Workers diverted to build a dream

Monday, October 17, 2011

Terry and Sheila Steele spent the past three-and-a-half years building the business of their dreams.

The couple recently opened Steele Crest Winery at 2055 Route Y, near Jackson.

The couple also owns Jackson Door and Window and couldn't bear to lay off their employees when the housing industry went flat, so they decided to put them to work creating a winery.

"I had to lay them off if I didn't do something, so I said, ‘You guys help me build this winery,'" said Terry Steele. "Everything is handmade, even the chairs you sit on."

The three-acre winery has a 3,000-square-foot wine tasting and restaurant building with large decks and ample outdoor seating.

The winery is open for lunch and dinner serving pizzas, kebabs, open face sandwiches, cheese platters, appetizers and more using only fresh ingredients, Terry Steele said.

Steele Crest offers five fruit wines, seven white wines, iced tea wines and six red wines.

Thirteen wines are available for free tastings from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

Live music is also played each weekend in the winery's gazebo, which looks like a 1920s gas station decorated with vintage signs.

"I like seeing old things come back to life," Terry Steele said. "That's really my passion."

* is a new website created to connect landlords and tenants in the Cape Girardeau and Jackson areas. The website has a comprehensive database of available residential rental properties along with an array of searchable and customizable features. provides a searchable database that prospective tenants can access for free. Tenants can search by over 60 criteria such as price, size, pet policy and parking. Users can create an account that will allow them to save their search, contact the landlord and compare properties. By purchasing credits, landlords will have the option to include several pictures, detailed listings and a link to their website if applicable. In addition, the website offers a one-time loading of properties and activating them only when vacant. Rent Check LLC was founded by local entrepreneurs Rhett Hendrickson, Jennifer Hendrickson and David Soto Sr.

* The United Way of Southeast Missouri kicked off its 2011 Small Business Blitz last week. Two-person teams made up of professionals from area businesses will help educate small-business leaders about the benefits of United Way. "Each year we recruit community professionals to make ‘the ask,'" said United Way campaign director Kim Voelker. "This approach has proved to be very effective the last several years. A successful Blitz will give us a jump-start on our 2011 campaign goal of $950,000 and will also increase the awareness of community needs." This year's Small Business Blitz is headed by Lisa Rodman of The Bank of Missouri and Becka Hollis of Montgomery Bank. They will be assisted by teams from the Bank of Missouri, Wells Fargo Home Mortgage, Montgomery Bank, State Farm, Edward Jones, United Land Title, Northwestern Mutual and Regions Bank. The teams have until Friday to turn in their pledges. Their successes will be celebrated and recognized at the 2011 United Way Campaign Victory Party in early 2012.

* Doctors Express in Cape Girardeau recently received confirmation of accreditation through Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments. The standards were established by the federal government in 1988 to ensure the accuracy, reliability and timeliness of patient test results regardless of where the test was performed. The accreditation means that patients undergoing DNA testing at Doctors Express in Cape Girardeau will receive reliable results in a timely manner. To receive the accreditation, Doctors Express underwent proficiency testing on all of its techniques and daily procedures for testing human samples and reporting results. Doctors Express, at 465 S Mount Auburn Road, is a walk-in urgent care center, open every day of the week with extended hours.

Southeast Missourian business editor Melissa Miller may be contacted at 388-3646 or

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