April 25, 2011

Local Product: Creo Chips

I have a confession to make...I am addicted to Karen Attard's Creo Chips. One morning a few years ago, I innocently went over to one of our local farmer's markets. There was a woman with a table and a festive umbrella...she had homemade tortilla chips in an array of flavors. I took home "Secret Recipe" and "Dirty Suzy's" (which are cinnamon and sugar) and the family was hooked immediately! I will venture out in almost any weather to restock. I was pregnant last summer and we were gone on a rather long road trip at one point, so I did not get a sufficient amount of chips. This summer will be different! Anyway, I asked Karen a few questions about her business and her yummy chips, and here's what she said.

What inspired you to make your own chip's?
Initially I just made these for myself. Nachos are one of my favorite meals but I couldn’t find a brand of chips that I liked more than the homemade ones I was experimenting with. After a few years my friends and family began requesting bags for their own dinners and family parties… that’s when I knew there was a need in the marketplace for a product I created! Hoping to make some extra money I began selling my product at farmer’s markets in the Walled Lake area and things have only grown from there.

How do you decide what flavors to make?
I started with Secret Recipe and Dirty Suzy (named after a friend and early supporter of Creo). Now my best inspiration for new flavors comes from my clients; current flavors include: Garlic Breath, Cajun Kick, Kasey’s Crunch, Splendid Suzy, Senor Slim-ez and Slim-e Jim-ez. I also make tostadas and various other flavors by special request.

How often do you make chips? How many do you make at a time?
I’m approaching my 6th year at the Walled Lake Farmer’s Market (every Wednesday May-October) and 5th year of distribution through Great Harvest Bread Company on Maple Road in Commerce. This sales knowledge allows me to estimate the demand at each of my new markets, which currently include: South Lyon (Wednesdays), Pontiac & Milford (Thursdays). Clients are welcome to visit my Facebook page to suggest flavors or find more information on market locations and times.

What chips are my favorite?
This is an easy one for me! My personal favorites are Garlic Breath, Kasey’s Crunch and Senor Slim-ez.

How do you think the "eat local" movements benefits you & your local area?
I really enjoy working the local Farmer’s Markets because it allows me to get to know my customer base – something very important when developing and bringing a new product to the marketplace. As I’ve said before, my clients are my best source of inspiration and I love hearing all the different ways they are incorporating Creo Chips into their meals: baking or frying chicken in an egg and Garlic Breath batter or using this flavor as a chili topping; dusting baked fish with crumbled up Cajun Kick, Dirty Suzie’s on top of ice cream; pulled pork over a bed of Kasey’s Crunch (as sampled at Tanglewood restaurant in South Lyon).

On a larger scale, I saw an article a few years ago in Hour Detroit magazine that if we all spent $10/week on Michigan products we could collectively put $36 million back into the state’s economy. Not only does it benefit us as a community to financially support locally owned businesses, health-wise buying local means you and your family are not ingesting as many preservatives and chemicals that many larger food companies use. Plus, frequenting a local farmer’s market allows residents to connect with their neighbors while purchasing a variety of items; veggies, home baked bread, flowers and of course Creo Chips!

The name Creo means “I believe” in Spanish. I thought of the name while out walking one afternoon with my oldest daughter Lindsay. Creo Chips has been a passion of mine for the last six years and its because of your belief in me and my products that I’m able to continue producing these chips.

Need ideas for dinner?
Let me help!

Hosting or attending a party?
Let me help!

Looking for an extraordinary gift?
Let me help!

Believe in Michigan?
Let me help!

And as always… Thank you, I appreciate your business
~Karen Attard

I urge you to stop by one of the markets and grab some chips. I think you'll be addicted, too!


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