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Fourth Generation Potato Chip Maker Thrives - abc27 WHTM

Fourth Generation Potato Chip Maker Thrives

Fourth Generation Potato Chip Maker Thrives

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    It's only a one mile journey in distance, but it covers nearly two centuries in time."People come to enjoy the river," said Don Lebo, as he guided another load of vehicles onto the Roaring Bull V. "They come to enjoy the scenery and to enjoy the wildlife."Lebo should know. He's been at the helm of the Roaring Bull V and the Falcon III ferry boats for 25 years.The 20 minute trip across the Susquehanna River dates back to the early 1800's when the Millersburg Ferry system first became official....More >>
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Mention Lewistown, Pennsylvania and many might think of the town's beautiful Monument Square. Perhaps they might recall the historic Embassy Theater, being restored just down the street from the square. Or, maybe they'll picture the enduring Red's Diner on the edge of town. But I know many people will think of Hartley's potato chips. The kettle-cooked snack tradition of generations of central Pennsylvanians.

Hartley's Chips is a family owned and operated business started nearly eighty years ago in the Lewistown home kitchen of John Irvin Hartley and his wife Gertrude She made the chips. He delivered them door to door. As business increased, the Hartleys moved their home and business a few miles out of town to Maitland. Business continued to expand, and so did the plant facilities. Trucks were added to deliver the goods. Ever-improving production equipment changed the chip-making process, but not the product.

Great-grandson Dan Hartley shares the company helm with his sister Kellie Hartley Johnson. Overlooking the main chip fryer bin, Dan noted that much of how his great-grandparents made chips continues today, just in a bigger fashion.

"This is a lot of the secret to the Hartley recipe. We process our chips differently than most other chip companies," said Dan.

The Hartley siblings believe the best way to manage a business is to be out on the floor where the product is made and packaged; that's where I found them when we stopped by the plant to see how raw potatoes are turned into tasty treats.

"We prefer being out on the floor, working with our employees," said Dan, while boxing shipping cartons of large bags of chips.

Kellie agrees. "It's been a family operation from the beginning and we have close knit people that have always worked here."

The bulk of their chips are sold within a hundred mile radius of Lewistown, but internet sales have expanded their reach nationally. Many web orders come from former Lewistown area residents who miss their hometown snack.


www.hartleyspotatochips.com

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