Kim & Scott Holstein: Success with Gourmet Pretzels

| July 1, 2008 | 2 Comments

The most successful businesses are those that are able to spot opportunities — even in the seemingly ordinary things in our every day life.

Kim and Scott Holstein were in a supermarket in Wilmette, Chicago looking for unique flavored pretzels. However, all that was offered in the frozen food ailes section was plain salted pretzel.

Then a lightbulb lit up: why not offer uniquely flavored soft pretzels as the gourmet alternative to the plain salted pretzel? They would experiment with various flavors, adding fruits, cheeses, spices, cheddar jalapeno, herbs, sun dried tomatoes, and others to see which flavors work best.

Believing that a huge market exists for their distinctive pretzels, the Holsteins decided to launch their business in May 1995 out of their cramped studio apartment. With $25,000 borrowed from family members and credit cards, the couple launched Kim & Scott’s Gourmet Pretzels (

The challenge, however, was that they both did not know anything about the pretzel business. Though Scott’s family owned a Ben and Jerry’s franchise, the Holstein’s had no culinary experience and education. They had never sold baked goods before either! To help them develop their pretzels, they hired a chef to bring forth their ideas for a unique line of pretzel.

Now their pretzels are sold in restaurants, coffee shops, and grocery stores nationwide, including Barnes and Noble coffee shop, Sams Clubs, Whole Foods, Albertsons, among others. However, their biggest sales outlet is the home shopping network QVC where they have appeared more than 22 times selling about 625,000 pretzels!

Check out (Kim & Scott’s Gourmet Pretzels ).

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Category: Startup Stories

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  1. Jessica Singer says:

    I couldn’t find a way to contact you other than through commenting on your cool articles…would you have an interest in doing an article about I am the owner and have been very successful in a short period of time (two and a half months so far) and really want all moms out there to know about a site like ours…it is fun, unique, and addicting, and who can pass up a bargain? In today’s economy, a site like ours is important to help parents be able to purchase necessities (and a few extra fun stuff along the way!) for way less than retail. We have had strollers, baby slings from many different companies, clothing, shoes, toys, baby bedding and blankets, and just all around top notch products from high end vendors. please check us out and let us know what you think, and sorry for leaving a comment on the blog!

    jessica singer

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  2. Flaherty says:

    I really enjoy reading all these success stories, anyone who knows what its like to have that inner hunger for more then the 9-5 rat race can truly appreciate this site. I’m in the process of stepping outside the box as well. doing things on my own terms and untilizing my creativity! But one question remains after reading all these stories, HOW do they take there ideas/products and get then on HSN or in retail outlits? I can’t seem to find any articles that give a clear explanition on how to take your business to that next level, which seems to be my road block? If anyone reading this has any answers please share, thank you so much !!!! – Kris

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