Kelowna popcorn company gets boost to adapt amid pandemic | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Kelowna popcorn company gets boost to adapt amid pandemic

Image Credit: FACEBOOK/Queen B Kettle Korn
March 13, 2021 - 11:40 AM

A family-owned Kelowna popcorn company is getting pandemic-times support from the province through its Food Business Refresh Program.

Queen B Kettle Korn is a family-owned popcorn company based in Kelowna that started in 2002. Its products are crafted using non-genetically modified organism popcorn and gluten-free ingredients that can be found in many grocery stores, retailers and at markets throughout B.C., according to a press release issued by the province.

For owner Johanna Faccini and her family, COVID-19 presented a series of new challenges that forced their small business to adapt, according to the province.

Faccini has been making and selling popcorn year-round at Okanagan stores and fruit stands in the summer, she said, in the press release.

"In 2019, I moved into a shared space with a non-competing food processor who had to close due to the pandemic. Sales dropped due to the COVID-19 market impact, and now being the lone tenant, it got overwhelming trying to decide the best way to stay in business," she said.

The Food Business Refresh Program is a $650,000 cost-shared program helping local businesses find new opportunities and pivot from markets disrupted by COVID-19, according to the province.

Launched in October 2020, the program helps participants access mentorship services like business coaching and food industry expertise, along with implementation support to help small businesses adapt to the changing conditions of the pandemic.

"The Refresh Program coaches, information, expert advice and resources are exceptional," Faccini said. "The program helped me identify my strengths and understand how I can take advantage of my installed capacity, brand and market trends to increase sales. To accomplish this, I learned that I need to develop a marketing strategy and promotional materials to increase visibility. This will help lead to more sales locally and assist in attracting distributors and wholesalers outside the Okanagan Valley."

This funding is part of B.C.'s $10-billion COVID-19 response. Since the program launched in October 2020, more than 70 small businesses have benefited from the Refresh Program. The Province has invested approximately $550,000 through the Food Business Refresh Program to strengthen small businesses in B.C., with an additional $100,000 provided by Western Economic Diversification Canada.

B.C.'s food and beverage processing industry has almost 3,000 establishments and is the second-largest manufacturing sector in the province.

 


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