Maryland-based potato chip brand My Dad’s Chips gets big distribution deal

Gary and Brian Edell with a package of “My Dad’s Chips,” which has recently signed its largest distribution deal to date. (Courtesy My Dad’s Chips)

Gaithersburg, Maryland-based small batch potato chip maker My Dad’s Chips has signed its largest distribution deal to date.

The deal with Rainforest Distributors will get its potato chips in stores from Virginia Beach to New Jersey, and eventually in Whole Foods Market stores.

The business had a humble beginning. Gaithersburg resident Gary Edell, who’d always been an experimental cook, decided to experiment with potato chips in 2009 in his home kitchen. Friends and family raved about them.

The idea for the business was born in 2016, when his son Brian went off to college at Truman State University in Missouri.

“My dad would send me care packages with potato chips in them. I’d give them to friends and they’d say ‘Whoa, these are amazing! Where did you get them?’ And I’d say ‘They’re my dad’s chips,'” said Brian Edell. That gave birth to the company’s name.

You may have seen My Dad’s Chips in your office vending machine. That was their first real commercial break when, through a friend of a friend, the Edells connected with local vending machine company SunDun Office Refreshments in September 2022, which agreed to carry their chips.

“They got us into about 200 vending machines from Baltimore to Virginia and that really gave us the revenue at the start to keep going and keep pushing,” Brian Edell said.

My Dad’s Chips are now also sold in about 65 retail locations and two dozen office building cafeterias. They also have a private label contract with a Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, sandwich shop to produce their chips and package them under the sandwich shop’s name.

My Dad’s Chips currently distributes about 500 cases of its chips a month.

Its chips are manufactured in Lewistown, Pennsylvania, using the Edell’s own proprietary oil blend and its own potatoes. They use only russet potatoes, and say their oil blend allows them to use 22% less salt than competitors.

They’re kettle-style chips, but they are also different.

“Our chips are both thin sliced and kettle cooked. If you look at like a Cape Cod or a Kettle chip, they are very thick. The kettle cook of My Dad’s Chips paired with the thin slice gives the chip structure but also allows it to melt in your mouth,” Brian Edell said.

The chips currently come in three flavors: original, barbecue and salt and Balsamic vinegar.

The Edells have funded the business and its expansion themselves up to this point, but are actively looking for investors.

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Jeff Clabaugh

Jeff Clabaugh has spent 20 years covering the Washington region's economy and financial markets for WTOP as part of a partnership with the Washington Business Journal, and officially joined the WTOP newsroom staff in January 2016.

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