Kim Oster-Holstein has been dreaming about pretzels for what seems like forever. Now the co-founder, co-president and CIO (Chief Inspiration Officer) of Kim & Scott’s Gourmet Pretzels, she is glad she dared to dream.
In 1994, when Kim and Scott were dating, they began a mural painting business, but after having to work outside during a cold Chicago March, they shifted gears. "Scott had listened to me go on and on for months about making pretzels. The very idea of their warm, delicious flavors kept us working through the cold," Kim recalls.
With their minds made up, they dove head-first into the world of pretzels, selling them wherever they could. By April 2006, they started their own pretzel-making factory.
Happily married with small kids and gourmet pretzels available wholesale or at Barnes & Noble Cafés and Borders Seattle’s Best locations, Kim still wanted more. That’s when they found a perfect match with a location at the Kohl Children’s Museum. And the number of locations keep growing.
Their pretzels’ flavors appeal to the child in everyone with sweet offerings like chocolate chip, cookie dough and brownie. Or, make a meal of savory options such as pizza, grilled cheese or the popular spinach/feta pretzel.
Kim admits business and family life get twisted together. She believes her role as mom to Sonia, 7, Daniella, 4, and Aiden, 2, influenced her desire to make the company’s gourmet pretzels as healthy as possible. "For years we’ve been revving up our pretzels with good ingredients. It’s good karma and it’s good business."
Beyond nutrition concerns, Kim combines good parenting with good business sense. "Having our business has enhanced our family life," she says. "Building a business together from the ground up was excellent training for us when we became first-time parents." Owning their own business also gives Kim and Scott flexibility to be present at their children’s activities.
Kim is still dreaming, dreaming of twisting life, family and pretzels together for many years to come.