This past Tuesday, Nevada got a taste of something new from a local businessperson they have grown to trust.
Evie Peterson, 37, owner of the mother company Farmhouse Catering, through which she has opened Gatherings and then started Petite Gatherings in a spot next to it, has just opened her newest business branch, Farm Grounds.
Farm Grounds, located right next to Gatherings, Peterson said, will take the place of Petite Gatherings and Lunch Box. Those two business endeavors have been rolled into the new Farm Grounds business.
“We’ve rebranded this building,” said Peterson, as she sat down to talk inside the little building just north of her big Gatherings building. The little building became available to Peterson a year ago, and was originally going to be utilized as office space and a changing place for brides who were having weddings and/or receptions at Gatherings. She’s worked out an arrangement with the Queen Anne Bed & Breakfast for the brides, she said.
Her two buildings are now connected with a doorway between them from the inside, and everything people have loved inside the little building will still be offered, plus more.
“We want people to know that there’s a coffee shop in town,” Peterson said. Farm Grounds espresso and drip coffee options will come from Windmill Roasting Company of Ames, which also supplies to Burgie’s Coffee establishments and is described by Peterson as one of the finest coffee bean providers in the area. “They will roast all of our beans the day before,” she said.
Farm Grounds will also offer freshly made bakery items, filling a need that many Nevada people have been expressing a desire for in town — a local bakery. “The community has been telling us for three years what they want,” Peterson said, and she’s been listening.
Farm Grounds will open at 7 a.m. Tuesday through Saturday each week (closing at 3 p.m.), and will offer, along with great coffee products, bakery items like muffins and cinnamon rolls and egg-based breakfast sandwich options. It will also continue the tradition it started with Petite Gatherings of offering lunches, with a menu that changes from week to week, and offers various homemade sandwiches, soups and salads.
“Most of our sandwiches are made on homemade bread,” Peterson said. “So last week we started selling loaves (of the homemade bread) and that went over well, so we’ll continue that. People have been ready for a bakery, I’m sensing,” she added with a smile.
Another favorite that will continue to be offered at Farm Grounds are Peterson’s homemade cookies.
Since the start of Farmhouse Catering and the opening of Gatherings in May 2015, Peterson has been taking one step after another to expand her business on Nevada’s main street.
What might surprise a lot of people is that Peterson doesn’t have a bachelor’s degree. She went to one year of missionary school and studied under a chef. From there, everything she’s achieved has been through hard work and having a sense for business. “I have whatever that thing is … that entrepreneurial thing of how one decision can lead to another .. and then how to take the right steps,” she said. And she believes her patient personality is also an asset.
She now employs about 30 in her business, including three full-time adult workers, five part-time adult workers and a number of kids, many from Nevada, who are high school students. She also has two Iowa State interns on board, one who will manage the coffee shop and one who will be in the bakery. She wants to instill in all of these kids the importance of hard work. Her business success and these young kids’ future successes depend on that.
She knows she couldn’t be doing what she’s doing now without, as she describes them, “hard working, loyal people who love their jobs.”
And she’s so excited about the support she’s received in the Nevada community.
“It all started as a catering gig and then it snowballed… This is my dream,” she said. “I love it. I always dreamed of owning my own company.”