apple plans more stock buybacks, will split stock in June
In brief: Postal workers to protest at Staples stores
'Main street' concept takes shape at Sterling Ridge
Nebraska Crossing Outlets stores, layout
OSHA: Union Pacific must reinstate worker who reported injuries suffered on job
West Corp.'s 1st-quarter profits up 33 percent
Stock market ‘not rigged,’ TD Ameritrade CEO says
First lady announcing one-stop job site for vets
Powdered alcohols no longer have label approvals
'We have a serious problem in Nebraska': PSC discusses concerns over Uber, Lyft
Recycle that old computer at free event
Proposed 5% hike in cab fares meets reluctant state transportation official
Secondhand shop-hop is this week
Deadline Deal thumbnail
7M Grill
Half Off Delicious Comfort Fusion Food & Drinks!
Buy Now
< >
Inside Business
To submit an announcement for "Inside Business", click here. For questions call (402) 444-1371 or e-mail
Want to get World-Herald stories sent directly to your home or work computer? Sign up for's News Alerts and you will receive e-mails with the day's top stories.
Can't find what you need? Click here for site map »