ARNOLD—Two businesses were recognized for growth in Arnold on a beautiful morning on Friday, November 22. The Arnold Economic Development Corporation (AEDC) welcomed local business leaders, community members, Jerad Reimers of Congressman Adrian Smith’s office, and Nebraska Lieutenant Governor Mike Foley to the celebration.
Adam and Melani Wonch were recognized for their expansion and new location of Cloudfire Services, which offers heating and air conditioning services, handyman work, and the recent addition of GE appliances. Cloudfire Services has been operating in Arnold for nearly five years and almost one year in its new location at 109 S. Walnut in a historic building in downtown Arnold.
“This new location has been really special because of the historical value of this location as well, so we love that. I grew up in Arnold so watching this downtown come alive has been really special. As well as the community is just so super supportive of the businesses here in this town. To be able to open a business that serves the community is really neat,” Melani Wonch said.
Adam Wonch has more than 15 years of experience with HVAC and also offers services for ventilation, refrigeration, appliance repair, and home repair.
Arnold native Melani and Adam, originally from Gandy, have five children and wanted to begin a business that could involve their kids. The couple said they took a leap of faith in starting a business following the retirement of a former local heating and air repairman. Melani said she and Adam continued to pray and appreciate the community for being helpful and supportive. She said the name Cloudifre comes from the desire to follow God and be guided by the cloud during the day and fire by night.
“We wanted to have a business where we could have our kids close by and we like small towns and we didn’t want to go someplace else,” Adam Wonch said.
Lt. Gov. Foley read an official certification on behalf of the AEDC.
“On behalf of the Arnold Economic Development Corporation thank you for your trust and investment. You’ve enriched the Arnold community with your presence, faith, dedication, and commitment to service. Your business expansion and growth will provide more services to the community of Arnold and we thank you,” Lt. Gov. Foley said.
Grazers Bar and Grill was also recognized on Friday as a new business owned by Annie Vettel and Jesse Halstead. Grazers now resides in a newly renovated building in the former location of Jim’s Bar, which was set on fire in March 2018.
Another Arnold native, Jesse Halstead, told KCNI/KBBN that he and Annie simply wanted to do something different and they took advantage of the opportunity. After purchasing the building in October of last year and remodeling the restaurant last winter, they opened Grazers Memorial Day weekend of 2019. The couple celebrated a ribbon cutting of the family-friendly bar and grill.
“It’s been good. We’ve had a lot of community support. Been a lot of people that have come down and helped us out, put in a lot of volunteer hours,” Jesse Halstead said.
Some unique features of the restaurant include a red table that still exists in the main area which was a staple in Jim’s Bar since 1954. The bar top is made from wood from the former Arnold school gymnasium and was created by the Anselmo-Merna shop class.
AEDC Director Cheryl Carson thanked Annie and Jesse for rescuing the building and putting so much work, heart, and thought into a wonderful business. Lt. Gov. Foley said he saw the aftermath of the fire and said Grazers is an extraordinary gift to the community and wished them the best as they grow their business.
Halstead said he and Annie aim to keep the values that were put ahead of them by the previous restaurant owners and to make Grazers a place for anyone and everyone to gather and enjoy a meal.
“We wanted a place for everybody to come,” Halstead said.