JCPenney building to become Cottonwood Kitchen Shop

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SHERIDAN — The preservation of the historic buildings lining Main Street remain an integral part in maintaining the integrity of the heart of Sheridan. Cottonwood Kitchen Shop owner Jessica Garrelts understands the need to preserve the originals on Main and makes that her focus while renovating the historic JCPenney storefront into Cottonwood’s new home.

Tye Bach, Garrelts’ brother and The Pony Grill & Bar owner, heads up the renovation plans, with help from he and Garrelts’ father, Martin Bach, and Garrelts’ husband, Jeff. The three, along with Vernon Cherni, started stripping the inside of the building late this fall and plan to restore some of the building’s original charms, starting with the classic hardwood floors hidden underneath rows of tiles.

Asbestos slowed down the refurbish of the floors but will be taken care of soon.

The authentic JCPenney tiles grace the entrance to the building, and the crew removed paneling from the tairs leading to the second floor to reveal its first display of wooden handrails.

Jeff Garrelts attributed much of the demolition’s success to the city of Sheridan’s building inspectors and their cooperation with working to obtain building permits and working through other regulations.

“It’s nice to see help in those areas instead of bureaucracy,” Garrelts said. “I’d never been through that before, so that’s been a great thing that’s made our life easier.”

The focus on historical preservation helps the cause, too.

“If we were trying to demo stuff, there might be some concerns, but we’re trying to save as much as we possibly can,” Garrelts said.

Throughout the renovation, the team discovered the original JCPenney tile at the entrance, red brick and stone walls hidden behind paneling, wood floors underneath the tile floor and a window upstairs that had been covered by paneling, as well.

“We’re just excited to be doing it, excited for the community, and hopefully we can get it done without too many hiccups,” Garrelts said.

A crew will remove the tile flooring within the next week or two, and starting Jan. 1, the Garrelts plan to secure their building permit and start “coming back in with the new.”

Along with the new facility, Cottonwood Kitchen will expand its service offerings for the community. Jessica Garrelts looks forward to spreading out the inventory on the main floor and providing cooking classes for the community on the second floor.

“No plans for the basement as of yet besides storage for us.” Garrelts said. “But we are brainstorming some ideas for that space, too.”

A small kitchen area on the first floor will help shop staff prepare samples and demos of food items for customers. The second floor’s cooking-class area will feature local food extraordinaires and culinary college students.

“We’ve been visiting briefly with the college about it, but we plan to get more involved with them and local chefs, and also we’ve been visiting with the local food (providers),” Garrelts said. “We want to try and involve as much of the community as we can and make it a shared space almost.”

The daily positive customer feedback about the move calmed Garrelts’ nerves, and she appreciates the excitement from the community. The Cottonwood Kitchen Shop anticipates a grand reopening mid-spring 2018.

By |Dec. 12, 2017|

About the Author:

Ashleigh Fox joined The Sheridan Press in October 2016 as the public safety and city government reporter before moving into the managing editor position in November 2018. She is a native of Colorado and graduated from Biola University in Los Angeles, CA. Before working in Sheridan, she worked as a sports editor for the Sidney Herald in Sidney, Montana. Email Ashleigh at:


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