EagleHerald Staff Writer
STEPHENSON—The fruit jams and greenhouse herbs that Heidi Burie stocked when The Recipe Box in Stephenson opened this past summer have given way to holiday ornaments, candle holders and Christmas bakeware.
Order a New York-style cheesecake for the holidays now, Burie recommends, so she can be sure to have one for you next month. She has a few pumpkin roll cakes for walk-ins this week, but call and inquire to be sure they aren’t gone before you get there.
After a grand opening event held in October, she’s seen a lot of repeat customers. “We really got a great response from the community,” she said Friday.
The Recipe Box at s310 Menominee St. in Stephenson is holding a holiday open house from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Nov. 26 and Nov. 27.
Burie, 50, who loves to cook and bake for others, helped out in her mother’s home décor and floral store in Iron Mountain as a teenager, and now Betzy Douglas said she is helping her daughter live out her own dream of owning a store. “You just pay if forward, kid, that’s what it’s all about,” said Douglas, owner of Perennial Gardens in Iron Mountain.
Douglas said one advantage to running a business is not having to answer to anyone. She seems pleased Burie has forged her own path in retail with The Recipe Box.
“I think it’s a darling little shop, and I think Stephenson is very blessed by having her services. She’s a very hard worker and she’s just dedicated—dedicated to doing a good job,” Douglas said.
Burie’s freshly made pasties, soups, casseroles and dessert items sell out some weeks, along with home-based cinnamon bread Douglas bakes and delivers on Tuesdays.
Burie’s pasties are a favorite among customers. She explained the heritage of the rolled-crust meat-and-vegetable pies in allowing coalminers to hold them by the edges to avoid consuming dirt from the coal mines.
Burie said she prepares and sells over 200 traditional pasties a week, made from ground beef, ground pork, potato, onion, carrot and rutabaga. “We try to keep them in stock. They’ve been selling so fast.”
She was inspired to make mini casseroles in small tins after an elderly friend said he was having a can of beans for dinner. Burie likes variety, and each week offers a different menu, from a creamed chicken with pasta and spinach soup to a to a pot-sticker noodle bowl. Upcoming desserts are maple-glazed apple blondies and chocolate peanut-butter poke cake.
“I try to shake it up,” she said. Pasties sell for $5.50. Mini casseroles and desserts sell for $7 each. A 16-ounce portion of soup with dinner roll and cookie goes for $6.95.
Burie said she called the shop The Recipe Box because she loves to cook and bake. “I’m kind of a cookbook and recipe fan. I have probably more recipes on my phone than anything else,” she said. A recipe box sits on the refrigerator at the store.
Burie learned how to make pasties about 10 years ago. “When I started working at Saz’s (Pub and Pizza restaurant), they said, ”Why don’t you make them here?” she recalled.
Now she’s making them for her own store. Joining Burie at The Recipe Box is friend Penny Bromund, who owns the building. “We both worked for Saz’s. We became instant friends,” Burie said. Bromund’s finance Mark Marklein remodeled the 1,400-square-foot store, which previously was a laundromat. Angela “Angie” Harris works as the storefront manager.
Bromund also serves as purchasing manager and buys the shop’s giftware. “I love to shop,” Bromund said. “I go through every store and I like to see what they’re putting up front and what people like to buy. I mix it up with whatever people are asking for.”
She’s stocking ugly Christmas sweaters, dog shirts and baby onesies for the holidays now. But T-shirts, sweatshirts, signs and kitchen towels with humorous sayings are always popular.
“I like seeing the people come in and laugh and giggle when they see the stuff. We have a lot of gag gifts,” said Bromund, who also works as a bartender at Saz’s at night. “I like seeing the people. I’m a people person,” she said.
Bromund said another benefit of working at The Recipe Box is enjoying Burie’s freshly made food. “She’s always cooking something in the kitchen. We have a nice warm lunch,” she said.
For Burie, the business is a blessing. “I do things on my own timeline, which is nice. I like to have the freedom,” she said. “Opening a store at 50 wasn’t the smartest, but I’ve always wanted it and this is when God gave it to me, so this is when I’m doing it.”