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June 05, 2006

Jenny's Country Kitchen closed

Here's one of those rare instances where I might have been right. The Web site for Jenny's Country Kitchen, a national gift and gourmet food company in Dover, is currently displaying the following message. I have no idea when it went up:

Jenny's Country Kitchen is currently closed. We can not accept any orders at this time. However, if our products become available in the future, we will notify all current customers, or you can go to this website to get up to date information concerning the state of Jenny's Country Kitchen.

Thank you for your understanding during this time. We apologize for any inconveniences this may have caused you.

Thank You!

Now back on Sept. 6 in 2005, I guessed that an ad in the Post-Bulletin might mean Jenny's was for sale.
It was listed "Business Opportunities" as a "National Gift & Gourmet Company For Sale."

While it did not list the name of business, the description fit Jenny's to a T and the contact e-mail address is at jennyscountrykitchen.com.

When I first wrote about Jenny's in spring of 2003, they had six employees. Here's a little bit from a Holly Ebel story that same spring followed by some of the classified listing:

If you were to drive through Dover, you might think that the enormous pole barn at the end of Main Street might hold all sorts of farm equipment, this being farm country. A small sign on the door, however, tells another story: Jenny's Country Kitchen.

Step inside, and you are greeted by displays of gourmet goodies ranging from flavored coffee creamers, to cookie, bread and soup mixes, coffees and all sorts of kitchen items, many bearing the Jenny's Country Kitchen label.

"People are always a little surprised when they come here," said Sue Andring, office manager of this multi-million-dollar business.

In addition to the cozy gift shop, the building houses a modest kitchen where new products are developed and tested, corporate offices and 9,000-square-feet of warehouse space stacked with pallets of products.

The "Jenny" on the label is Jenny Wood, who with her husband, Dan, moved their business from Lincoln, Neb., to Dover in January 2002. Why Dover?

"They looked all over because her family is in the area, and Dover offered them great incentives," Andring said.

What began as a cottage industry in 1991 with Wood selling dessert coffee creamers and bread mixes at local farmers markets and craft fairs has developed into an extensive product line. The dessert creamers come in any number of flavors, including English toffee, cherry vanilla and cookies and cream. There are also flavored cocoas, teas and lemonades.

While some of the drinks come in individual-serving packets, others are in attractive, reusable glass-handled mugs. The mixes are all manufactured in Chicago, then sent to Dover. Among their accounts are hundreds of gift shops and retailers such as Marshall Field, Nordstrom, Marshalls and TJ Maxx. That this all happens from a pole barn in the middle of what used to be a cornfield is a testament to entrepreneurship.

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They should have joined BNI when they had the chance!

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