Culinary grads open up new business
Devin and Jenny Schroeder met while working at a Lincoln restaurant. They discovered they had a mutual love of the restaurant industry and were both graduates of Southeast Community College’s Culinary/Hospitality program more than a decade ago.
Fast forward to 2022 and they accomplished their dream of getting married, starting a family and opening their own business using their own recipes.
“We want people walking in with smiles and walking out with smiles,” Devin said about the new business, the Homestead Convenience Store and Schro Bros Pizza in Cortland.
The couple opened their business in spring 2022 after thinking long and hard about it during the pandemic. Devin’s dad owns the land, so it was an easy choice to build on that location. In addition, his five brothers work there, so it really is a family business in every sense.
“It’s very rewarding,” Devin said. “I put in more hours than I thought I ever could, but it doesn’t feel like I’m working.”
While Devin is at the business full time, Jenny still works outside of the home. The work starts early as they begin making breakfast burritos, as well as their signature pizzas with recipes they developed from their time at the College. With flavors like Buffalo Chicken, Chicken Bacon Ranch and Jenny’s favorite, the Homesteader (barbecue pork, green chile, mac ‘n’ cheese and barbecue drizzle), they use the skills they learned from SCC every day.
“We make all the dough from scratch, and all our ingredients are fresh, nothing pre-packaged, with higher quality meats and fresh veggies,” Jenny explained.
“SCC’s culinary program helped reinforce our love for food, and it really carried over to our careers,” Devin added. “From understanding flavor, creating our recipes and coming up with the sauce and the dough. Gerrine (Schreck Kirby), Rob (Epps), Jo (Taylor), Brandon (Harpster) (culinary instructors) were all of our influencers.”
The convenience store is stocked with many products made in Nebraska such as honey, beef jerky, wine, baked goods, coffee, lavender, and more. It’s a way to immerse themselves into the local community, as well as showcasing what Nebraska entrepreneurs have to offer.
“We’re a part of the community, and we want to support local businesses,” Devin added.
As for the future, they want to keep expanding on their pizza recipes and perhaps an opportunity for growth, whether it be another location or something bigger. In the short term, they want to be involved in the community of Cortland and give back whenever they can. They’re putting in bike racks for local cyclists and plan to have live music on the weekends.
“We’re part of the community, and we want the store to be part of the community, too,” Devin said.
The couple has a toddler, and are expecting another baby soon. Jenny graduated in 2009 with a degree in Food Service/Hospitality, and Devin graduated in 2012.
If you’re interested in keeping up with Homestead Convenience, go to its Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/HomesteadConvenience