Hometown News For Orange County, Texas

Unique gift shop offers Alaska coffee products, candles and more

Did you know there is a coffee that comes from Alaska? Did you know the darker the roast, the less the caffeine? Did you know this Alaskan coffee is available in Orange?

You can find it in an outhouse display at Sweet Creations located at 3515 Mockingbird, Suite 1. Coleen James built the display with the help of her daughter with 150-year-old wood from a house in Jasper that was being demolished. She rescued the wood because it was set to be burned. James decided to add the coffee to the shop's offerings after receiving the "outhouse blend" as a gift from her little sister.

"I really liked the coffee and there are all these different blends," said James. "It just tastes different. If you like dark roast, this right here is really good. It's called Black Satin, or they have this right here, the Arctic Wolf. It's too dark for me. My favorite...is the Outhouse, Alaska's Best and the Fog Riser, because they are all medium roast."

A first-time customer, Sylvia Bland, came into the shop during the interview, specifically looking for the coffee.

Other items Sweet Creations is known for are oil lamp diffusers and oils, dip and baking mixes, candied jalapeños, salt lamps, and the 'incredible' plant stand which is an armature that can be used to create a variety of decorations and gift items. With a little notice, James can also create a gift basket with mixes, coffee or whatever you desire.

She will be hosting a 'tasting' for the coffee and various mixes Monday, Dec. 22, 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Everything in the shop will be 20 percent off during the event.

James opened Sweet Creations 10 years ago, the last three at its current location at Mockingbird Ln. She also owns Sparkling Clean, a home cleaning service, which she started 27 years ago. Sparkling Clean covers the entire Golden Triangle, including Lake Rayburn.

Mrs. Bland asked, "Can I throw in something else? I know for a fact, because the lady across the street from me used them. They were fantastic!" Mrs. Bland said her neighbor has since passed on, but said she witnessed how well they took care of what she needed.

Like all area businesses, Sweet Creations/Sparkling Clean was hurt due to the pandemic. Sparkling Clean was only shut down about six months, but it was much longer for Sweet Creations. It has been a further struggle because both work vehicles James used for the cleaning business are out of commission. She has not had the money to replace them, so she spends a lot of time transporting workers, which cuts down on the time she can devote to the shop.

Another major inconvenience, Google has listed her business as permanently closed and she has not been able to get it straightened out. Shopping local really helps area businesses like Sweet Creations stay in business during these trying times. You can shop there 9 a.m.-4 p.m., Tuesday – Saturday.

On a sidenote, James started cooking for the elderly on Thursdays, two years ago.

"It's my mission for the Lord, to cook for the elderly," said James. She started out cooking for 24 people, now she is up to 44 meals. She does all the cooking by herself. Her pastor helps her deliver them each Thursday.

What made her start this mission?

"I can't really tell you. Somebody woke me up in the middle of the night and said, 'Coleen you gotta help these people.'" James questioned who or what the voice was. "Like I ain't got nothing else to do."

James said she went on about her business and did not think any more about it, until it happened again. She was awakened about midnight and the voice said, "Coleen, you need to get up and help these people."

She called her pastor and told him, "Somebody's talking to me and I don't know who it is." Her pastor told her it was the Lord. She started cooking for some of her elderly cleaning clients. It grew from there and has continued. "He's helped me out through the years since my husband passed away and I just need to help someone else." She lost her husband, Johny, eight years ago.

'Tis the season. Pay it forward. Shop Local.


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