From trash to Oprah’s Favorite Things is not an understatement.
For years and years, we made an absolutely terrible potato chips.
The chips were so bad that people whose only meal of the day was at our soup kitchen threw them in the trash.
We started making our chips in the soup kitchen of the non profit Friends of Detroit & Tri County. It’s a community center that serves lunch to the economically vulnerable. The agency is our sister organization.
The for-profit chips were a spin-off.
The salty snack was our effort to create hope work and dignity in our financially troubled area.
It took us years to make an edible bag of chips.
Day by day we worked to get better at making chips.
We had joined the Specialty Food Association because we needed help understanding how to make and market our chips.
Detroit Friends Potato Chips we’re featured in a story of the Specialty Foods Magazzine.
This magazine is part of the New York city-based Specialty Foods Association, SFA.
The story talked about how we were a start up in Detroit.
The person responsible for membership in the Midwest region for SFA was from Rochester, MI. We told her about how we make potato chips from potatoes that we grow on vacant lots in Detroit. We are working to create job and hope for residents of our economically vulnerable community.
She liked our story and said she would refer us to the Specialty Foods Magazine.
The article ran in the summer of 2015. Days after the story ran, we got this email:
We had joined the SFA a month earlier because we needed help understanding how to make and market our chips.
Yes, we answered.
We shipped the chips.
Days later we received this email:
It took us 18 months to close the deal. We had to work hard to meet Oprah’s Favorite Things high standards. But we worked hard and did it.
Christmas 2016 we were selected as one of Oprah’s Favorite Things in O, The Oprah Magazine.
We are now sold in Whole Foods markets in 12 states and counting.