Life is about transition - moving from one stage to another. Often, those transitions can also bring career changes, trying new things, or finally stepping out and taking a chance on that thing you have always wanted to do. That is where Sarah Anderson finds herself these days.
For the past 11 years Sarah has operated a daycare out of her Gothenburg home. However, she is now in the process of opening a baked goods, breakfast and lunch shop - Small Blessings - in the former Posh Farms building on 9th Street.
Sarah and her husband, Mike, relocated to the community 12 years ago and now have four daughters. Mike is employed at Bayer Learning Center. “I had young children and wanted to be home with my kids. Our oldest was 2-years-old and the youngest was about six months, and we moved into a big enough house for me to be able to do daycare here,” she explained.
Her interest in cooking and baking began at a young age. “When I was about 16 my mom went to work at a night job so I took over a lot of the cooking. The baking is something that I have just started to really enjoy in the last several years,” said Sarah.
She said that Nebraska was one of only a few states that did not have the Cottage Food Law in place, which allows home-based food service businesses to operate from their own kitchens. In 2019 Nebraska passed that law, and Sarah was able to register with the Department of Agriculture to get certified. “I had to take a class and do some things, but once I did that I was able to legally bake out of my home and sell those goods,” Sarah said.
Cupcakes are her biggest seller, which she said came along totally by accident. She now offers 32 or 33 different flavors of cupcakes and said she is hoping to offer more choices in the future.
Sarah also bakes quite a few pies, and last week made 78 specialty order pies for Easter. Orders for the holiday also included cupcakes, cheesecakes and doughnuts. “I don’t do doughnuts often, I just did this as kind of a one-time special. I don’t want to take anything away from any of our local businesses,” said Sarah.
She also bakes a lot of cinnamon rolls and muffins, and even offers dipped strawberries. One item she does not bake is cookies. “It’s just not my passion. I have a very good friend who does the same thing as me and has Roos Cookies in Cozad, but works here in town. I just refer everybody to her,” Sarah explained. She said she is hoping to collaborate more with her friend once her storefront is open.
Sarah has been utilizing the space in the downtown building for several months for storing her baked items. With her youngest child set to start school next fall, she decided now might be the time to pull the trigger on a more full-time food business.
“We are going to offer grab-and-go breakfast and we do have an espresso machine, which we’re still trying to figure out” Sarah laughed. “We’ll have smoothies and a daily lunch special, and salads and sandwiches available. It will be very similar to what Shelly was doing here. I’m hoping as time goes on that I will be able to have some frozen meals that people can just pick up and take home. And one Saturday night a month, May through September, we are going to do a barbecue night; then something like prime rib or something during the winter months.”
She is hoping to open Small Blessings on June 7, with a soft opening sometime in the next few weeks. “This is completely new to my husband and I both. He is planning to do the barbecue stuff.”
There will be some baked goods available for purchase at the shop; however, for special orders Sarah said she prefers at least a week's notice. She still has just a few slots left for graduation cupcake orders. The best way to place orders is through the Small Blessings Facebook page.
The new owners have done several renovations to the building, including new flooring and lighting, paint and the addition of a wall with beautiful sliding barn doors between the dining area and kitchen. “Shelly had done such a wonderful job here so we really didn’t have to do too much,” Sarah said.
Small Blessings will be open Monday - Friday from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. each day.