CATHLAMET — Cathlamet’s newest marina-based business started as a snow cone machine gifted to Amber Cameron’s kids by their grandmother.
The plan was to start a “modern day lemonade stand,” Cameron said Saturday.
But when the mother of three learned that a special food handler’s license is required to sell snow cones, those plans were put on hold.
Cameron, 35, said her mother-in-law urged the family to find another way to give the kids a way to profit off the new machine. For about six months, Cameron and her husband, Scott, “fiddled with the idea” of opening a full-blown concession stand.
Eventually, their grandma sent the kids popcorn and cotton candy machines, and Cameron and her husband decided to open up KCC Treats near the Elochoman Slough Marina.
“It was something for us to get out of the house, and our kids can work here,” Cameron said, adding that, “It’s more for the kids. I always wanted them to have chores (but with more responsibility). They have to be more mindful (here).”
Cameron’s children, Kadence, Corbin and Chasen, are the namesakes of the shop. Cameron says she expects all three to help out in the shop once business picks up in the summer, though it will ultimately be their choice as to how much they get involved.
“We aren’t making them do anything,” Cameron said. “They are choosing to be part of it.”
Daughter Kadence, 14, will play the biggest role in the shop to start. She’ll join the family near the end of May after she finishes up her high school classes, Cameron said. She’s already told her mother that she’s “super excited to make some money.”
“We talked to her a lot (before opening) because she’ll be the main benefactor for now,” Cameron said. “We wanted to make sure she was on board.”
Next in line is Corbin, 8. He’s also excited for the summer so he can start “getting more money” from his sales, he said.
“I’m just surprised we have this,” Corbin said. “I wouldn’t expect Mom and Dad to buy all this candy.”
Chasen, the youngest at just 6 years old, isn’t able to do as much in the shop as his older siblings, Cameron said. But he’s still learning the basics of the food business, like washing his hands before entering the main kitchen.
In addition to snow cones, popcorn and cotton candy — Corbin and Chasen’s personal favorites — KCC Treats sells candy bars, sodas and chips. Most of the goodies are prepackaged so even the youngest employees can handle them without a formal food handlers license.
“We’ve tried to keep it as simple as possible. I can get everything ready and wrap it up, and my kids can still handle it,” Cameron said. “It’s nice to be able to make it so they can grab a bag of chips (for a customer).”
The children also help curate the shop’s inventory, picking out which flavors to keep stocked, Cameron said.
So far the family has invested about $5,000 in the shop, which “isn’t even that grand,” Cameron said. The hope is to keep prices low. Right now, the most expensive thing on the menu is a hot dog, which sells for $3.
“We aren’t in it to make a ton of money. We are just in it to do it,” Cameron said.
A grand opening event is scheduled for May 24. Cameron said the event will include kid-friendly activities like rock painting, as well as a prize raffle.
KCC Treats will also pass out samples at local events, including Bald Eagle Days. That job will mostly be left to Corbin and Chasen, Cameron said.
“They will really be hitting the pavement,” Cameron said, adding that just like at a regular lemonade stand, “They will learn if they put the effort in, they will get a reward for helping.”