Playing catch. Going camping. Making a pinewood derby car. Richmonders Kenneth and Michael Kahn have a new addition to the list of father-son pastimes: starting a pretzel business.
The Kahns launched Roundabound Pretzels in September, a startup that’s looking to tap into the growing Richmond beer scene by selling soft pretzels at area breweries and festivals.
“You’ll want a fresh pretzel with your fresh beer,” said Kenneth Kahn, the director of the da Vinci Center at VCU.
The business was inspired by 14-year-old Michael’s desire to make some spending money to keep up with his friends.
“He approached me this year and said he was interested in making money,” Kenneth Kahn. “I said, ‘There are two ways to make money: you can get somebody to hire you or you can start your own business.’”
Michael’s grandmother introduced him to baking and he took a liking to it, but he was less keen on taking orders.
“I saw all my friends getting money,” Michael said. “I like being my own boss; it’s more interesting than getting bossed around by other bosses.”
On Oct. 2, the Kahn’s home kitchen was approved for commercial use, and Roundabound Pretzels was made official.
They sell salted, Old Bay, cinnamon sugar, Sriracha, bacon and rosemary pretzels for $2 each, and they mix the seasoning into the dough.
Roundabound is at least the second local food startup trying to capture the crowds at area breweries. Daddy G’s Rockin’ Salsa launched last year and also relies on beer drinkers for its business.
The money it makes is divided into thirds among Kenneth Kahn, Michael and the business.
“I wanted Michael to learn about what it’s like to start a business. After every event I say, ‘Let’s talk about direct cost and indirect cost,’” Kahn said. “It’s a perfect business for a 14-year-old and his dad. We’re sort of making a little capitalist.”
As for working together, both father and son agree the pursuit of profit isn’t without its stresses.
“It has its ups and downs,” Michael said.