Celebrating Small Business Week: Coon and Fox Space Snax

In spring of 2023, Oleg Kopychenko of Gate City started one of Southwest Virginia’s most unique businesses, Coon and Fox Space Snax. Oleg had always been fascinated by the idea of freeze-dried candy. When he and his wife took their child to a festival, seeing candy concessions sparked his idea to create his own line of freeze dried candy. Determined to carve his own niche, Oleg taught himself the art of freeze-drying food. “I enjoy the fact that I can learn all of it. It’s something new, something interesting,” said Kopychenko.

The entire process, from purchasing machinery and acquiring licensing, took about nine months. Although it has only been in business for a year, Coon and Fox is already being distributed to 35 stores across the Tri-Cities and in North Carolina, Kentucky, and beyond. Additionally, the brand is represented at numerous events and festivals, earning a loyal following along the way. “It’s been really good,” said Kopychenko. “I did go really aggressively in marketing.”

Yet, with growth came the need for expansion. Recognizing the need for additional machinery, Oleg approached People Incorporated for financial support. With the agency’s assistance, Coon and Fox Space Snax acquired a larger machine, paving the way for enhanced production capabilities and broader market reach.

Looking ahead, Kopychenko envisions even more expansion in his company’s future. Their plans include streamlining production and diversifying their product range to encompass savory snacks, fruits, and more. Moreover, they aspire to establish a full-fledged manufacturing facility, creating employment opportunities within the community.

Although it has come with its challenges, Oleg has enjoyed the adventure of owning his own business. “It’s yours and nobody else’s,” said Oleg. “It gives you freedom and lets you do just about anything you want with it.”

Click here to learn more about People Incorporated’s small business loans.

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