Some business owners start with big dreams and major ambitions, and others just roll up their sleeves and decide to see where the journey takes them.
Carol Ash, who co-owns Kick Ash Products in Ellison Bay with her husband, definitely falls into that second category.
Ash has a background in physical therapy, but she’s always loved to cook. One of her favorite gifts to give her friends and family members was her homemade granola. After a friend mentioned she should start selling it, Ash decided to give it a try.
She got her business license in 2014 and then began producing artisan granola in a shared-use kitchen in early 2015. Ash says she started small by getting a website up and running and then delivering orders throughout northern Door County herself.
“We had a very low investment and decided to see where it took us,” Ash says.
The business has evolved beyond her wildest expectations. The Ashes since have added coffee roasting and a gluten-free bakery, and her granola is now available across Wisconsin and Illinois, with a few of those locations offering Kick Ash Coffee as well.
After moving through several kitchen locations, Kick Ash relocated last summer to a space in Ellison Bay that the owners are planning to stick with for the long haul. Previously, it was Linden Gallery and before that Trinity Lutheran Church, the church that Ash grew up in. “It’s such a cool thing to have a building with history,” she says.
While Ash never intended to run a retail business and had always planned to run a wholesale business, the space has provided great opportunities to serve the community — not only with delicious, wholesome goods and products, but also with a co-working space.
Ash says she has a few more goals on the horizon, such as offering her gluten-free baked goods for mail order. But more than anything, she’s looking forward to growing into the new space and continuing to see where the journey of business ownership takes her.
“We just decided that we were going to keep open to things, and doors kept opening,” Ash says. “We’ve never felt that we needed to say ‘no,’ and every move has been better than the last.”