With new partnerships in their future, this homegrown Oxford business has hit the lottery.
Karen Kurr never dreamt twelve years ago that her love for cooking might one day consume much of her time and be an employment base for others. NoTime2Cook is now on an upward spiral with no ceiling in sight.
HottyToddy.com: Karen, before we begin discussing Kroger and then Wal-Mart, let’s turn the clock back to your production capabilities in 2005.
Karen Kurr: Steve, if you take 2005 as our base production year, we have increased tenfold. Today, we can produce 1000 units per day compared to 10 units in 2005.
HottyToddy.com: That’s major! What does the Wal-Mart opportunity present to NoTime2Cook?
Karen Kurr: It’s a game changer. Our initial trial launch with Wal-Mart will involve 250 stores with 6-8 different products to determine success.
HottyToddy.com: What’s the upscale potential if this trial is successful?
Karen Kurr: The next level would take us to 1,000+ stores. This would happen about a year out when we could also explore single serving sizes.
HottyToddy.com: I like the triple “S” for marketing purposes. Specifically, what are the products that Wal-Mart is considering?
Karen Kurr: Chicken & Dumplings; Chicken Pie; Chicken & Dressing; Poppy Seed Chicken; Chicken Tetrazzini; Crab & Mushroom Penne, Spinach Carolina, and Squash Supreme
HottyToddy.com: What is your most popular product?
Karen Kurr: Our microwaveable Chicken & Dumplings with Chicken & Dressing running a close second.
HottyToddy.com: Is the sky the limit?
Karen Kurr: Presently, we operate in a 5000 square foot facility with 60% production capacity available for the Wal-Mart launch. With added equipment and staff, our numbers double. As distribution grows, we’ll have some major decisions to make regarding plant expansion.
HottyToddy.com: Your suppliers must love you.
Karen Kurr: It’s a two-way street, Steve. Our suppliers work hard finding us the freshest ingredients possible, and they bring in requested items like our premium chicken coming from a local Mississippi plant. They also purchase from us and distribute NT2C to area restaurants, sororities, fraternities, groceries, and convenience stores. It’s a true partnership, and we’re proud that these relationships support local business and help bring more jobs to Mississippi.
HottyToddy.com: We haven’t yet addressed Kroger.
Karen Kurr: We have been in 250 Kroger stores in three divisions for two years. Our Kroger presence definitely helped us with Wal-Mart and the fact we are woman owned. Kroger has some 2500 stores, so there is ample opportunity there too.
HottyToddy.com: How does Wal-Mart go about selecting new
Karen Kurr: For us, it was Wal-Mart’s “Open Call,” a huge event Wal-Mart hosts every year to reach their commitment to purchase $250 billion in the USA made products by 2023. Any United States company can apply online. Once you’ve applied, you wait for an invitation. Then, you present and hope for a “Green Light” which is what we received at the end of our presentation.
HottyToddy.com: We understand that your small, somewhat secret (there go the three “S’s” again) company may be getting some national attention soon.
Karen Kurr: Yes, at Open Call, ABC World News Tonight interviewed me on their “Made in the USA” segment highlighting minority and woman-owned businesses. When it airs, I’ll share the link on our Facebook page.
HottyToddy.com: Beyond Kroger and being woman owned and operated, what else caught Wal-Mart’s eye?
Karen Kurr: First, the buyer loved the taste of our products. Secondly, she was impressed with our interactive labels and sustainable packaging. We went through a rebranding and label change a year ago which was a strategically good move for us. Our new labels focus on our scratch cooking, and our packaging utilizes 50% less material than our competitors.
HottyToddy.com: Are you thinking about going international?
Karen Kurr: Absolutely. I can envision our products in Canada and Mexico in the foreseeable future. In fact, the State of Mississippi has already approached us about exporting.
Karen Kurr is definitely an entrepreneur on the way up. In addition to the Oxford Kroger, you can find a wide array of NT2C products at the Shell Marketplace at Oxford Commons. For more information or to order online, visit notime2cook.com.
Once a relatively innocent hobby may now be on the verge of hitting the Powerball with or without the bonus number.
Steve Vassallo is a HottyToddy.com contributor. Steve writes on Ole Miss athletics, Oxford business, politics and other subjects. He is an Ole Miss grad and former radio announcer for the basketball team. Currently, Steve is a highly successful leader in the real estate business who lives in Oxford with his wife Rosie. You can contact Steve at firstname.lastname@example.org or call him at 985-852-7745.HERE!