Area residents lend a helping hand to fundraising efforts of clubs and organizations

Ken Vance
Ken Vance

LA CENTER — Two years ago when Kristi Kotrous shut down her retail business, she didn’t bother to change her phone number. As a result, she continued to get requests from her loyal customers who loved her products.

Now, Kotrous has good news for those clients.

“I continually got phone calls and emails,’’ Kotrous said. “I’m sure my holiday clients will be happy now because they haven’t been able to buy my products for a couple of years.’’

Kotrous and her friend of more than 20 years, Chris Fried, have restarted Serendipity Doo Dah, but this time with a different business model. Instead of producing their products for retail sale, the partners are working with area organizations and groups to assist in fundraising efforts.

Kristi Kotrous (left) and Chris Fried (right) work together to make caramel corn, one of three products they produce for their business -- Serendipity Doo Dah. Photo by Mike Schultz
Kristi Kotrous (left) and Chris Fried (right) work together to make caramel corn, one of three products they produce for their business — Serendipity Doo Dah. Photo by Mike Schultz

Kotrous, a La Center resident (along with husband Kevin) who has lived in Clark County her entire life, said her former retail business didn’t shut down because of the product. It shut down because it was the wrong business model and her previous business partner moved out of the area.

“I couldn’t do it alone; I didn’t have anybody here to help me,’’ Kotrous said. “I didn’t need a worker. I needed a partner.’’

The most popular of the three products produced by Serendipity Doo Dah is the caramel corn, which comes in three flavors -- classic, sweet and salty and sweet with heat. Photo by Mike Schultz
The most popular of the three products produced by Serendipity Doo Dah is the caramel corn, which comes in three flavors — classic, sweet and salty and sweet with heat. Photo by Mike Schultz

Kotrous and Fried, who were teammates on the same indoor soccer team for about 15 years, decided they would become business partners and in June, Serendipity Doo Dah was resurrected.

The partners have three products — caramel corn, baking mixes and spice rubs. The caramel corn, which comes in three flavors (Classic, sweet and salty and sweet with heat) is the most popular, “but not by much,’’ Kotrous said.

There are four different baking mixes for scones (chocolate chip, cinnamon, lemon poppy seed and cranberry). “The baking mixes are great for folks who aren’t bakers,’’ Kotrous said. “You just add one cup of sour cream, roll them out and bake them for 10 minutes and they’re ready to go. So, anybody can be a baker.’’

There are two flavors of spice rubs (smoky mountain barbecue for pork or brisket and Mexican seasoning for tacos, hot wings, etc.).

“Everybody seems to like our products,’’ Kotrous said. “There is something good for everybody.’’

All of the Serendipity Doo Dah products sell for $7.50. When a club or organization teams with Kotrous and Fried, they pre-sell the product, usually over a two-week period of time. The partners then produce the packaged product and deliver it with no shipping charge. The club or organization keeps 40 percent of the proceeds for their fundraising effort.

Serendipity Doo Dah is not a storefront business. For more information, go to www.serendipitydoodah.com/ or visit their Facebook page. Also, call Kristi directly at (360) 909-2715.
Serendipity Doo Dah is not a storefront business. For more information, go to www.serendipitydoodah.com/ or visit their Facebook page. Also, call Kristi directly at (360) 909-2715.

“Kids always come home with something as a fundraiser,’’ Kotrous said. “Some you want to buy but some you don’t want to. The best part about our products is they are all local. I believe in keeping the dollars local.

“We provide the order back to them within 7-10 working days,’’ Kotrous said. “Then, they distribute them to their buyers and clients. Start to finish, it’s about a three-and-a-half-week process.’’

Kotrous said in the next week they will be working with the Parent Teacher Organization at Union Ridge Elementary School in Ridgefield. They will also provide product to the La Center High School Booster Club for sale at their home football game on Fri., Sept. 15.

“Sales over the holidays are usually phenomenal,’’ said Kotrous, referring to her previous experience with her retail business. “Our products are great for Christmas or holiday gifts. We also have about 15 fundraisers scheduled between now and Christmas and we are getting more every day.’’

Serendipity Doo Dah is not a storefront business. For more information, go to www.serendipitydoodah.com/ or visit their Facebook page. Also, call Kristi directly at (360) 909-2715.

About The Author

Ken Vance got his start in the newspaper industry in 1987 as a reporter at The Columbian Newspaper in Vancouver. Vance graduated from Stevenson High School in Stevenson, WA, and attended Clark College in Vancouver. He worked for The Columbian from 1987-2001. He was most recently a staff member of The Reflector Newspaper in Battle Ground, where he served as editor since 2010 and reporter since 2007. Vance’s work in the newspaper industry has won him multiple awards, including a first place award from the Society of Professional Journalists for in-depth reporting.

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