At TS Bank we believe that a community is only as strong as its local businesses. This is why we have made it one of our top priorities to spotlight local businesses in Southwest, Iowa.
Backgrounds Coffee Bar & Boutique
Who are the owners of the business?
Sherry and Nick Keefe
Tell us about yourselves.
I was born and raised in Corning. My husband and I also raised our family here. I have worked at Hair Designers for 29 years, and became the owner three years ago.
How many employees do you have?
We have six part-time employees, not including our 2- 12-year-old delivery kids, who deliver weekdays 9 a.m. – 11 a.m. to the Main Street area.
Why did you want to own a business in Corning, Iowa?
I already own a salon & spa on Davis Ave. in the Main Street District. After the closing of the Fickle Frog a couple of years ago, those of us who loved fancy coffee drinks and gourmet beans for home coffee brewing really missed having those options available. I also had a vision of wanting to feature unique, one-of-a-kind, handcrafted items for sale in the boutique for artists that have an Iowa background somehow. I wanted the items to have a story to tell, along with being something not available at the mall, on Amazon, or in a big box store.
What do you like most about the community?
Our community is very supportive of each other, especially the Main Street and Chamber businesses. Our community has a lot of volunteer opportunities and people are willing to pitch in for the good of the community. I also appreciate how the large majority of the businesses take pride in their buildings by having great curb appeal and also the way they are able to function in a small town. We’re very fortunate to have great schools, a nice hospital, an amazing aquatic center, fitness center, and movie theater, along with a few dining choices. We also have great churches and civic groups that are always open to new members.
How are you personally involved in the community?
We are Adams Community Chamber members and try to participate in all the events we can. I am active in the First Presbyterian Church, with Vacation Bible School being a big event for me. I also enjoy volunteering at the Corning Specialty Care Nursing Home doing crafts with the residents and also reading to them. Although, I have not had an opportunity to do this for a few months while getting Backgrounds ready to open.
Where is your business located? What are your hours?
Backgrounds is located in the back of Hair Designers at 708 Davis Ave. Corning, IA. We encourage entrance either through the salon front door (during salon hours) or we have a back door entrance from the alley. We started out with our hours being from 8 a.m. – 6 p.m., but these are adjusting to meet the public’s need. Right now we are open from 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. After school starts later this month, we will be open 7 a.m. – 5 p.m.
What services do you offer?
We offer a large coffee and tea menu, as well as steamers and some confectionaries, along with to-go drinks, and a sit-down café environment for everyone to enjoy.
What do you offer that other businesses similar to you can’t?
We offer free Wi-Fi and provide a relaxing atmosphere for hanging out. We also feature items for sale that are either handmade, homemade or crafted by artists with an Iowa background. We have a weekday delivery service that we offer between the hours of 9 a.m. – 11 a.m. We would also like to let the public know that you can rent out our space for small parties and get-togethers.
We’re currently working on specials, including gift basket ideas for the holidays.
Anymore plans for the future?
We hope to host some Friday evening craft nights, and make our patio more inviting as a place to hang out when the weather is permitting.
Are you open to suggestions?
Absolutely! This is unchartered territory for me, so suggestions are always welcome.
Where do you want your business to be in five years?
I hope to have a steady stream of patrons that both utilize our to-go and sit down options. Daily coffee groups would be awesome!
Give your best pitch for why people should choose to shop local.
Shopping local keeps dollars, including tax dollars in our community. Supporting local small businesses helps all of us and keeps our downtown alive.
Is there anything else you would like to add?
I am very proud of the “look” of our coffee bar/boutique décor. I am a fan of repurposing & upcycling, so many of the items, furnishings and décor have a story to tell. Most items have some interesting local history behind them. We love to tell the story of how “This was once a gravel parking spot.”