It started at the farmer’s market in 2010. A lot of hard work and two babies later, Katie Young’s Klondike Kettle Corn was big enough that she could quit her day job and commit to popcorn full time. Then came the pandemic.
Young had been growing the event catering side of the business — weddings, trade shows, festivals and anywhere else that needed to feed a lot of people on a tight budget — so when the world shut down Klondike Kettle Corn did stumble for a week or two. But it didn’t last long.
“It’s pretty incredible — we were never faced with shutting down our business,” she says. “Our sales actually started doing really well.”
When panic-buyers cleared the shelves at the local independent grocer, Klondike Kettle Corn had extra space to stock their specialty flavours. When people sheltered at home and craved comfort food on family movie nights, they ordered Klondike Kettle Corn online. When transplanted Yukoners across the country couldn’t visit, loved ones sent Spruce Tip & Dill or Birch Caramel corn for a taste of home.
“I had no idea how big it could get. Five years ago I thought I’d saturated the market,” Young says. “So much of our success has to do with the community’s support — whether through Yukon business development resources or through our customers buying local and sharing the love on social media.”
TELUS Small Business Hero
That early morning corn popping and unwavering community support has now crowned Katie Young a TELUS Small Business Hero. The #StandWithOwners prize includes $10,000, no-strings-attached, a personalized local advertising campaign funded and executed by TELUS, and digital marketing mentorship.
“It gives me access to tons of TELUS resources for me, my family and my employees,” she says. In recent years Young has worked with Economic Development Programs in the Yukon and a local marketing agency to do a full website audit and expand her marketing plan, and she’ll be able to dive deeper into that work with the support of TELUS.
As for the $10,000, Young says she’s hoping to move production from her home to a commercial space downtown, so a chunk of the money may go towards that goal. But she’s set aside some cash for her staff and her community.
“We’re definitely going to have a staff party. Our local restaurants took a hit this past year, so I want to support them, spend money in the community and have a good time.”
Canadians across the country are invited to #StandWithOwners
TELUS is inviting Canadians to take action and make a commitment to their favourite small business this year. Whether it’s buying your fruit and vegetables from a farmers market, ordering from your favourite local restaurant, or picking up a bag of Klondike Kettle Corn, Canadians can show their support on social media by tagging their chosen business and @TELUSBusiness, using the hashtag #StandWithOwners. Bonus: participating Canadians will be entered to win a $500 gift card towards the small business they’ve nominated. Learn more at telus.com/standwithowners.