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One Tank Trip: Martin's Potato Chips

By Karin Mallett, Anchor / Reporter, KMallett@wfmz.com
Published On: Feb 21 2012 06:00:00 PM CST
Updated On: Feb 22 2012 06:03:29 PM CST

The next time you take a bite out of a chip, you might be munching down on the same brand as the president.

THOMASVILLE, Pa. -

The next time you take a bite out of a chip, you might be munching down on the same brand as the president.

The proof is in the pictures. Bags of Martin's Potato Chips are aboard Air Force One. It's a fun fact you'll learn from Barry Fultz, our tour guide for the free factory tour at Martin's Potato Chip Company in Thomasville, York Co.

While you look around, Fultz explains how the original owners, farmers Harry and Fairy Martin, got into the chip business in 1941.

"Mrs. Martin, being a frugal lady, says, 'Harry [her son], you don't have to buy potato chips. I'll make you potato chips,'" said Fultz.

She ended up selling those, along with their produce, at the markets.

When they retired in 1971, the Martins sold the business to the Potters.

Butch Potter was about 10-years-old, and the doors to the factory have been open here ever since.

"Just like you let your neighbors into your house, you know, you let people into your factory," said Potter.

Tours are great because it's the only place you can pick up insider tips.

Here's a chip secret for you: If you want to freshen up an open bag, just pop a few potato chips in the microwave, and seconds later, it's like it's hot off the assembly line.

Did we mention the free samples?

It makes wearing the tour's required hairnet worth it.

Martin's produces a little more than 10 million pounds of chips a year, and what would go to waste is recycled.

And if you're wondering how the chips ended up being rather presidential, you can thank former President Bill Clinton. He apparently snuck some chips into his limo on a visit here. Who can blame him?