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Karen Kurr, Owner of No Time 2 Cook, Grows Into Kroger From Oxford Base

The Vassallo Interviews — Steve Vassallo is a HottyToddy.com contributor who interviews Oxford’s and our region’s leading personalities.
Steve said:

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Karen Kurr

“Some of the most successful ventures throughout US history have begun with the dream and vision of entrepreneurs. From Henry Ford to more modern day technological advances, the American “free enterprise spirit” is alive and well. Oxford has no shortage of these types of individuals. Karen Patterson Kurr, founder and CEO of “No Time 2 Cook”, exemplifies the entrepreneurial spirit. Here’s her story…..”
HottyToddy.com — Tell us about your background.
Karen Kurr — I was a Home Economics teacher  with roots in southern Louisiana. My family inspired me to appreciate great food  in true Cajun  fashion. Though raised in Jackson, I have been in Oxford twelve years because of my husband’s position with the Baptist Cancer Center.
HottyToddy.com — How did you envision such a business?
Karen Kurr — When my children were small I was a very busy mom. I would cook in large batches, freezing in smaller portions for future meals. This saved money and time.
HottyToddy.com — With any entrepreneur what was the initial step?
Karen Kurr — In 2005 I began frequenting  farmer’s markets to sell  my dishes. It was a highly successful experience as the business expanded into flea markets and festivals. We were incubated via the Belhaven Farmers Market in Jackson, Miss.
HottyToddy.com — Tell us where we can find the product in Oxford.
Karen Kurr — We are in Kroger in the frozen food section directly across from the dairy aisle. Our line of casseroles include chicken pie; tamale pie; chicken & dumplings; chicken & dressing; and crab and mushroom penne. Our  other Oxford retail location is inside the Mustard Seed. We also have a food service line that we sell to Sysco. There are numerous restaurants and campus dining halls that serve our Chicken Pie and use our Gumbo and Étouffée bases.
HottyToddy.com — Your future growth plans are not only exciting but quite impressive!
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Karen Kurr — We are presently in 45 Kroger stores plus regional gift shops and antique malls. We will be expanding with Kroger into their Texas southwest division putting us into over 100 Kroger stores this fall.
HottyToddy.com — Is the product made here in Oxford?
Karen Kurr — Absolutely! Our plant is USDA and FDA certified and located off North Lamar Blvd. just past Molly Barr. We built this plant four years ago. Prior to that, we were a cottage industry operating out of my home.
HottyToddy.com — How is your product packaged so we the consumer can readily identify it?
Karen Kurr — The product is in a black tray and has a full-color label. Look for the “No Time 2 Cook” logo in the left corner of the package.
HottyToddy.com — Any dessert or additional food line items?
Food Group shot
Karen Kurr — Our desserts are seasonal and are most delicious. In the summer we have Key Lime Pie and in the winter Milky Way Cake. Our regional locations also carry our gumbo, Cajun Pimento Cheese, and other dishes.
HottyToddy.com — Most start-up businesses fail and primarily because of insufficient funding. What can you share with others who are contemplating starting their own business?
Karen Kurr — When you have a dream, don’t let go. Have plenty of capital, three times as  much as you think you will need. And prepare three times longer than you expect to become profitable.  And, one must have a tremendous amount of faith and tenacity to avoid getting discouraged.
HottyToddy.com — Outside of family and running a growing business, what do you enjoy for relaxation?
Karen Kurr — Our family regularly schedules reunions. I started attending as a child and have been to at least 40. We just had our 75th one attended by 75 of our family members. This all began in Calvert, Texas, which is near College Station. The Mississippi cousins are making preparations to host it here in Oxford next year.
HottyToddy.com — How are you getting the “word out” about No Time 2 Cook in Kroger stores?
Karen Kurr — Word of mouth and some advertising! I welcome the opportunity to speak to groups! We also rely heavily on social media  and we have a very informative website at www.notime2cook.com with an online ordering option.
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 sovassallo@gmail.com or call him at 985-852-7745.

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