Mitchell woman sells homemade ‘Work of Joy’ at new store

CHRISTOPHER BORRO Scottsbluff Star-Herald

MITCHELL — Della Stevens wanted to open a Christian cafe. However, she couldn’t find a place with a kitchen that would meet her needs.

Instead, Stevens began selling homemade products at 1368 Center Ave. at Mitchell, which she called Work of Joy. Since opening the store in early August, she has sold a variety of products and even made some friends along the way.

“Nowadays when I’m making big decisions, I really try to pray about it and get some guidance, and I feel like that’s where I’m meant to be,” said she declared.

Stevens used her middle name for the store, so most of what she sells is literal artwork by Joy. The pastries and baked goods it 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 photographs.

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“I’m retired and kinda bored at home, so at least this way…I can actually sell the products I make,” she said, adding, “Things are going well. here for a brand new business.”

This isn’t the first time Stevens has owned a store. She previously operated a gift shop and restaurant with her husband, Craig, in southern Colorado.

When the couple moved to western Nebraska, she took the lessons she learned from running that business, like focusing on baked goods, and applied them to Work of Joy. It has even integrated the coffee aspect by offering different blends.

Mitchell is “a really cute little town,” Stevens said. “Things are starting to appear.”

She said she focuses on good customer service, quality products and atmosphere in all the stores she runs.

She received the lease at the end of July and within a fortnight began selling items. She held a grand opening at the Old West Balloon Fest craft fair on August 13.

Work of Joy is open 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., Wednesday through Saturday.

Stevens began selling the accumulated products she had made at home, including shelves of soap. She had tried selling some at the Mitchell Market she had organized, but found a store was a better option.

“I like to learn about things. … Whenever I want to learn something, I sit down and watch all these YouTube videos and do a lot of Google searches,” she said.

She said it took her a while to master her particular soaps before she started selling them.

Not everything in the store is made by her. Three of his friends sell a selection of their own items at the store. Karen Wertelka makes honey and vanilla. Amy Bomgardner offers mugs and earrings. Stacia Smith sells jams and jellies.

Stevens has no plans to expand the store beyond its recent additions of tables where customers can sit and drink coffee. Work of Joy is a small store, but she said it was a good size for her to run on her own.

“It’s just a small place, but that’s all I need,” she said.

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