December 2, 2022

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Della Stevens exhibits some of the banana bread she makes for her store in Mitchell. Stevens sells homemade baked goods, soap, lotion, artwork and more at Work of Joy, which opened in August.
Work of Joy’s Della Stevens said she carefully studies how to master a particular craft, such as soap-making or sublimating designs onto mugs, before selling the resulting homemade products at her store.
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 started selling homemade goods out of 1368 Center Ave. in Mitchell, which she called Work of Joy. Since the store opened in early August, she’s sold a variety of products and even made some friends along the way.
Della Stevens exhibits some of the banana bread she makes for her store in Mitchell. Stevens sells homemade baked goods, soap, lotion, artwork and more at Work of Joy, which opened in August.
“Nowadays, when I make major decisions, I really try to pray about it and get guidance, and I felt like this is the place where I’m supposed to be,” she said.
Stevens used her middle name for the store, and most of what she sells are, therefore, literal works of Joy. The pastries and baked goods 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.
“I am retired, and I was a little bit bored sitting at home, so at least this way … I can actually sell the products I make,” she said, adding, “Things have been going OK here for a brand-new business.”
Work of Joy’s Della Stevens said she carefully studies how to master a particular craft, such as soap-making or sublimating designs onto mugs, before selling the resulting homemade products at her store.
This isn’t the first time Stevens has owned a store. She previously operated a souvenir shop and restaurant with her husband, Craig, in southern Colorado.
When the couple moved to Nebraska, she took the lessons she’d learned from operating that business, such as focusing on baked goods, and applied them to Work of Joy. She’s even incorporated the coffee aspect by offering different blends.
Mitchell is “a really cute little town,” Stevens said. “Things are starting to pop up.”
She said she focuses on having good customer service, products and atmosphere in any store she runs.
She received the lease at the end of July and within a fortnight began selling items. She held a grand opening during the Old West Balloon Fest craft fair Aug. 13.
Work of Joy is open from 8:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m., Wednesday through Saturday.
Stevens started selling the accumulating products she’d made at home, including shelves of soap. She had tried to sell some of it at the Mitchell market she’d organized, but she found a store was a better option.
“I love to educate myself on things. … Anytime 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 master her soaps in particular before she began selling them.
Not everything at the store is made by her. Three of her friends sell a selection of their own items at the shop. Karen Wertelka makes honey and vanilla. Amy Bomgardner offers cups and earrings. Stacia Smith sells jams and jellies.
Stevens doesn’t plan to expand the store aside from her recent additions of tables where customers can sit and drink coffee. Work of Joy is a small store, but she said it’s a good size for her to run by herself.
“It’s just a little place, but it’s all that I need,” she said.
Originally published on starherald.com, part of the TownNews Content Exchange.

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