Sharing sweets and God

As customers grip their coffee cups or hold sweet treats to their lips, Tracy Helder believes God has a hand in it.
Marie Havenga
Aug 31, 2013

Helder, a 1985 Grand Haven High School graduate, opened New Creation Coffee, Cookies & Bars recently at 13040 U.S. 31, in the same strip mall as Mancino's.

Following appendix surgery last fall, Helder said she didn't want to return to her job as a Subway restaurant manager.

“I started praying about it and what I was supposed to do,” said Helder, who owns the coffee shop with her husband, Chris. “This is where God has led us.”

Many of the sweet treat recipes come from Chris' mom, Shirley. Tracy's sisters, son and nephew pitch in with production and operations.

“My family has just been wonderfully supportive through this whole thing,” Helder said.

Helder said the coffee shop is a bit of an evangelical platform, offering free Christian literature.

“I feel my gift from God is hospitality,” she said. “Every person that walks through the door is a blessing. They're not just a customer. We're here if they need help finding a church or if they need help, we steer them. I really feel God has moved me to minister this way.”

Helder said she has always enjoyed cooking and baking, but a life-changing event led her to opening the coffee shop.

“I had always believed in God, but had never owned it personally,” Helder said. “On Dec. 29, 2010, Jesus came and sat on my lap in the church and my life has been different ever since. He made me a new creation.”

She derived her business name from a verse in Corinthians that speaks about a new creation.

Helder started with coffee, then slowly added baked goods, including Shirley Helder's famous cherry bars.

“We bake something new every day,” Helder said. “We bake 95 percent of our stuff right here. We do candies, cookies, cupcakes and we're going to be doing cake decorating.”

If customers want to bring in a recipe they'd like to try, Helder and her family will make that, too. That was her son Joe's idea.

Next spring, she plans to add picnic catering with homemade salads and sandwiches.

“I think that's going to be good,” she said. “You can order a pizza anywhere. You can't call just anywhere and say I want fresh homemade macaroni salad.”

Helder said she expects business to pick up when school resumes next week. She hopes teachers, parents and students stop by to get coffee and treats.

“This is a great location,” she said. “Everyone in this strip mall is Christian. It's kind of amazing we all got in the same place.”


Creed Bratton

“This is a great location,” she said. “Everyone in this strip mall is Christian. It's kind of amazing we all got in the same place.”

God forbid Grand Haven has any diversity.


What a great sounding place. Can not wait to stop by soon.

I wish you all the best. Ignore the haters.


AWESOME news! May you be blessed with many customers... and thank you for sharing your vision/story from God!


It is a beautiful place. Creed, your Christianophobia is showing. No one is barred from opening a place nearby. Rejoice that good business is growing!


You have a terrific place! Trust me, those who haven't been into this shop, it is more than worth it to put it on your list of places to try. Their special lemonade with fresh mint, etc. is out of this world delicious... My husband doesn't like lemonade but will drink this every day of the week! Their muffins, cookies, etc. are just right for soothing your sweet tooth and the coffee is always warm and delicious! Tracy, keep up the good work!


Isn't it a sin to be addicted to caffeine? It seems ironic that your god would have you open a shop so full of sin. But the Christian liquor store next to your shop will calm your coffee jitters.
Easy on the treats dear, Gluttony is also a sin...


yes, seems like they would have opened something called The 5 Fishes & 2 Loaves!
Great comment on the Christian liquor store, reminds me of a joke...


I am praying for you phpiper0!


Praying is pointless. It doesn't do anything. I have prayed for "God" to kill me. I have prayed for "God" to heal my mother's cancer. These seem like simple task for an all powerful entity. But your "God" did not do anything. Pray that something bad happens to me, it doesn't matter, prayer does nothing.

deuce liti

Ask not what God can do for you, but what you can do for God.


Pushy religious people, despise them. Watch out PF, you are not allowed beliefs other than their god around here without getting worthless prayers & preaching thrown at you. Thanks for the warning b4 I cruised in there Trib.


Who said he was not allowed beliefs? It sounds more like you are both attempting to stop us from having our beliefs using ridicule.. Live and let live. If you the business in this article is not for you then the solution is simple. Don't patronize it. They are not out to get you!


Thanks, I definitely won't. Yes they are out to get you (to believe like they do)
I get itt, it is all about you on here.
Someone posts what you don't like and you spew prayer at them. Live and let live? You need to 'save' them ("I'll pray for you pfpiper")! Have your god take over their brain and make them think like you. Religious people just can't leave it alone when someone believes differently from them, period (watch the comments). They have to preach or 'pray' for you. Well, fine, do it. Just do it privately instead of thinking everyone needs 'saving', thanks.

deuce liti

Spare me this mockery of deliberation. A person posts comments to express themselves in full disclosure of the knowledge that others will respond either favorably or otherwise.

Don't tell me you are shocked that someone posts anti-religious rhetoric and the people respond with pro-religious sentiment.

Hook. Line. Sinker.


I am concerned that a person who thinks God sat on her lap, is not locked up in a mental institution. If God was real, he has some really crooked priorities. Instead of trying to fix a real problem, like wars, starving children, natural disasters, etc,. He is busy sitting on a random lady's lap in Grand Haven to discuss opening a coffee shop, that his book claims it to be a sin to drink the said beverage. You all seem intelligent, lets use some common sense. Do not use God to try and sell a few extra java's. Sinner


I am an atheist who does not care what anyone else believes. You are an idiot.


Wow pfpiper0... You are really deluded, angry and misinformed!


Live and let live indeed! How anyone could have such a major objection to someone declaring their religion and opening a coffee shop is beyond me. If you don't like it, don't go there - I probably won't, but many will, so good for Ms. Helder! I wish you great success.

I will say that there is a bit of irony in having a Christian liquor store - then again, I must suspect they are not taking the evangelical angle (haven't been in there to see, either.)


Alrighty! Good talk!


Wishing you all the best! Thank you for your courage to open a new business, and to praise God! Can't wait to visit !

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