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Anne Burkholder


If you peek your head into Anne Burkholder’s studio, you’ll most likely see her hunched over her latest rural Nebraska landscape.

Inspiration for her paintings is derived from her childhood spent in the Sandhills, as well as frequent trips to remote locations across the great plains.

When I’m painting the skies, I’m just basically in that space. You know, if I’m painting a landscape I’m standing there in that field of grass or on that hill looking across the valley – it’s a really peaceful feeling for me,” Burkholder said.

But if you’re starting to get the idea that Ms. Burkholder is a soft-spoken wallflower then you’ve got it all wrong.

Anne’s life is marked by international backpacking trips, whimsical folk art and efforts to cultivate a thriving art culture in Lincoln.

In 1987 Anne sold nearly everything she owned to buy a run-down building in the Haymarket.

“It was really important for me that there be a community of artists, because as I was talking to other artists they needed to also get out of their kitchens and attics and garages, and have a space where they could do their art,” she said.

At the time, this area was dingy – to put it mildly – but Anne was determined to establish a space where artists from every background could work and display their art.

She was one of the major players in establishing Lincoln’s First Friday art walks in 1988 after visiting similar events in Minneapolis and Kansas City.

After almost 40 years, Anne still mingles among the guests that filter in and out of her gallery every First Friday. She smiles and nods at old friends, artists and patrons as she sits back and watches her once dreamed-up gallery come to life.

“Oh I have no plans to stop. Why would somebody retire if you’re doing exactly what you want to do?
You should still being doing it,” she said. “A nd making art, what a wonderful existence.”

Anne Burkholder is a lady with grit and a really good story, and it’s not over yet.

Matt Taylor


Walking into the Tavern – a bar nestled in the heart of the Haymarket – you would never know that the space has been anything other than the warm, inviting establishment it is today. With childhood pictures of regular customers lining the walls, dark wood, impeccably clean and comfortable – a place that offers an instant welcome.

The space is a good reflection of its owner, Matt Taylor, who confidently fills the role of young entrepreneur and owner of two Haymarket businesses. A path he didn’t set out to take, but one that has provided a place to grow and directly impact the city of Lincoln.

When Matt started college, he wasn’t sure what he wanted to do, but figured that the Finance Department at UNL would provide some essential tools to learning about business and managing money.

While finance seemed pretty straightforward, the actual work he experienced during an internship proved to be tedious and far from the type of work he was looking for.

It wasn’t until midway through his education that he took a job checking I.D.s at The Bar and found a surprising connection to real-world business. Each night, he left energized by the person-to-person interaction and the money he was able to earn.

The owner, Neal Grummert, turned out to be the best business mentor Matt could have asked for. Neal took a serious approach to the way he ran things and had thoughtful business practices in place – constantly investing in his employees and keeping an eye on what was going on in the Lincoln business community.

Matt rose quickly in the ranks at The Bar, gaining experience in each role, and eventually becoming the general manager. The Bar provided a place to apply what he was learning in school. After classes, Matt would head to work and sit down with Neal, discussing things like product placement, profit and losses, and even business culture. They were always looking twelve months ahead on how to develop the business.

In 2009, just after Matt had graduated from college and was finding a good rhythm at work, he felt the ground drop out from under him when his boss unexpectedly died. The loss of his mentor-friend and end of their shared plans left Matt floating aimlessly. He applied for all sorts of of jobs and tried to find firm foundation.

Eventually Matt met with his dad and cast a vision for a downtown bar in the former Crescent Moon Coffee building. His dad loved the idea and agreed to the proposal, putting up his home as collateral for a line of credit.

Over the next two months, the space was overhauled and filled with high top tables and bar stools. Matt wanted to create a place geared toward the 25 and older crowd who wanted something different than the college bar scene. It was an idea that took hold quickly.

“After four months, we had made back our initial investment. It was a good time to start a business… I think now is an even better time with all of this opportunity.”

Matt’s success propelled him forward, and in 2013 he decided to launch a second bar, The Other Room, just behind The Tavern. Through his travels, he had witnessed the revival of the speakeasy type bar in big cities and decided to bring the idea to Lincoln.

One of Matt’s liquor representatives, Miles Kos, introduced him to Jill Cockson, an award-winning mixologist, whose reputation helped provide an instant clientele and the passion for her craft matched the vision Matt had for the business. Jill formed a menu of unique specialty drinks while Matt designed the intimate space, complete with hidden door.

Owning two different bars gives Matt the opportunity to offer quality drinks and distinct experiences to people visiting the Haymarket. He values the conversations he has with whoever comes through the door and sees this engagement as the heart of his business.

“A bar can be an interesting human behavior experiment. Every day, I meet all kinds of people – from the homeless man coming in asking for change, the traveling salesman who has decades of experience or the person sitting at the bar who has been married for years. It’s a constant exchange of story, experience and learning what has worked and what hasn’t.”

Matt looks toward the future and is always considering how he can grow and improve. He listens to podcasts and reads articles focused on small business and entrepreneurship. He regularly sits down with other small business owners from around town with no agenda other than conversation and learning. He also sees the wisdom in taking his time to make sure he’s taking good care of the people and businesses he’s currently managing.

Like the historic buildings Matt occupies, his work ethic and priorities point directly to the past. To a mom who daily encouraged him, to the boss who believed in his ability and trusted him with big responsibilities, and a dad who borrowed against his home because he believed his son could make a dream happen.

On a daily basis, Matt reflects on this spirit of generosity and continues the legacy of believing that a good business keeps people at the heart of the process. His story is not only adding to the positive growth of the business community in Lincoln, but to the character and reputation of the city – as he brings attention to the things that really matter.

Dan Sloan


Dan Sloan’s world revolves around coffee, but he’s not an addict or snob.

He has a Milano in the morning and maybe another in the afternoon, but that’s about it. If he happens to have a cup of coffee that’s not great when he is traveling, it’s no big deal. Actually, it’s kind of a good thing, he said, it just reaffirms that what his team is doing at The Mill is as good as he thinks.

Dan has been part of The Mill since his early 20s. He’s gone from doing the books, to roasting the coffee and managing the staff to being an owner. He’s seen the coffee shop expand from a coffee corner to two full-scale shops.

A lot of his story has been shaped by the growth and expansion of The Mill, but Dan’s story has also shaped the organic and eclectic feel that’s present at The Mill today.

Let’s start at the beginning.

It was the late ‘70s and Dan was finishing his accounting degree at Union College. He was a numbers guy looking for his first job and a professor told him that the bike shop down the street needed someone to help with their books, so Dan applied and got the job.

At the time, the bike shop owner had a small coffee area in a corner of the shop. Nothing fancy, just basic coffee for the people who shopped. Over time, the shop owner fell in love with coffee and wanted to sell gourmet imported coffee to customers.

“That was the genesis of The Mill,” Dan said.

Now, The Mill has become a Lincoln staple. It’s a go-to spot for studying, newspaper reading or even a first date. Dan looked around The Haymarket Mill, scoping out his patrons for the day, as he described how he enjoys watching different crowds of people filter in and out of the coffee shop.

There’s a certain group that shows up at The Mill on Sunday mornings and another that occupies the late-night, weekday hours. So many people have integrated The Mill into their routine, and to Dan that’s special.

When it comes to running the shop, Dan described his approach as more evolutionary than revolutionary, meaning he didn’t necessarily set out to do anything other than roast and sell great coffee, but they’ve catered their services and aesthetic to what customers have wanted.

“We’re about community as much as coffee … we’re a melting pot, a meeting place, a safe haven … and we hear people’s stories,” he said as he waved to someone across the shop.

The Mill has done well, Dan said. Are there ways they could be more profitable? Sure, but he’s not willing to compromise his community-focused shop just to be slightly more profitable, that’s not Dan.

And while running a local coffee shop might seem like a simple task, it’s not. Dan takes it personally. His employees are like his kids, his two locations are an extension of his home and every paycheck he writes is going toward important things like college tuition, gas, groceries, student debt or rent.

It’s heavy and even lonely at times, because running a popular coffee shop is a 24/7 job. But it’s a load he shares with his wife, and it’s also one Dan takes pride in. It’s a pride and work ethic that he connects to his dad who owned a bakery in a small Michigan town.

Dan can remember washing dishes in the bakery and pulling all-nighters with his dad to make sure the shop was stocked for the next day. He knows it wasn’t easy to raise four boys on a bakery, but it was what his dad loved and passionately pursued until he retired.

He’d often say to Dan, ‘If you don’t have pride in what you do, you have no business doing it.’ That’s why Dan has stayed tethered to The Mill after all this time, it’s the combination of his passion, the people, the ownership and the community – it’s satisfying work.

And while his accountant-turned-coffee-shop-owner title cues looks of confusion, Dan likes that his work is a nerdy-hippie hybrid.  He knows his experience in the corporate accounting world has shaped him as an employer and given him the tools to properly build and expand The Mill. In the same way, his people-driven coffee shop has brought out his extroverted side.

When Dan takes time to zoom out and look at the broader picture of his life, he’s not shocked that The Mill has been a consistent theme. He said he always hoped he’d be his own boss. He was never a traditionalist who played it safe. Dan likes risks and he values making his own mistakes.

His story is about building community, watching community grow and staying true to his values. He’s thankful for the stress, chaos and culture that a coffee shop has brought into his life and his story.

He’s Dan Sloan largely because of The Mill, so if you want to know Dan, just stop by The Mill.

Amy Green


Amy Green pulled a few hefty boxes out of her storage room in the basement of The Creamery Building and carried them out to the front of her shop. Inside the boxes were guestbooks with 15 years worth of customer comments, drawings and Ivanna Cone love notes.

To Amy, this is the feedback that matters most.

Sure, she’s the brainpower behind Lincoln’s most popular local ice cream shop, but she’d rather stay behind the scenes. She was a little skittish to talk about any specific, personal details, because to Amy Ivanna Cone isn’t about her, it’s about family.

It’s Amy, her team and the customers. These people make the shop tick, whether they’ve been in once or hundreds of times since it opened 18 years ago.

Back then the Haymarket’s dominant landmarks were Lazlo’s, The Burkholder Project and The Oven – and parking was a whole lot easier, she said.

Amy is all about family, because that’s how Ivanna Cone started. Her parents helped her buy the shop and she quickly found herself in the role of full-time mom and business woman.

But from the get go Amy was all in.

She had two young kids – Grace and Tom – and a brain full of ice cream recipes, so the ice cream had to sell itself, she said.

On the weekends her parents would drive down from Fremont to watch the kids or pass out $1 scoops at the farmers market.

During the week Amy worked with the kids at her feet. She made the shop kid-friendly by creating a toy corner and installing a johnny jump up in the kitchen.

Amy has made batch upon batch of oddball flavor combinations and she estimated about 10-12 thousand batches of the all-time fan favorite Dutch Chocolate.

A little obsessive, right?

But that’s the thing about owning a business, you can’t turn it off.

Amy said she’s had to teach herself to let others help out and to schedule time to relax outside of the shop. These days her nearly grown kids man the counter on a pretty frequent basis, and Grace said she hopes to someday run the shop when her mom is ready to throw in the towel.

But that won’t be anytime soon, Amy quickly interjected. She pointed to her arm to show off the 18 scoops of ice cream that snake their way up and around her arm – one for every year the shop is open – and there’s still more space, she said.

Here’s the deal: Ivanna Cone is Ivanna Cone because Amy Green is Amy Green.

From the on-purpose whimsical flavors to the layout and design of the shop, it’s all Amy.

She’s a woman who loves challenges and writing paychecks, but hates paperwork. She loves throwing money at bizarre ice cream ideas, and will never franchise her shop or lose her dark sense of humor.

And while Amy is a little shy about standing in the spotlight, her much beloved ice cream shop is beloved because of her, and that’s the real story.

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