(Photo by Nancy Nelson)
David and Judi Klee recently purchased the building located at 222 West Main in Cherokee (formerly Hawley-Allison's) with future plans of opening a bakery and kitchen store.
The couple is originally from Delaware and spent most of their adult life in Georgia and then in Nebraska City up until five years ago when David Klee took a position at Buena Vista University as a music professor. He has a doctorate in flute performance and is also currently a member of the Fort Dodge Symphony.
Judi Klee is a nutritionist with a Master's of Science degree in nutrition. She teaches part-time at Iowa Central Community College, two to three days a week. She will also be the main operator of The Spice Rack, which is due to open in the fall of 2006 at the building they purchased.
Owning and operating a business is nothing new to the Klees but this type of business is new to them. When they lived in Georgia they owned and operated music lesson and recording studio business that grew so fast, they sold it so they could spend more time with their two sons, David Jr. and Michael.
Their son David, is a computer engineer in Omaha and was married earlier this spring. Their son, Michael, in also a music buff. He is currently pursuing a degree as a percussion major and is engaged to be married next summer.
The building is currently undergoing some major renovations. Choosing to make their living quarters above the store is requiring some work which will take some time to complete, since they are doing most of the work themselves. In addition, Klee will also be installing a commercial kitchen downstairs to accommodate her bakery needs.
When the front part of the store opens to the public customers may wonder what changes took place. Klee says she plans to keep the original woodwork intact, and dress up the display shelving for her products, even including a display of her collection of pizzelle irons. Most of the work being done is behind the scenes renovation.
The Spice Rack will feature Klee's signature cookie, called an Italian pizzelle in addition to biscotti and other treats. She will also carry a variety of quality kitchen gadgets and supplies in a moderate price range, and gourmet and health food along with some craft items.
As a nutritionist she says she cannot sell what she doesn't feel good about. Choosing the Pizzelle as her signature product stems from her Italian heritage. Her grandparents immigrated to the United States from Italy. The history of the pizzelle dates back hundreds of years even being traced back to biblical times.
She remembers eating the traditional anise flavored pizzelle when she was growing up. She also says pizzelles are a no guilt treat because they are low in fats and carbohydrates. Since she is a nutritionist she is able to provide nutritional analysis of her products.
Klee gives her husband credit for coming up with the idea for the business. Her products are unique to this area and since they are essentially homemade, are also a specialty product. She has experimented with different flavors and other products. So far she has created nine flavors of pizzelles and several flavors of biscotti. She currently has a web site for her products at www.homemadepizzelles.com.
She has plans to sell some of her products wholesale to coffee shops and possibly even grocery stores. She already has a coffee shop in Algona on a waiting list for her pizzelles when she opens up for business.
The endeavor will initially be small and expand as demand increases. Klee is using the time between now and the fall of 2006 to learn from the community what products would be most sought after. She is asking for input from the community on products they feel would be wanted in a kitchen store. This will help her best determine a product line to carry in the store. Call her at 225-0222 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org to share input.