Teen runs grill business

With family's help, Natasha Chapman takes lead role in Nanaco Outdoors

What started as an excellent meal has turned into a business that covers three counties for one 15-year-old girl.

Natasha Chapman's family enjoyed cooking on a specialty barbecue grill. Dinner guests often asked how they could get their own, sparking the idea to sell them.

Natasha was included in every discussion her family had about getting the franchise to sell Traeger handcrafted pellet grills.

Five months later, the family got the franchise to sell the grills in Moffat, Routt and Rio Blanco counties and the Moffat County High School freshman is running the business.

"I'm just the delivery boy," said her father, J.B. Chapman.

The business name, Nanaco Outdoors, is almost an acronym of "Natasha and Nathan Company." Nathan is Natasha's younger brother and Natasha hopes to bring him on board when he gets older.

Two of the electric grills are on display at Masterworks Mechanical and one at Chapman's Automotive.

Natasha works at the business sporadically now -- mostly over the phone -- because of school and her other job at Chapman's Automotive. This summer, she'll be available full time, working to sell the grills and establish showrooms in Meeker and Steamboat Springs.

"This is her baby," J.B. said. "She's starting to do all the bookwork, and she's looking at staffing."

Natasha, J.B. said, was bored with school.

She needed something more and didn't want that "more" to be the family's automotive business.

So, she got into grills instead. "It'll be a good growing experience for her," J.B. said. "She's really taking an active role."

She's not in it alone, though. In addition to her parents, she gets help from her grandparents when she needs it.

Natasha's putting the business' profits into a college fund and works out how much she'll earn based on grill sales and residual profits from accessories.

"She's really put the pencil to it and she's impressed her dad," J.B. said.

Two grills were put on display about three weeks ago, but Natasha's done some work with presales.

"If I can sell enough, I can make pretty good money," she said.

She's been able to sell five grills so far.

Right now, Natasha's focusing on marketing.

She plans to distribute newsletters this month and has placed ads in the newspaper. The family is looking at hosting an event where people can taste food grilled on this multi-functioning machine.

"It's really fun," she said. "It's also a good experience for me."

Natasha's got some business experience, having worked at Chapman's doing filing, paperwork, cleaning and answering phones. Nanaco is taking that to a whole new level.

In addition to building a business, Natasha is a full-time student, participates in 4-H and high school golf and works at Chapman's Automotive and Masterworks Mechanical.

Christina M. Currie can be reached at 824-7031 or by e-mail at ccurrie@craigdailypress.com.

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