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Teaching kids to cook

NAME AND AGE: Patricia Green, 37

COMPANY NAME AND DESCRIPTION: Ginger Kids Inc., in Williamsville, New York, manufactures and wholesales children's international baking and cooking kits and conducts baking and cooking classes for individuals and schools.

STARTING POINT: 1994 with $30,000

1999 SALES PROJECTIONS: $600,000

COMBO PLATE: When Green left California to take care of her ailing father in upstate New York, she ran into a bit of a problem--she couldn't find a job. Doing what enterprising unemployed folk have done for decades, the international marketing expert took her vocation, combined it with an avocation, mixed in a chunk of start-up capital from mom and seasoned it with a dollop of educational flavoring to create a line of children's cooking kits which she distributes to upscale department stores and gourmet food outlets.

TOO MANY COOKS: After making sure her company's infrastructure could handle large-scale production, Green took Ginger Kids to the International Fancy Food and Confection Show in New York City. The result: orders totaling six figures. "I got calls from people wanting to license the name, schools wanting me to develop curricula and companies wanting me to private-label," she says. "I was trying to be everything to everybody and began to lose focus." Slipping sales jerked Green back on track.

NEW ON THE MENU: Last May, Green created a Ginger Kids school, which she is now working on franchising. How does the school fit into Green's master plan? "If we're able to franchise," she says, "we'll have a retail area where we can sell the kits while maintaining control of our mission to teach children about other cultures."

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