Last week, as I left Meriwether’s and wandered past Soul’s store-front inspiration, “Bloom Where You Are Planted,” I caught a glimpse of more sunflowers, leading me into the Kansas Country Store.
I must have looked hungry and lost because the kind lady that greeted me walked me straight back to the fudge booth, where I had the pleasure of meeting Sherry Brown, the store owner and Leavenworth’s sweet “Fudge Lady.” Shelly and her husband Don raised paint horses, beef cattle, and chickens before opening their shop back in 2000. In 2005 the store survived a flood with water levels about 4 feet high, and what had been a horse tack store, started from nothing and evolved into the family and pet one-stop shop it is today. It’s home to a large collection of Midwestern gifts, farm animal feed and more. The store history and story of resiliency is pretty amazing and with a proud smile, Sherry shares “We are survivors! We love this community!” As we chat and walk around the store together, she points to all the American-made gifts and shares how she is a proud supporter of the Midwest and other local small “mom and pop” shops and artists.
Sherry also explains how she is part of a military family and has a heart for the service members and families that come through this small town. She pauses for a moment to reflect on her gratitude for the folks from Fort Leavenworth who worked hard to help her and her husband clean-up after the 2005 flood.
I look around the store for a bit, and as I’m perusing the local fox art and jewelry, Sherry introduces me to Grace Hawley, another military spouse whose family was previously stationed here for CGSC and PCS’d back here this summer around the same time as our family. Lucky for me, Grace has lived where we are headed next, and openly shares a bit about the community, housing, schools, and vacation day-trips we will be able to take. It’s SO nice to hear positive things about our future home! She reminds me that our next home will be “what you make of it.” Agreed!
I love it when people are friendly and open and just willing to share and care about those who walk through their doors. I also love when spouses reach out and serve as a resource to other military spouses. I have met several new spouses these last couple of weeks and talked much about the need for bridges to the resources that are available to our families. I am so encouraged by their commitment to serve other military families and grateful for the courage they’ve had to step-up, join hands, and build a bridge to existing resources for veterans, children, and fellow military spouses.
I left the Kansas Country Store with the most delicious chocolate fudge I’ve ever tasted in my life—YUM! Y’all, I won’t lie, lately I’ve been feeling a bit like Bernie in an old childhood book I had titled The Do-Something Day, by Joe Lasker. As if I don’t already have enough to do, I could walk around town visiting with the locals, learning the town’s history, and supporting small businesses every day. I may need to do like Bernie and volunteer some time with each visit, because I feel so much reward just listening to the locals’ stories and learning from my Leavenworth neighbors.
We have new orders. The idea of leaving Kansas is bitter sweet, but meeting ladies like Sherry and Grace, reminds me that there are beautiful people and amazing military spouses everywhere we will PCS to…I just have to find them 😊
Friends, if you’re in need of horse tack, pet food and supplies, or good ‘ol Midwestern goods, you can find the Kansas Country Store on-line at: http://www.kansascountry.com/
You can also visit their Facebook page at:
Why not also stop by and say hi to Sherry, grab a seat and enjoy some fudge?!
Ciao for now!
p.s. I spied with my little eye…yup, you guessed it—I see the Kansas state animal everywhere I go these days!