Cookie baker becomes barista
By Betty Street
The wonderful shop down on the south end of Main Street in Mobridge, filled with South Dakota- and Dakota-made products, entertaining greeting cards, seasonal items, really cool sayings on wood offering advice and slogans, books, candles, picture frames, and lots more gift ideas, now also offers coffee and other beverages in an astonishing array of flavors. This is Homespun, a work of joy owned and operated by Sheila Unterseher.
The store began many years ago as an idea shared by Sheila, Diane Kindt and Ione Oster. There was a vacant house next to the motel that Ione and husband Otto owned, and the women “wanted to do something together.” What they settled on was a shop where they’d sell consigned, handmade items, coffee, and cookies baked right there in the store.
In the 10 years of Homespun’s existence at that location, the women went through six mixers—meaning, they wore out six individual heavy-duty kitchen mixers while making assorted batches of cookie batter.
One Christmas they made more than 900 dozen cookies, many for mailing to customers, each individually wrapped, and only one cookie ever arrived at its destination broken.
Recently Sheila shook her head, wondered how they did it, and said there’s no way she could do it now.
But the business evolved over the years. Sheila bought her two partners out and purchased the property at Homespun’s present location on south Main Street, what had previously been the Spilos Café, and as Sheila said, “took it down to the bricks.” The makeover took nearly a year. She said they moved out of the house near the motel right after Christmas 1998 and moved into the new location right after Thanksgiving 1999. Homespun has been evolving on Main Street ever since.
For the past year Homespun has featured assorted coffees including lattes and cappuccinos, fruit smoothies and more (but no cookies). Sheila took barista training in order to properly run the coffee machine. Ask her sometime about her coffee training trip to Southern California. Just have about 30 extra minutes for the story and be prepared to laugh a lot.
While you’re wandering in Homespun, be sure and notice the unusual furniture on which items are displayed. For example, the extended set of display cabinets along the north wall came from the Pollock Drugstore located in the old town of Pollock before the dam came and the town was moved.
Sheila cooks more than just cookies; and now that it’s just her and husband Ron, who retired from Central Diesel Sales, Inc., she has to cook differently. As our bodies change and age, our dietary requirements change also. Her recipes reflect healthy food choices that are even appropriate for diabetics.
When asked about a cooking disaster, Sheila remembered a dish she said was not well received by her siblings and “the females made choking sounds and fell off their chairs.” It was Goldenrod Eggs, a 4-H assignment she had as a teenager. That recipe is not included with those below.