Savoring 35 years of Local Flavor- Cape Cod Potato Chips
Cape Cod Potato Chips celebrates a big anniversary in 2015
Move over, JFK Museum. Give way, harbor cruises. One of the most popular tourist attractions in Hyannis has nothing to do with Kennedys, or the sea. It’s the Cape Cod Potato Chips factory tour, which draws some 250,000 visitors annually.
This year, Cape Cod Potato Chips celebrates its 35th anniversary. The late Steve Bernard and his wife, Lynn, founded the company on July 4, 1980, in a tiny storefront on West Main Street, where, on a good day, a few employees could produce 200 bags of chips.
Today, the company’s modern factory in Hyannis’s Independence Park employs 100 people across three shifts and is capable of turning out 350,000 bags a day. The chips are distributed to thousands of retailers throughout the United States and Canada.
Steve Bernard was “a real entrepreneur,” his daughter, Nicole Bernard Dawes of Chatham, recalls. “He believed in the American dream. He believed anyone can make it.” Bernard held a series of entrepreneurial jobs ranging from fisherman to forest firefighter before starting the company that would be his legacy.
During the 1970s, Dawes says, while the family was living in Chatham, her mother, Lynn, owned Ardklin Natural Foods in Harwich. Her father was frustrated by the poor quality of snacks available for those who wanted to eat healthy foods. He had read about all-natural potato chips popular in Maui and elsewhere and decided he ought to be able to make them on Cape Cod.