Our Town O’Neill: Handlebend Building


O’NEILL, Neb. (KOLN) – The founders of a highly successful local business continue to support the community and local businesses at the Handlebend building in O’Neill.

We spoke with Michael Stepp who is co-founder of the company called “Handlebar curvature”. Matt Dennis is the other co-founder. They started the business several years ago when the two friends started making copper mugs by hand.

“It’s just organic growing from there,” Stepp said. “When we caught our first wave as a company, it felt like we just got a big hug from the state of Nebraska. The support we’ve received has been tremendous.

The copper cups made by Dennis and Stepp are traditionally used for a cocktail called “Moscow Mule”. Mugs are now in high demand and shipped nationwide.

“We were lucky enough to ship a few of these around the world. We have shipped to Ireland, Australia and Russia.

Their business is located inside the Handlebend Building, which is in Our Town O’Neill on Highways 275 and 20.

“The concept we’ve put in place in this building is that we have other already great businesses that have moved here,” Stepp said. “The idea is that if a customer comes to one of these businesses, the rest of the businesses will benefit.”

There is a cafe, flower and gift shop, tap room, and the copper mugs are made by Handlebend at the back of the building.

“We want this building to foster a ‘sit back, slow down, hang out with your loved ones’ kind of atmosphere,” Stepp said.

The Handlebend had been in the Shelhamer family for many years. Locals remember the building as a grocery store. An effort has been made by Dennis and Stepp to maintain the building’s history.

“One of the biggest things I learned opening this building is that we’ve worked with a lot of local businesses,” Stepp said. “The level of talent in Nebraska is incredible. We’re not just an overflow state, we’re a homegrown talent gold mine.

So the next time you go to O’Neill, you’ll want to check out the Handlebar curvature building.

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