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Clara City business owners honored as SBA 'encore entrepreneurs'

CLARA CITY -- The U.S. Small Business Administration has chosen the co-founders of Kay's Processing LLC and Kay's Naturals Inc., of Clara City, as the Minnesota Encore Entrepreneurs of 2017.

Massoud Kazemzadeh, Ph.D. and Ann Jones Kazemzadeh, J.D.,
Massoud Kazemzadeh, Ph.D. and Ann Jones Kazemzadeh, J.D.,

CLARA CITY - The U.S. Small Business Administration has chosen the co-founders of Kay's Processing LLC and Kay's Naturals Inc., of Clara City, as the Minnesota Encore Entrepreneurs of 2017.

Massoud Kazemzadeh and Ann Jones Kazemzadeh will be recognized at the Minnesota Small Business Week Awards Luncheon on May 4 at the Marriott Minneapolis Northwest in Brooklyn Park.

The Clara City companies produce a line of high-protein, gluten-free cereals and snacks which are sold nationwide.

According to a news release announcing the award, Dr. Kazemzadeh (or "Dr. Kay" as he is affectionately known), chief operating officer of Kay's Processing LLC, pioneered manufacturing food products using extrusion technology. Nearly 20 years ago, he developed high-protein, reduced-carbohydrate, low-sugar snacks to help his Type 1 diabetic wife, Linda. They formed Kay's Naturals to market those products. After Linda's untimely death, Dr. Kay eventually married Ann Jones and they have continued the dream he and Linda shared to bring healthier snacks and cereal to the marketplace.

The Kazemzadehs have manufactured Kay's Naturals products in Clara City since 2000.

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"We have had persistent, committed support from Clara City citizens," says Dr. Kay. "and we have been proud to call Clara City home for the last 10 years."

The Kazemzadehs took over management of their Clara City manufacturing facility in 2003, named it Kay's Processing LLC, and in 2010, with the help of Small Business Administration-guaranteed funding, bought and upgraded it.

In addition to making its products, Kay's Processing develops and contracts to manufacture cereals and snacks for start-up companies as well as larger, well-known entities.

In the last three years, they have invested over $3.8 million into the 96,000-square-foot facility, which has an additional five acres of land for future growth.

Today, Kay's Processing LLC employs 30 people in Clara City and gives back to the community in multiple ways, including through affordable housing for their employees and contributions to local fundraisers.

Related Topics: CLARA CITY
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