MITCHELL — Della Stevens wanted to open a Christian coffee shop. However, she couldn’t find a place with a kitchen that would meet her needs.
Instead, Stevens began selling homemade goods at 1368 Center Ave. in Mitchell, which she called Work of Joy. Since the store opened in early August, she has sold a variety of products and even made some friends.
“Nowadays, when I make important decisions, I really try to pray for them and get guidance, and I felt like this is where I should be,” she said.
Stevens used her middle name for the store, so most of what she sells is literally Joy’s works. The pastries and cakes she offers, including banana bread, fudge, carrot cake, and crackers, are all homemade.
She also sells homemade soaps, candles, lotions, and lip gloss, as well as her own paintings and photography.
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“I’m retired and I was a bit bored sitting at home, so at least this way…I can actually sell the products I make,” she said, adding: “It’s going well here for a brand new company .”
This isn’t Stevens’ first time running a shop. She previously owned a gift shop and restaurant with her husband, Craig, in southern Colorado.
When the couple moved to Nebraska, she took the lessons she learned from running that business, such as focusing on baked goods, and applied them to Work of Joy. She has even incorporated the coffee aspect by offering different blends.
Mitchell is “a very cute little town,” Stevens said. “Things are starting to come up.”
She said she focuses on great customer service, products and atmosphere in every store she runs.
She got the lease at the end of July and started selling items within a fortnight. She held a grand opening at the Old West Balloon Fest craft show on August 13.
Work of Joy is open Wednesday through Saturday from 8.30am to 3.30pm.
Stevens began selling the heap of products she’d made at home, including shelves of soap. She’d tried to sell some of it at the Mitchell Market she’d hosted, but found a store was a better option.
“I like to teach myself things. … Every time I want to learn something, I sit down and watch all these YouTube videos and do a lot of Googling,” she said.
She said it took a while to get the hang of especially her soaps before she started selling them.
Not everything in the store is made by her. Three of her friends sell a selection of their own items in the shop. Karen Wertelka makes honey and vanilla. Amy Bomgardner offers cups and earrings. Stacia Smith sells jams and jellies.
Stevens has no plans to expand the store, aside from her recent additions of tables where customers can sit and sip coffee. Work of Joy is a small shop but she said it is a good size for her to run on her own.
“It’s only a small place, but it’s all I need,” she said.