Kelly Longmire loves kids, so when she thought about starting her own business, she first considered tutoring. When she ran the idea past her own children, ages 28, 24 and 11, they were not fans. Their own tutoring experiences were not good, she says.
“They hated me for that,” she laughs.
When she came across the Flour Power franchise, based in Raleigh, North Carolina, she was immediately sold. The concept is a kids’ cooking studio that offers classes, camps, kids’ nights out and birthday parties, among other things. Most participants are ages 2 through teen, but Longmire also plans to offer adult and senior classes.
“It’s the coolest thing ever, and kids absolutely love it. So I took a chance.”
She held her first kid’s night out last Friday in her shiny, new studio, complete with two full kitchens and spacious, stainless steel tables for students. Mandated limits on class size required Kelly to start small, but she’s encouraged by the number of reservations she has for future events.
Classes and camps teach important kitchen basics like measuring, following recipes and food prep techniques. She believes these skills are particularly important when families are too busy to prepare and eat meals at home. When kids learn to cook, they’re also participating in chemistry, math and reading lessons.
“We’re not just teaching them cooking. We’re also teaching them life-long skills.”
Another class she’ll offer in her Farragut studio is etiquette. These days, kids aren’t always taught to put their phones away at the dinner table or how to properly fold a napkin, she says. Her etiquette classes will include basic skills like saying thank you and making eye contact while speaking.
“It appeals to me because etiquette is sort of a lost art.”
Her studio, decorated with twinkling lights, bright paint and kid-friendly decals, is sure to appeal to her young customers. Upcoming classes include Hello, My Name is Ice Cream for preschoolers and a Brunch Bunch class for older kids. Classes are purchased in bundles and can be spaced out over six months.
Camps are held from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday and include breakfast, lunch, science experiments, crafts and fitness activities. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Kitchen Chemistry Food Art are upcoming themes. Spots can be reserved online here.
Kelly has a broad range of experience, from corporate work to growing tomatoes in Grainger County. She commutes to her studio, located in the Costco shopping center, from her home in Blaine.
“I wear a lot of different hats,” she laughs.
None of her previous experience prepared her for opening a new business in the middle of a pandemic. Her programs are starting as scheduled, but at half capacity.
“Right when it hit, people were just registering for summer camps. I decreased the capacity of each camp so we don’t get overcrowded. I can change the class size online as the rules change.”
She’s glad she didn’t have to wait to welcome kids to the studio. Last week, before her first little chefs arrived, Kelly was bubbling with excitement.
“I can’t wait to get the kids in here and watch them react to everything. They’re like little sponges.”
Town of Farragut public relations and marketing director Wendy Smith is your reliable Farragut Insider.