In the midst of high-tech, 21st century living, Grandma’s House offers a new way to go back to a simpler time. And just like the childhood visits to grandma’s, Grandma’s House offers the kind of atmosphere where homemade and homespun were the norm.
And homemade is exactly what Grandma’s House sells, but with a twist. The store lets customers pick up made-from-scratch pies, cakes, brownies and cookies as batters and doughs. The actual cooking is done at home.
The idea is that working men and women who want to share a scrumptious desert with family and friends are interested in using natural ingredients. Processed and preserved, says owner Julie Rossi, aren’t on the ingredients list.
The homespun part of Grandma’s House is that the store sells the desserts with a personal touch instead of a one-size-fits-all recipe. The pie crusts can be traditional or have a crumb top, a dollop of peanut butter can be stirred in to the chocoloate chip cookie dough, the brownies can have caramel and the cake can be red velvet. Or any other combination of goodies.
“We’re Papa Murphy’s meets Coldstone,” Rossi says, referring to the take-and-bake pizza and custom-blend ice cream stores.
Located on the town square in Liberty, Mo., Grandma’s House, operated under the umbrella of Main Street Holdings LLC, sells not just desserts, but an “emotional experience,” according to a realease about the stores’s opening at the end of October. The store, located in Liberty, Mo.’s town square, occupies 2,200 square feet of space and is outfitted with a 1950’s console TV that plays old movies and classic I Love Lucy episodes, as well as a wringer washer, pedal sewing machine, and 1920s porcelain oven.
“The general store-style retail, the inviting Mayberry-like feel,” the release says, “makes you wonder if you’ve just stepped back in time and Aunt Bee will surely be walking out of the kitchen…apron and all, at any moment.”
The ample space and the unique atomosphere lends itself to group meeting space, says Rossi. The store makes itself available, at no cost, as a field trip destination for senior centers, book club meetings and the like.
Rossi came up with the Grandma’s House concept when she was working as a mergers and acquisitions pro with an Overland Park-based brokerage firm. At the time, she says, she was researching business opportunities for a client who was looking to buy an established store. And while the Grandma’s House idea nailed her client’s parameters, the hitch was that the store didn’t actually exist.
Bouncing the store concept off friend Jennifer Sherwood, an executive sales pro with a national wholesale food company, the two women decided to make a go of it. With each partner bringing a blend of business, marketng and operational expertise to the table, the startup was born.
While Grandma’s House is simple and old-fashioned in its appeal, the business isn’t. With plans to franchise the concept in the spring, Rossi and Sherwood have their eyes peeled on seeing Grandma’s House stores around the country. Locally, Rossi says, she’s fielded interest from Lee’s Summit, Parkville and Overland Park. Around the country, interest has sprouted from Texas and Florida.
Rossi wouldn’t disclose startup costs, but says sales are going gangbusters. In the run up before Christmas, “it’s been nonstop,” she says.
The store’s web address is ILoveGrandma’sHouse.com.