Korey and Brittany Carden with their kiddos.

Korey and Brittany Carden with their kiddos. 

OMAK, Wash. – Korey and Brittany Carden had talked about opening a business amongst themselves. They had money saved up and were waiting on the right opportunity that fit their schedules and family needs. Korey works at the Waterfall Immersion School as a Primary Classroom Guide Apprentice and Brittany works at the Okanogan School District as a School Counselor. They have two young daughters. Brittany worked with the owners of the Sugar Shack, a sno-cone stand set up at Caso’s grocery store in Okanogan. She inquired about buying the business; it wasn’t until later that the owners, Becky and Bill Holland, were ready to sell.

The Sugar Shack met their needs as it is a summer time business. They opened the first weekend in June, 12-4pm on the weekend, before finishing the school year. Once school was done for both of them, they were able to open seven days a week. Staffing the Sugar Shack was a challenge with their young daughters and the business itself only being big enough for two people at a time while they took and filled sno-cone orders. Their solution was to split the shifts while one parent was at home with the girls.

Opening the Sugar Shack exceeded their expectations. They received a lot of support from the Native community in the Omak-Okanogan area. Families would come down to their stand regularly for an affordable treat for the hot weather. They got some help after the Tribes’ Youth Development Program were able to pay Summer Youth Employment Program workers’ time selling sno-cones. They said it was a good experience for them to see first-hand how a small business runs from every aspect. It also served as an example that Native people can be successful entrepreneurs as well.

Brittany does the books for the Sugar Shack. She is able to ask questions, or get help from the previous owners when an issue arises, which was mostly licensing and permits they needed before being able to open.

Korey and Brittany are glad they took the leap. It was nerve wracking at first, but once they learned the motions, it was easy. The plan is to grow and have a presence on the East Side in Omak, as well as rent a trailer to be able to travel. Their eyes were opened to working events when they did a two-hour event and earned as much as they did in an entire day. They hope it works out for them to get a trailer and do more events to travel with their daughters. 

The Sugar Shack season is closed so they can get ready for school, and Korey’s mom reminded them that it was also the Indian Relay Racing season, which will keep them busy for the next month.

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