Two Wohlner's stores now have two different owners - Omaha.com
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:

402-444-1142, janice.podsada@owh.com

Contact the writer: Janice Podsada

janice.podsada@owh.com    |   402-444-1142

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

Airbnb event seeks Omaha-area hosts for Berkshire weekend, CWS
USDA offers aid for disasters that have driven up beef prices
Union Pacific's profits withstand challenging weather
Program gets students with disabilities on the job, ready for future
Nebrasks health officials to advertise jobs via drive-thru
New tenant moves in at old Omar Baking
Applications for U.S. jobless aid edge up to 304,000
Nebraska Crossing Outlets stores, layout
Garbo’s Salon at Midtown Crossing to expand, add loft
New First Data Corp. board member is latest JPMorgan alum
$600 million job-training effort to focus on skill sets
Original Recipe or Extra Crispy? Don't be chicken! Wear your dinner to prom with a KFC corsage
In brief: Bitcoin exchange faces liquidation
Summer concerts to start May 30 at Shadow Lake Towne Center in Papillion
Fed survey sees growth across U.S.
Janet Yellen signals that interest rates will remain low
Special Mustang to honor pony car at 50
Spring planting off to slow start
Indoor play center Go Kids’ Gym opens at 120th and I
Community woodworking space Bench will move to warehouse at 12th and Nicholas
Stationery store set to open in Lincoln's Haymarket district
Jon Barker replaces Hayneedle co-founder Doug Nielsen as chief executive
Technology – including Google Glass – gets a try-on at Omaha Infotec conference
GROW Nebraska plans entrepreneurship conference
Google applies for patent for camera in contact lens
Deadline Deal thumbnail
The Jaipur in Rockbrook Village
Half Off Fine Indian Cuisine & Drinks! $15 for Dinner, or $7 for Lunch
Buy Now
< >
SPOTLIGHT »
Inside Business
To submit an announcement for "Inside Business", click here. For questions call (402) 444-1371 or e-mail announcements@owh.com.
WORLD-HERALD ALERTS »
Want to get World-Herald stories sent directly to your home or work computer? Sign up for Omaha.com'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 »