Local businesses are feeling the effects of the pandemic, and new establishments are facing unique challenges. One new business in downtown Davenport is off to a good start after dealing with setbacks.

Cookies & Dreams opened in downtown Davenport in September. Two weeks before the start of the pandemic, the game plan for the business was finalized. Cookies & Dreams owner Stephanie Sellers said the renovations were delayed. 

“The construction on this building took much much longer than we anticipated because of COVID, because people weren’t working,” she said. 

They have struggled to keep necessities in stock due to shipping restrictions. 

“We couldn’t get items or products in, getting ingredients has been a huge challenge, and I would say we use some pretty unique ingredients,” she said. 

She said the uncertainty of the U.S. economy is challenging. 

“It’s been really difficult I would say mentally and emotionally for all of us that work in this industry [and] who run businesses in this industry,” she said. 

Jessica Niggebrugge, the shop’s general manager, said the pandemic has taken a toll on her wellbeing. 

“Dealing with the shutdown has been mentally exhausting,” she said. 

Gloves, masks and sanitizer are in high demand, which is an added expense.  

“But at the same time though, we want to protect everyone so we’ll go the extra mile to do that,” she said. 

The business is led by women, which Niggebrugge said is empowering. 

“It’s been such a beautiful experience for all of us just being able to collaborate with each other, I mean, we sit in the office and we get so excited [when sharing ideas],” she said. 

The women hope to be role models for the next generation of female entrepreneurs. Assistant manager Annie Dunn-Crouch said she loves surrounding herself with the other “cookie queens” and paying it forward. 

“It’s amazing to be able to feel like I can give that to other people as well. It’s just a gift. Absolutely a gift,” she said.