Serving Minnesota and Northern Iowa.

Too much milk? Make soap

By Janet Kubat Willette

Date Modified: 11/22/2012 6:59 PM

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DOVER, Minn. — Too much of a good thing opened a door for entrepreneur Shanna Wegman.

Wegman's husband, John, bought her two milking goats, Mrs. Milly and Sweet Thing, in 2007.

Shanna was drinking the milk, making yogurt and making cheese, but she still had more milk.

One day, her mother-in-law, Jo-Ann Wegman, made hand soap with goat's milk.

Shanna was intrigued. She soon began making soaps and that year gifted them to family and friends. In spring 2008, Simple Soaps for Simple Folks formally became a business.

Shanna made her soaps at home, with soap supplies spilling into nearly every room and one upstairs bedroom furnished as the retail soap shop. She sold the soaps from her home and at farmers markets.

As the popularity of her soaps grew, people started showing up at her home in the evening to shop.

Her husband suggested it was time she find another place to house her business.

She found a cute, brick storefront right on Dover's Main Street, just a short drive from their certified organic dairy farm north of town.

Shanna said she could have easily went to a larger town, but she wanted to stay in Dover.

The couple invested time and money in the old grocery store building, renovating the inside into a cozy shop. They kept the original checkout counter and the wood floors.

"I wanted to keep the small town feel to this," Shanna said.

She opened the storefront a year ago this month and is celebrating her year with a Celebrating You event.

The four-day event includes wine, hors d'ouevres, a chance to win a soapmaking class for 10 and many other door prizes. Celebrating You is noon to 6 p.m. Nov. 8 and Nov. 11 and 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Nov. 9 and Nov. 10. The store is located at 218 N. Main St., Dover.

The shop fits with Shanna's philosophy of doing business with people she knows and creating community. Sustainability is important to her as is their organic lifestyle. Organic isn't a business choice for them, Shanna said.

Shanna and John farm with his parents, Jo-Ann and Wayne, and John's brother, Bernie. They milk 60 cows, primarily Brown Swiss, Guerneys and crosses, and sell their milk to Organic Valley. The goats aren't certified organic, but are fed organic hay, barley, oats and ear corn.