People. Love. Coffee.
Maybe it’s the flavor of a freshly brewed cup of Joe to kick-start the day. Perhaps it’s the aroma that fills the room or delicate conversations exchanged to make for a memorable experience. What is there to say about an establishment that helps people not only gather but simply enjoy life beyond a great cup of coffee?
When Dan and Brooke Loutzenhiser first took over Stories Coffeehouse in 2017 and morphed it into what is now Stories Coffee Co., they didn’t realize it would be their calling. Growing up in families focused on community, the Loutzenhisers have used their strong marriage to create a space dedicated to bringing people together to feel energized and connected.
The two share a background in the medical field: Dan Loutzenhiser was previously a health care professional and Brooke Loutzenhiser is currently a nurse practitioner at the Children’s Hospital & Medical Center in Omaha. With a focus on bringing value to their community, the Loutzenhisers seized the opportunity of Stories not knowing what the future held.
Fast forward five years and the brand has expanded to three locations in Omaha, a mobile coffee cart, a Gretna location opening soon, and a Lincoln partnership in the works. Whether it’s an early-morning business meeting, midday specialty coffee, afternoon craft beer, or local live music on the weekends, the extensive coffee shop and roastery continue to serve as an all-day destination for its community.
“We didn’t know it [Stories] was going to be this big. Our story has been full of ups and downs, but I think most people have their own story,” Dan Loutzenhiser said. “We created a space for people to do that in a welcoming environment, and that’s the most rewarding piece of this.”
A dynamic destination like Stories wouldn’t be possible without a hardworking team and supportive community investing in everything the establishment has to offer. Dan Loutzenhiser said bringing inspiration, love, and acceptance is the key to success on top of creating a collaborative culture that sells quality products.
“The customers are creating the environment just as much as we are,” Dan Loutzenhiser said. “We are just one small piece of the story; this place is their place just as much as it’s Brooke’s and mine. There’s a lot of life in here and the customers’ stories are just as critical to the overall picture of where we’re going.”
Holding faith, family, and community close to their hearts, the Loutzenhisers said when deciding to embark on this journey, they would rather take a chance versus sit on an opportunity. “Brooke and I work really well together—she complements me, and I complement her. When your spouse is 100 percent supportive, you can literally accomplish anything. If we weren’t so committed to each other and this vision, I think it could have gone down a bad path,” Dan Loutzenhiser said. “There wasn’t one moment where I questioned it.”
Life is full of ups and downs, and a person’s community can impact the way they view and do things. For the Loutzenhisers, raising their family, taking care of their team, and providing value to their community are the key components to how they live their lives. Pouring their passion into what they do today, Stories continues to serve as not only a coffee shop but a place to feel whole.