Sheridan Brand has begun a new charge of work. We will feature a business of the month to highlight Sheridan’s culture with the intent of bringing the community closer for all of the people contributing to Sheridan’s small-town successes. This month’s business highlight is Cottonwood Kitchen + Home! Having recently relocated to a larger space on the west side of Main, we stopped by to chat with the owner, Jessica. She shared with us new changes, updates, and plans for the future for one of Sheridan’s beloved kitchen and cooking stores.
When did Cottonwood Kitchen + Home open its doors, and what was the inspiration behind it?
“We bought the store in September 2011 and I had just recently moved back to Sheridan.”
Jessica previously worked for The Cottonwood Kitchen Shop during college. Upon her return home, she caught wind from her brother that the business was up for sale. Her passion for food and love for cooking were instilled in her by her grandmother. The relationship they shared often centered around the happenings of the family kitchen. Obviously, Jessica couldn’t pass up the opportunity.
Why did you decide to grow your business in Sheridan?
“We have a community that is very supportive. We have an awesome chamber and the DSA (Downtown Sheridan Association) that is also growing and really working to help our downtown. We have customers that support us and come in to say they’d like to shop here before going online–which is the biggest competition now for any small business.
We are really well-supported and people here are taking on the mindset that we have to support one other in order for the big picture to work.”
What prompted the move to a new storefront?
“A couple of things, first being the customers. We have always wanted to be able to create more experiences for our customers and build a better connection with them. I often don’t think of them as my customers, I think of them as community members and friends. We just wanted to have a space where we were able to connect people–connect the community to the kitchen.
We always had people asking us for cooking classes. We had a few at the old shop, but it was makeshift and wasn’t a real kitchen. So, we wanted to have that for our customers.”
Ultimately, Jessica and her team decided they had long outgrown the old location. The products and ideas they wanted to expand on for the business no longer fit the space that they had. The new location has turned out to be a big step in the right direction for Cottonwood Kitchen + Home. The new space has allowed Jessica and her team to be more creative, with inventory and display, and also allowed them to incorporate a cooking class schedule and demos. Praise from regulars in the community for having saved the historic building has also been proudly received.
What are some experiences the new location has to offer?
The Teaching Kitchen
“We are really excited about the teaching kitchen. For almost every class we will partner with a local business, whether it be another retailer or area ranchers and farmers. We want to include all of the local foods that we can, of course. We’ll have experts from our local farmers market come in, the folks from Sackets Market will be involved, and we’ll have a nutritionist that will come in once a month–so there is an opportunity for education about food and cooking in the community.
We plan to partner-up our nutritionist with the instructor at the yoga studio next door and host a yoga class with a discussion about healthy cooking. We also visited with the folks at The Paint Post about how we can do a combo class. This big space is allowing us limitless opportunities that will help other local businesses to drum up interest.
We really just want to connect, and connect with, the community. I love this idea because for two or three hours–however long you’re with us– you’re slowing down from your crazy busy life and just focusing on yourself or each other. We don’t do that enough anymore. It’s really a place where you’re going to be able to interact with people.”
The main classes will be held Wednesday through Saturday nights, and a Saturday day class will also be offered. The meal plans will depend on what chefs are scheduled to teach, and what people are interested in, or ask for– Cottonwood Kitchen is welcoming suggestions!
The classes offered by Cottonwood Kitchen + Home will be a range of hands-on classes, to demonstrations that are lead by one individual or chef. In some cases, cooktop stations will be available per person or by the small group, in others, guests will have the opportunity spectate. The prices will vary depending on the class, the offerings, the food, number of participants, etc. The variety of classes will make sure participation opportunities are affordable for everyone.
“Our goal is for everyone to have fun and leave full!”
The schedule of cooking classes can be found on their website. Folks who are interested can sign-up online or in-store. Cottonwood Kitchen + Home sends out e-blasts through their newsletter which will include information about upcoming cooking classes and other events as well.
The Demo Kitchen
“Another experience we’re adding to our list is the demo kitchen. Even we [employees] don’t have the opportunity to try everything all of the time! We really want to start demoing products downstairs– we’ll get out a blender, a food processor, a waffle maker. We’d like to have the opportunity for our customers and for our employees to get their hands on the products we carry, and really learn stuff.”
Jessica also mentioned a prospective demo-area addition — a cutlery station where customers can test out the knife selection. Along with this, there are ideas percolating around the demo kitchen doubling as a small home-cafe, where customers can order coffee/tea to walk around the store with.
The Local Kitchen
And, of course, with all of the local foods and specialty items they carry, Jessica will be looking to set out snacks made from specialty food products made in-store– straight from Cottonwood Kitchen + Home!
“Along with the items we have from local connections, specialty foods are among the best-selling. We are really working to add to our local selection of foods as well as other items. We’re not restricting it to just foods– we’ll consider anything made locally.”
Reserve the Cottonwood Kitchen
“Space is also available for people to book. We will be here to help connect people with, or provide, a chef. We’ll be here to participate in helping with an actual cooking class, or if they want to rent the space so they can cook something, themselves, that’s a possibility too. I have had people interested in reserving space for baby showers, holiday work parties– it’s limitless. Anything that we can make happen up here, for anyone, we will make happen.”
Do you have any fall offerings or specials to announce?
“Right now, in particular, we will participate, for the first time ever, in a promotion from Zwilling, a cookware & cutlery company, called Z-fest. We will also participate in the Wusthof Gourmet knife sales. Black Friday sales are coming up, too. We will also continue our Countdown to Christmas Sale, and we’ll participate in this year’s Christmas Stroll again.
Our “re-grand opening” is coming up on November 10th, so that is going to be a big deal for us. We are going to make it super fun with live music, tons of food, and local vendors that we partner with will also be here representing their businesses. The Pony Grill & Bar will be downstairs making drinks. The event will begin at 4:00 PM and we’ll be open until 8:00 PM, or later if fun is being had by all.”
We know you’re a huge gift destination for weddings, anniversaries, events, etc. Do you have any special gift registry offerings?
When you register your wedding with Cottonwood Kitchen + Home, you get:
> A Free gift
> An online-registry account
> An announcement on our social media pages
> An announcement in The Sheridan Press
> A personalized in-store display
> Free gift-wrapping & Free reception-delivery on most items
> 10% off your registry for one year after your wedding date for anything that wasn’t gifted
> Reservation opportunity for Cottonwood Kitchen + Home to host your bridal shower, rehearsal dinner, or anything related at a discounted rate
Jessica, what is your favorite thing to cook or bake?
“My favorite thing to cook is probably my Grandmother’s gnocchi and red sauce. I don’t slow down enough to make it but any tradition like that. My dad and I love to get together and re-create those traditional dishes from the family kitchens of the past.”
What is one must-have product from Cottonwood Kitchen + Home?
“A good knife that fits your hand and is well-sharpened. And then a fish spatula, which is a super-thin flexible spatula.”
What advice would you give to someone who is new to the kitchen, or dipping a toe into the cooking world?
“That’s a good question. I think to be fearless! Be willing to explore and try new things. Trying new things and learning something new is part of the experience.”
What is your favorite part of the new changes with Cottonwood Kitchen + Home?
“I’m mushy, so my favorite part is connecting the community through the kitchen. That’s where I grew up, that’s where all of my values came from, that’s where I had the most important conversations with family. The best memories were in the kitchen around the dining room table. Being able to offer people a way to slow down and connect, and, having grown up here, getting to give that back to the community I grew up in is my favorite part.”