12 Alumni-Owned Local Businesses

We love to see our Huskers succeed 🤩 Meet a few Nebraska alums who’ve started businesses in the capital city. For more alumni-owned businesses you can support, check out the Nebraska Alumni Association’s Business Directory.

A sign surrounded by flowers at Goldenrod reads “The Good Life”

Goldenrod Pastries

In May 2015, Angela Garbacz—a Nebraska food science graduate—opened her first storefront. Today, Goldenrod Pastries is a Lincoln staple, offering delicious treats with lots of options for people with food sensitivities like dairy and gluten.

A Novel Idea

Cinnamon Dokken opened the shop while she was in college at NU and over the past 30 years, has turned A Novel Idea into a safe haven for book lovers in Lincoln and beyond. Read more about the bookstore and some of our favorite employees there (the cats).

Fly Fitness

Co-founder Dr. Jenni Bruning Brown has a B.A. in psychology from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and 10 years working as a sport psychologist for the University of Nebraska Athletic Department. She opened Fly to build a space where people could join a fun, positive community and try a variety of different workouts.

Screamers owner Kevin Witcher sits on the stage at the restaurant


’93 alum Kevin Witcher’s favorite college experience was performing in show choir. And while it was officially known as the Scarlet and Cream Singers, the musical troupe referred to themselves as “Screamers.” Now he’s opened Screamers Dining & Cabaret, offering classic American cuisine while providing live musical performances featuring the restaurant staff comprised of the hottest up-and-coming local talent. Read how it came to be.

Gomez Art Supply

Gomez is the go-to for art supplies, whether you’re an aspiring artist or a seasoned professional, full of friendly faces to help you find what you need for any project. Peggy Gomez, the owner and sole operator, is an alumna of the University of Nebraska–Lincoln and also taught in the university’s art department part-time in both drawing and printmaking.

From Nebraska Gift Shop

In 2014, Jim and Barb Ballard—Nebraska broadcast journalism graduates—bought the gift shop in the heart of The Haymarket. With their passion for their home and the people who live here, the Ballards are excited to be able to sell food and products made in the Cornhusker State.

A sandhill crane made out of paper

Katie Nieland Art

Whether it’s the creatures of Earth’s past (dinosaurs) or the current critters that roam the Great Plains and beyond, Katie Nieland—a Nebraska alum and associate director of the Center for Great Plains Studies—explores the beauty and fun of our natural world through drawing, cut paper, paintings.

Cooper & Co.

While she was attending classes at Nebraska, Diane Cooper discovered her love for retail and eventually opened a gift basket shop. She’s expanded that love into Cooper & Co., a shop run by her family of Husker alums, that provides a wide range of home decor and gifts.


A 2020 Husker grad, Tut Kailech founded YATO (You Are The One) at the intersection of lifestyle and fashion. Through the brand, he works to motivate and inspire others to reach their full potential. He furthers this mission through his Blazin’ a Trail podcast where he shares mindsets and perspectives that will provide you the tools to start blazing your own path.

An exterior photo of Threads: Footloose & Fancy


Footloose & Fancy has been a Lincoln staple for decades. And thanks to the work of 2001 Husker alum Jane Stricker, it continues to be the hot spot for new shoes, clothes, accessories and home goods.


Matel Rokke (’01) first opened Tsuru, her clothing boutique, in August 2007. More than 10 years later, she’s operating out of the same shop in downtown Lincoln, selling clothes and other locally made goods.

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