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Sergeant Bluff Advocate

Spotlight on Business

Comfortable, well-lighted seating.

Cyndi Nelson and Sergeant Bluff’s Hawks Coffee Shop

A nice place to hang out

By Wayne Dominowski, SBA Editor

     (SB) – Seated in a comfortable lounge chair located near Hawks Coffee Shop huge front window, a customer passing by spotted me, smiled, and said: “This is a nice place to hang out, isn’t it.” Yes, I said while nodding to confirm her comment.
     Cyndi Nelson, owner, and manager of Hawks Coffee Shop (110 Gaul Dr.), started up three years ago and has grown exponentially since. Cyndi, if you didn’t know, is a living testament of entrepreneurship and it shows. Her unique coffee shop has exceeded expectations, evidenced by its popularity.
     The wife and partner of Matt Nelson – SB-L teacher and head baseball coach – the couple have two children: Makenna (15), and Parker (12). Originally from neighboring South Dakota, Cyndi earned her BS Degree majoring in Criminal Justice and minoring in Spanish at the University of South Dakota. She went on to the University of Iowa, where she earned a Master’s in social work.
     She intended on a career in law enforcement, but having entered the human services field, she made her way into child protective services and was deeply involved in the latter for some time. Cyndi later was a guidance counselor at a Nebraska school, followed by teaching positions at WITCC, Morningside University, and finally at the Area Education Association, where she was a Special Education Strategist.
      How does one earn degrees in criminal justice, the Spanish language, and human services, wind up starting up a coffee shop in the community of Sergeant Bluff?
Her educational background, she said, has assisted her in serving customers. “We do have people who in stopping by, visit, and in doing so sometimes share intense experiences.” One such customer told Cyndi that her husband was “battling cancer and that our coffee did not upset his stomach.” There are other such incidents.
     As a proprietor, Nelson not only enjoys serving her shop’s clientele, but her commitment to the community is vast and encompassing. She has worked with families in need, blood drives, community projects, RAGBRAI (2022), along with Christian support activities, and faith/church involvement. She has served as the secretary of the SB-L PTO, the Little League Board and the Sergeant Bluff Foundation Board.
     “I always loved planning parties – craft parties, adult proms, and the Amazing Race (Halloween),” she said. That led her to looking at what Sergeant Bluff needed, “…some place where I could do something like that, hold events, serve coffee, wine and beer and put together a place that people would like to hang out.”
     When the idea came to her about starting a coffee shop, she searched for a “big space where I could hold events and set up a retail wall.” Her goal included bringing in local persons who would add various baked goods and pastries.
     She found the location she was looking for at the mall located off S. Lewis Blvd., a cozy corner shop across from Building Blocks Pre-School & Child Care. 
     Cyndi named the shop after her stepfather, Ed Hawks, who passed away unexpectedly several years ago.  He was a South Dakota rancher who worked long hours and sacrificed so much and showed Cyndi that owning a small business can be rewarding, but it’s hard work.
     Ready. Set. Go!
     Cyndi did not know how well her coffee shop would take off. It didn’t take long for her to have her answer. 







   The customers came, and came, and came. In a short while, initially being helped by her brother, Bryan Braley, Cyndi found it necessary to hire staff. She hired students from Sergeant Bluff-Luton, starting off with three, the latter of which has grown to 25 part-time students today. She also brought in a manager. 
     The business has grown, and with it her outreach – like providing coffees and breakfast fare at Sunnybrook Community Church, located at 5601 Sunnybrook Dr., Sioux City, and stocking the concession stands at the SYA Baseball/Softball Field at Riverside, along with corporation events, and graduation parties. And that’s not all. “It’s great for baby showers, gender reveals – one family even held their Thanksgiving dinner here – birthdays, and other celebrations, meetings, and get-togethers,” she said.
The business, the staff, and the services have all increased, and so, too, has the menu.
      Starting off with coffee as its main staple, Hawks today offers a vast variety of coffee and flavored coffees, along with breakfast items – gourmet breakfast sandwich, breakfast pizzas – baked items (home baked Scones, Muffins, Quiche, French Toast selections, Coffee Cake, Fruit Turnovers, Cinnamon Rolls, Mini-Bread, and even gluten-free options). The lunch menu includes a Turkey-Bacon-Club Sandwich, California Flatbread, a Chicken Pesto Sandwich, Pepperoni Flatbread, Philly Cheese Steak Panini, and Roast Beef & Cucumber Sandwich, as well as a selection of other light lunch items.
     Drinks include quite a few cold brews produced in-house and features monthly drink specials. Desserts are replete with cupcakes, sugar cookies, smash cookies, cake pop, candy club and cheesecake. You can add the newest offering of Rolled Ice Cream, made in-house  – cookies and cream, monkey business, candy explosion, and coffee flavors.
     Red Bull drinks? Yes. In fact, the Hawks Coffee Shop has the largest sales of Red Bull in the Tri-State area. Smoothies, cappuccinos, and boba are also readily available.
     Reading this, is it no wonder that Hawks Coffee Shop is a popular go-to venue?
     If you haven’t already, are you ready for a special treat? You’ll find it every time at Hawks Coffee Shop.

Check out their menu online at,

or contact Cyndi Nelson at,

or call 712-271-2007.
Hours are Monday-Friday (6 a.m. – 5 p.m.),

Saturdays (8 a.m. – 4 p.m.),

and Sundays (8 a.m. – 4 p.m.).
Y’all stop by! You’ll be glad you did.

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