Every Monday morning through the month of May, KSFY news reporter Bridget Bennett will be featuring products made all across the state in our Made in South Dakota Series.
The first stop is in Clark where the company has Dakota right in its name.
Dakota Style chips began on a farm back in 1985.
“Right here is where it all started, this is where we take the raw potatoes and put it through a slicer,” said Dakota Style’s Vice President Riley Dandurand.
The potatoes are then put into the fryer to get that industrial strength crunch Dakota Style Chips are known for.
“The fryer is literally a working relic, if we took it off the line, antique stores would want it, but it’s like a good old fashioned BBQ. You want to keep that flavor,” said Dandurand.
One of Dakota Style’s big selling points is their very unique flavors, all tasted tested right in Clark.
“That’s probably the best part of my job and causes me to have to hit the treadmill a lot because we do so much taste testing, we do that in the office hear,” said Dandurand.
It’s an office full of family; Dandurand’s dad, mom and brothers are all key players at Dakota Style.
“Although there's five family members involved, the great thing about this business is that its a family. If there’s problems everybody feels it and works together and we really all accomplish these goals together in house here,” said Dandurand.
Right now Dakota Style employs around 30 people in the Clark area.
“Dakota style is really a good steward for the community; the employees that are here, love working here, and they'll drive from great distances just to work here,” said long-time Clark Resident tom LaBrie.
“It has put Clark on the map, we've gone national with a lot of our products,” said Dakota Style employee Dave Dale.
“Actually they're all over the country. Our chips are really regional; you'll find them from North Dakota down to Oklahoma, and about Denver to Chicago. Our seeds and kernels, they're national. They’re in every state in the country including Hawaii and Alaska,” said Dandurand.
While it started as a small family business, Dakota Style products have seen some tremendous growth over the past five years.
“When the company first started, it was doing a certain dollar figure; right now we're doing as much in a month as the company was doing in a year. So its really been aggressive, hard growth,” said Dandurand.
Dakota Style is now processing more than 60,000 pounds of sunflower seeds a day.
“We'll make roughly 2,000 cases in a day... we're capable of making about 50-60 bags per minute, so it clicks along, and when everything works good, we can go through a lot of seeds in a short amount of time,” said Dale.
With every bag that’s sold around the country, its very clear this product was made in South Dakota.
“[The brand] brings it back to the South Dakota area, and lets people know that we can produce a quality product at a good price,” said Dale.
“We really wanted that product to resonate with where it’s from—Midwest, good morals, good home town values and people. When they think North Dakota South Dakota, they think really good wholesome people and that's what we want the name to represent,” said Dandurand.
You can find Dakota Style chips and sunflower seeds and kernels at grocery and convenience stores all across the country.