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'It feels surreal': Charlotte stay-at-home mom's pretzel business sees major growth during COVID

A year ago, Katie Cooper had "nothing to do." Thanks to a family recipe, her pretzel business is now booming and looking to grow even more.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — A Charlotte mom used COVID-19 to launch a snack business that's been so successful she has more orders than she can fill. 

Queen City Crunch is a pretzel business that was started by a stay-at-home mom for stay-at-home moms. Katie Cooper launched the business at the peak of the pandemic and now she's navigating its growing sales after finding the recipe for success. 

"For seasoned pretzels, we crush them, season them, bake them and then repackage," Cooper said. 

She officially launched Queen City Crunch a year ago after realizing an old family treat could be much more. 

"My mom had made these forever," Cooper said of Queen City Crunch's signature Cajun pretzels. "We had friends and family asking for them, so last year, just being at home with nothing to do, I decided to start the company."

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Cooper built a website, and that turned into a small business based in her kitchen. She didn't expect much. Needless to say, sales have exceeded her wildest dreams. 

"It just organically happened and started growing," she said. "I've learned so much along the way."

Cooper now rents space in a shared commercial kitchen and her pretzels are sold in 100 different retailers across the Carolinas, but she wants to do more. 

"We've got large orders that we could potentially have, it's just being able to capitalize on that," Cooper said. "We need a bagging machine, [and] our own space, so a lot of irons in the fire."

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Cooper says she's now hoping to find some investors to help her and her family get to the next level. 

"It feels surreal. It's been an amazing journey," she said. "I love being able to show my daughter starting a business out of nothing and not taking no for an answer. It's been a great journey."

Right now, Queen City Crunch rents its kitchen space. Cooper says she's looking at another space she would own that's capable of producing more orders. 

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