*Written for the Daily Record – http://www.omahadailyrecord.com/index.cfm?show=10&mid=165&pid=58
With just a little more than a year under its belt, Nebraska Tour Company has been singled out for the Omaha Chamber of Commerce’s Small Business of the Month Award in August.
Nebraska Tour Company and Discover Omaha recently merged to combine their expertise, offering culinary and historical tours across the Omaha metro area.
Opting for the moniker Nebraska Tour Company, their mission is to provide guests with a true taste of the town’s culinary delights and historical buildings as if they were a local. Featuring customizable themes such as Prohibition, Sushi and Sake or walking tours of downtown, Nebraska Tour Company allows natives and visitors alike to discover the city of Omaha in a whole new way.
It all started with Alan Rust, president and co-owner, moving several times for his career in retail. “Every time I move to a new place,” he said, “I always try to find the best bars, restaurants and places to go. So, I moved here to work for Gordmans … and then I decided I was done with retail. I wanted to do my own thing, sharing my passion for finding the cool places.”
Rust connected with Dakotah Smith, joining forces to form their concierge tour company.
With a staff of two culinary experts and four locals with in-depth knowledge of local history, Nebraska Tour Company offers comprehensive, new and unique ways of exploring the Omaha metro area. Rust says his tour guides “are passionate about the city of Omaha and want to share that. That’s what we do differently.”Another great feature of this innovative tour company is their customized tours. “A lot of groups have pre-scheduled tours,” Rust said, “and if they don’t meet a minimum, they cancel them completely. We have the ability to tour any day of the week and it is a private experience.”
Adopting the saying from P.T. Barnum – “the noblest art is that of making others happy,” Rust seeks to please and entertain his clientele by living this philosophy every day. At Nebraska Tour Company, they take care of everything, he said.
“The service is that you don’t have to worry about anything,” he said. “So, if you were elected to take care of a group, we can take care of absolutely all of it for you.”
Unlike other tour companies that have pre-planned tours and destinations, the most exciting part of booking with Nebraska Tour Company is that the client has no idea where they are going until they arrive at their destination. Just like a magical mystery tour, Rust stresses secrecy until the very last moment, and according to him, “Everybody has loved that.”
While there are classic culinary tours, district tours and many other options, Rust and his team provide an authentic, yet luxurious experience for diners at each destination. To guarantee this experience, Rust himself visits restaurants undercover to see if they may be a possible fit for their tour groups, stressing ambiance and service as well as the food quality.
“The places we choose need to provide that same high-level experience that we’re providing, or they won’t be part of our tours,” he said. “Our brand is providing that high level of VIP experience in every tour that we do, so we need our partners to do the same.”
Perfect for team-building events or newbies to Omaha, Nebraska Tour Company offers a tour for every taste. Try the Old Market Walking Tour, a Blackstone food tour, Benson food tour or perhaps customize a search for the best pizza in town. If those aren’t for you, try a Taco Tuesday tour, a mob tour, a baseball history tour or a haunted tour. Nebraska Tour Company caters to any theme imaginable.
The most popular tour at Nebraska Tour Company is the basic culinary tour, which may include a theme depending on the day of the week. If brunch is your way of celebrating a Sunday Funday, they also offer a brunch tour, which “involves a bit of day drinking,” Rust said, but also feasts on Omaha’s best breakfast bites. The venues vary and are all locally owned, because Rust believes in helping his fellow small businesses. “We support local,” he said. “We want the community to be a better place.”
Rust’s personal favorite is the Spirits and Snacks tour. “I’m a cocktail guy,” he said. “It’s just more of a cocktail tour with a little bit of food.” If beer is your preference, there are brewery tours to choose from as well.
After a year in business, Rust and Smith are extremely honored to be named the Small Business of the Month from the Omaha Chamber of Commerce.
“I think it is a great honor because we’ve worked really, really hard for our business to support other small businesses,” he said. “It’s a big honor because we are able to help others, so that businesses can work together to make a community better.”
Nebraska Tour Company offers concierge tours unlike any other. To book your tour, contact Nebraska Tour Company at 866-996-6242.