WINDOM -- Nearly two months after assuming ownership of this city's downtown coffee shop, Kathy Crowell still seems a bit amazed by it all.

"I never dreamed I would be doing anything like this," she said Friday, when she and The Towne Perk hosted a grand-opening celebration. "It's something I always wanted to do, but I never thought it was possible."

Crowell and her husband, Don, utilized a family connection in acquiring the business. The business deal came together almost too quickly, Crowell explained.

"One day, my father-in-law said, 'I think Jodie has the Perk up for sale, and would I be interested?'" she said, adding that the pre-vious owner and her husband are cousins. "I said I'd have to think about it. Two days later, we were applying for our loan.

"She (Jodie) had said, 'I'd really like you to have it if you can work it out.' I didn't really have time to think about it, it happened so fast."

Crowell had worked for Jodie at The Towne Perk in 1999. She went on to work as assistant manager at the Freedom station in Windom for nearly 3½ years.

Though this is her first venture into the coffee shop/restaurant business, Crowell is confidently in the midst of making The Towne Perk her own.

"We changed the menu, and I'm in the process of putting in a small oven so we can have homemade cookies and homemade rolls," she said. "And almost all my soups are homemade because I love homemade soups. I make the best homemade vegetable beef soup ... second would be chicken and rice."

Crowell has also added panini sandwiches -- "grilled with no oil, so they're healthier" -- to the menu, which are available on marble rye and Italian bread. A selection of wrap-style sandwiches is also new, she said.

Smoothies and coffee -- including cappuccino and espresso drinks -- are also available to those who stop in. A gift shop is also planned inside the business, Crowell said.

Working beside Crowell is her long-time "best friend," Marsha Orr, along with other employees Joni Good and Kalie Byam. Cro-well's son, Chris, also lends a hand.

"If my father-in-law hadn't kept pushing, I wouldn't be where I am right now," Crowell said.

The Towne Perk, located at 965 Third Ave., is open from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. Saturday hours are being con-sidered as are Monday evenings, when other downtown businesses are open.

The phone number is (507) 831-0116.