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River City 6: Jim Sobcyzk

Cornhusker Beverage & Bridal (www.cornhuskerbeverage.com) is a complete wedding and party center, serving the Omaha community in its current location for almost 50 years. Jim Sobczyk is the owner of Cornhusker Beverage & Bridal.

Tell us a little about your business. – We’ve been family owned and operated for five generations and got our start as a liquor store, but over the years have evolved into much more than that. While we have the best selection in town for beer, liquor and wine, we also specialize in beverage catering for events, particularly weddings, and have a department dedicated to wedding invitations too. We also are one of only three stores in Omaha that sells the supplies needed for home beer-brewing and wine-making, from beginner kits to specialty items for those who are more experienced.

How did you get started in the business? – I tease people that I have an MBD.  Want to know what MBD stands for? ‘I married the boss’s daughter.’ My wife’s family and my family have been very close for as long as I can remember. We went to school from kindergarten through 8th grade together, and always sat next each other in class growing up. When I turned 16, her father offered me a position within his company and I happily accepted.

Tell us a little about your family. – My wife and I have been married for 45 years. We have 8 children, 5 girls and 3 boys. We also have 20 grandchildren, 11 boys and 9 girls.

What do you see as one of the biggest turning points in your life? – Probably marrying my wife.  From that point on, I was running the business and she was running the household.  We share the same goals in life and are extremely proud of our family.

What is your favorite thing to do on a day off? – My favorite hobby is gardening.  Some of my favorites are cucumbers, tomatoes, potatoes, and green beans. With such a big family, we all get together for dinner on Sundays and whatever I grow, they eat!

What is the most unique or interesting thing about you that most people probably don’t know? – My first three years of high school I attended a seminary in Chicago to be a priest.  So at the age 14, I essentially went away to a boarding school, which was a major lesson in independence.

What are you the most proud of? – Business-wise, our company is technically one of the 10 oldest businesses in Omaha. It was originally founded in 1860 with a rich history as a distillery located right on Missouri river.   After a period of time, the distillery became a brewery and in searching for a Brewmaster, went to Germany to hire my wife’s great grandfather. His son (her grandpa) worked with him as the business transitioned into a soft drink manufacturer. From there a drive-in liquor store was then created, which was later converted to a walk-in store.  I would say being able to adapt with the changes of the time is key in our business.

What local non-profit organization(s) are you passionate about or involved with, and are there any special reasons why? – We work with a large number of non-profits in the area, but have especially close ties with Gross High School as our children went there.

What is your favorite book or the last good book you read? – Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens. I’ve read it 3 times!

What is your favorite local restaurant? – Anthony’s Steakhouse.

If our readers would like to contact you, how should they do so? – Stop by the store at 8510 K Street, call (402) 331-5404 or visit the Cornhusker Beverage & Bridal website at www.cornhuskerbeverage.com.

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