BY CHUCK VANDENBERG
WEST POINT – It’s not an uncommon theme where someone takes a hobby they enjoy and turns it into a business.
That’s exactly what Kim and Randy Cook have done in West Point. The two popped open a quaint little bakery in a comfy space behind the Hair Etc. salon on the east side of the square.
On opening day Friday the visitors who popped in the back door of Kim’s Confections, which was donned with a curtain and horizontal blinds, seemed as though they were stopping by to visit old friends. Customers getting their hair done in the salon came by to figure out where the warm, sweet smell was coming from that mixed in with the essences of shampoo and conditioner.
“I had to come back here and see where the wonderful smell was coming from,” said one perfectly coifed customer. It was a family friend who was greeted with a hug and then quickly purchased an apple pie from an antique wood and glass display case.
Randy Cook said the space used to be an apartment and the couple pulled carpeting, put down new hardwood floors, brought in a double decker oven, refrigerators, some baking equipment, a cold drink cooler, and a few items to set the mood.
“We got this space about a month and a half ago and were able to get it ready to go pretty quick,” he said.
Kim said the business was born from a generational passion for baking.
“My mother and I did the Fort Madison Farmers’ Market a couple years ago,” Kim said. “I love to bake and my mom is a fabulous baker. So we started going down there and quickly realized that it was the same people that were buying the stuff. So that was pretty neat.”
She said Fort Madison already has two fabulous bakeries at Kelly’s Cakes and Sugar Lumps, and they were originally looking to locate in Fort Madison, but the location in West Point just kind of popped up.
“We thought about opening something there, but we found this kind of by happenstance. I normally don’t get my hair cut here, but was here getting a haircut and mentioned it and they said they had a space in back.”
Right now Kim said the main business hours will be Saturday and possibly Fridays, but when she’s in baking she may try to be open for sales, too. She said the best way for people to check to see if she’s open outside of Saturday is to visit her Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/groups/1924584891095150/about/. She can also be reached at 319-470-2738.
“The hours are going to kind of vary because I’m still a nursing manager,” she said. “So my plan is to work during the evenings and then be open on Saturday for sales.”
“One of the things I’m gonna like is being able to make what I enjoy and what people are asking for. I don’t mind if they message me, I’m on Facebook all the time, so they can let me know if they need something.”
Friday was opening day for the two and Thursday night was the first round of baking after the kitchen was inspected by the county health department.
“Last night was the first baking we did and when we walked in this morning it really smelled like a bakery.”
Randy said the main display case, which has glass on all sides with dark stained wood framing, was found in a shop out at Apple Tree Antiques.
“We went in just looking for stuff and he had these display cases all over,” he said. “I asked the owner if he was interested in selling any of the cases because they were just we were looking for,” Randy said. “He said not really, but he said come with me and we went back into this little shop or whatever and there was this. And I said, “You’re willing to sell that?” He said he would and it just fits perfect in here.”
Kim said pastries and baked goods make up the menu, as she brings chocolate-chip caramel butter bars and a cherry bake out of the oven. They joined banana bread brownies already on the cooling rack, waiting for frosting. She said cupcakes and cookies will also be on the menu.
The display case showcased strawberry-rhubarb and apple pies, blackberries-and-cream coffee cake all on pie pedestals under heavy glass. Two glass cookie jars held frosted sugar cookies.
A coffee maker perked off to the side of the counter and a cooler holds juice, milk, and other cold drinks to go.
She said the bakery right now will be open Saturdays from 7 to 3 and will be open Saturday for the Bunny Hop 5K and Easter Egg Hunt in the park.
“That way people who want to stop in for a treat and some coffee can do so.”