Bakery, café opens in Wessington SpringsLocals thrilled about new business in old Masonic building.
By: Ross Dolan, The Daily Republic
WESSINGTON SPRINGS — Sweet Grass, a new eatery, bakery and coffee shop, is the buzz of downtown Wessington Springs.
Owners Linda Burg and Heather Larson opened their doors at 116 Main St. East on Dec. 1 in the Masonic Lodge Building. It’s a space once occupied by the Front Porch coffee shop. The business partners purchased the large, historic building this fall and put the bakery, coffee shop and meeting room downstairs.
A small inn is under renovation on the second floor. Two rooms are currently ready for business and another four will be completed by spring, Larson said.
The Saturday opening was marked with a ribbon cutting attended by members of the Wessington Springs Area Development Corporation,
“We are excited to have this multi-use business open in our community,” Development Coordinator Kim Burg said in a prepared release. Burg said her office worked with the new owners for the past year on business start-up resources.
Larson said she and Burg formerly worked for the SDSU Extension Service. Burg retired about two years ago, but the two friends had long phone discussions about starting a business together as Larson drove to her new Extension assignment in Mitchell.
“I had relocated to Mitchell but with family and a farm it proved to be too much of a drive,” Larson said, so the friends decided to go for it. They ended up purchasing and renovating the Masonic Lodge building.
“Tuesday was our first full day of business,” Larson said. “We’ve gotten a lot of positive input from the community. People are excited that we’ve kept a Main Street building alive and going. We’ve had huge support.”
For the immediate future the business will serve coffee and bakery items but an expanded menu is in the planning stages.
“Our monster cookies were big sellers for our first few days and our coffee and scones are huge,” Larson said. “We’ll be doing breads, buns and lunches soon, and we’ll also be doing wedding cakes and catering.”
The coffee shop has seating for 30 to 50 customers.
The project was privately financed through American Bank and Trust of Wessington Springs with the assistance of local banker Ryan Jensen, she said.
Larson said she now has earlier and later hours than she did working for the Extension Service, but she enjoys the work.
“It was just something the community needed,” she said.
The shop, which offers wireless Internet, is open Monday through Friday from 6:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and on Saturday from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Linda Burg called Wessington Springs’ initial support “Awesome. People are excited about the building.” She and Larson also planned the interior design of the space.
“We’ve put in some counters as well as couches and a corner booth. We put in the things we enjoy and we hope others will too,” Burg said. “The best comment we’ve heard is that ‘It feels like home.’ ”