Local 4-year-old Elena Sanderson started an activity she calls “Elena’s Coneys” on May 2 with the help of her parents, Michaela and Colton Sanderson.
“Elena’s Coneys” is basically a service that allows the Sandersons’ friends, family and community members to take part in helping Elena’s passion to be experienced.
It was announced through social media when they will be serving food, and during that time people are asked to pull up outside the Sandersons’ residence in Washington Court House, and wait in their vehicles. Their order is then taken and the meal(s) brought out.
According to Michaela, Elena has always enjoyed pretend play especially when using her toy kitchen. She would often make pretend meals.
“When quarantine started, we were brainstorming ideas to have some fun while also staying healthy and safe,” explained Michaela by email. “Elena decided she would like to open her own restaurant. I was a little put off at first, because I had absolutely no idea how I could make that happen for her. Then, she came up with the idea of Elena’s Coneys, and Colton and I brainstormed from there.”
“We pick a day every few weeks to open. After announcing our opening, we try our best to get a vague idea of how many are coming, though we always plan for more,” wrote Michaela. “We have done this two ways. We have had people place their orders through Facebook Messenger ahead of time. On the last Coney Day we had, everyone filled out their own menu upon arrival, and we filled orders that way.”
The meals given out consist of the coneys with various toppings, chips, a homemade cookie and a drink.
“On coney day, we have so many wonderful friends who have volunteered to help us make up our meals. We are so thankful for great food and friendships,” wrote Michaela.
The cost of supplies are covered by Michaela and Colten, while Elena keeps any tips that are given to put in a savings account or to purchase toys she wants. Michaela explained that Elena has already purchased her own wooden playhouse.
According to Michaela, as they serve the food for free, they do not have any licenses.
“It is our hope that in the very near future, we will have our licenses and will be able to take our operation on the road. Elena’s dream is to own her very own food truck with all kinds of coneys,” wrote Michaela.
The following answers came from Elena, according to Michaela:
What is the most fun thing about your business?
“Giving the food to my customers!”
Who helps you with the coneys?
“Mommy, and daddy, and Nana, and Jo-Lynn, and Aunt Katy.”
Why did you want to start up your business?
“Because I love to cook, and so I can save money to buy a real food truck.”
What do you love about cooking?
“It makes my heart feel good to make stuff for other people, because I like doing things for other people.”
Elena’s Coneys can be followed on the Facebook page “www.facebook.com/elenasconeys/.” This is also the location where the family shares when they will be open and how to order.
“We are very proud of her drive and ambition,” wrote Michaela. “She has always had big dreams, and we feel that, as her parents, it is our duty to nourish and encourage those dreams. We would like to thank the community for supporting our sweet girl.”
Elena explained, “Thank you for coming to get coneys from me, and thank you for letting me do this with you. And I hope to see you sometime at Elena’s Coneys!”
Reach Jennifer Woods at 740-313-0355 or on Twitter @JennMWoods.