While many entrepreneurs were hesitant to undergo new ventures during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Wenday Cooper saw a time as the perfect opportunity to open shop.
Cooper welcomed customers into Wenday’s Kitchen Boutique, 500 Willow Ave., on June 29. Her mission, she said, was to present an environment to patrons that not only offered delicious eats, but also a calming, healing ambiance.
“We specifically opened during this time,” Cooper told the Nonpareil. “… I always wanted to open a beautiful boutique with strong coffee, beautiful food, lovely desserts and beautiful shopping, and that’s exactly what we did.
“The pandemic has really devastated humanity, so me and the Lord said, ‘We think the world needs some sunshine, it needs a beautiful place where people feel loved and pampered with beautiful food.’ So, that’s what I did.”
Cooper, a Harlan native, has spent most of her adult life in Council Bluffs. She operated In Jesus’ Name, a nonprofit focusing on counseling, life skills and family education, from 2004-2010. She’s also a longtime Iowa Western Community College professor, teaching human services, addictive studies and counseling classes.
In October 2018, Cooper left Iowa and spent some time in Pensacola, Florida, to get a grasp on her true direction in life.
“I kind of just took a reprieve from life,” she said. “I was feeling a little burnout, so I went to Florida and just fell in love with myself and life in general again, and came home with a mission, a mission to do something really special here in Council Bluffs.”
Wenday’s Kitchen Boutique provides an assortment of offerings.
“We are a full coffee shop, full food, I’m a French chef by nature,” she said. “I’m a self-taught artist. I used to work for Catherine’s Catering … She (Catherine Underwood) taught me a lot. My mom, Thelma, I was sitting on her countertop at 3 years old just stirring and baking.
“And she has just been instrumental in my life.”
The business operates from 7 a.m. through 4 p.m. Tuesday through Friday; 8 a.m. through noon Saturday and is closed Monday. Evenings, Saturday afternoon and Sunday Wenday’s is closed for private parties, cooking classes and an assortment of other gatherings.
To see class offerings, those interested are encouraged to visit the event calendar on Wenday’s Kitchen Boutique’s website, wendayskitchenboutique.com.
Cooper said she views her business as much more than an eatery. She wants it to serve as a place where people can gather, chat and feel comfortable and safe. She wants the shop to exude a welcoming vibe.
“We are unique because I am not a restaurant, I don’t want to be a hustle-y, bustle-y, kind of place,” she said. “I want people to come in and sit in my Zen area, which is a beautiful couch area and take a nap, you know what I mean? I don’t care if you have one penny or if you have $100 million, I am going to treat you the exact same way.
“What you get here that is different is that this is really an experience, it’s not just food and a cup of coffee.
“Everything is made and done with love.”
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