By Jennie Zeitler, Staff Writer
An empty shop area on the northern edge of downtown Sauk Centre beckoned to Jeremy and Sara Weber, and they have transformed it into Taste of Heaven.
In early 2012, Jeremy told friends Roger and Deb Doeder, who own the building at 432 First Street S., that it would be a great spot for a little shop.
“So we thought, ‘let’s just do this,’” said Jeremy.
It took three months to complete the remodeling work. Plaster and sheetrock were removed from the brick wall along the east side and from the Paul Bunyan-sized post in the middle of the shop.
“I used a wire wheel to clean the brick, and then stripped and varnished the beam,” Jeremy said.
The subfloor had to be replaced and new lighting installed. A strip of concrete 40 feet long, 8 feet wide and 6 inches thick had to be busted out — a remnant of a former dry cleaning business.
Sara got the Web site up and running. An ad requesting vendors was placed in the Peach.
Word of mouth brought people through the front door asking to sell their products.
“We never stock the same item from two different people,” said Jeremy. “We don’t want anyone to be competing within the store — we want our suppliers to succeed.”
The shop is stocked with a wide variety of specialty products, most of them handcrafted, by both local suppliers and those further away.
There are soaps and greeting cards, baby “onesies” and Amish baskets, handbags and photographs, artwork and hand-painted glassware.
Taste of Heaven offers candies and frozen treats. One of the suppliers makes fudge and chocolate caramels.
Jeremy, who said he grew up in a cabinet shop, has made a few wood items displayed in the shop. There are also about 30 projects such as shelves, trunks and dressers started at home.
The Webers wanted something to fill space near the ceiling, so Jeremy hung two trailing plants on either side of the post in the middle of the shop and tied nylon fishing line from the post to the front window to train the vines.
“We asked the person who does a lot of sewed items to make a snake,” Jeremy said. “She brought in an 18-foot brightly colored fleece snake which is now hanging from the ceiling.”
The store opened for the first time on the Fourth of July. “Turning the ‘open’ sign on for the first time was very fun and a little frightening,” Sara said.
During the summer, the store stayed open until 9 p.m. from Tuesday through Saturday. Starting Labor Day, the winter hours will be Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., and closed on Sunday.
“Everybody gets off work at five o’clock, so why close the store at five?” said Jeremy. “We want to let people shop.”
The Webers love hearing people who come into the shop for the first time exclaim, “What a cute little store.”
“We made the store especially for kids to come to; they just light up when they walk in,” Jeremy said.
“It’s so wonderful to see their smiling faces,” said Sara.
Prices at Taste of Heaven are set lower than average, but are fair for owner and vendor both. Pop and water are 50 cents, Tootsie Rolls are 1 cent, and a few of the large paintings on the wall are $1,000.
“I can’t count the number of times customers have asked whether the tag listed the right price or not,” Jeremy said. “These are handmade products at reasonable prices.”
“We want to create a fun, family-friendly, spiritually positive and memorable place to shop that keeps people coming back,” said Sara.
A grand opening is planned for late September.
Plans are being made for a food drive in October to benefit the local food shelf. Youths who bring in a non-perishable food item will receive a free bag of candy.
“It’s surprising to see everything fall together,” said Sara. “It’s just a wonderful blessing to be able to have our dreams come true.”
For more information, call Taste of Heaven at (320) 352-4077 or visit
online at www.tasteofheavensc.com.