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The History of Stacy’s Pita Chips

Founder Stacy Madison left her job as a social worker to work at a restaurant startup in Hawaii, but she was fired so that the venture wouldn’t have to pay out her bonus. Upon returning home to Boston in 1997, Madison and her business partner Mark Andrus decided to get into the restaurant business, but the price of getting started was shockingly high, so they invested $5,000 to buy a food cart (not a truck, but a literal cart!), supplies, signage, and registration fees. They started serving up sandwiches, and since bread was the most important component, they always had extra at the end of the day. To avoid throwing out extra pita bread, Madison baked it and handed it out to the line of waiting customers for free. The pita chips turned out to be an unexpectedly huge hit with her customers, so she and Andrus started selling them for $1 per bag. As winter approached, running a cart in Boston became less feasible, so they sold the cart to a young local and started Stacy's Pita Chip Company to focus on wholesaling the popular chips. Over nine years, the business grew from just 2 people to a company with 300 employees. When the company hit $50 million in annual revenue, corporations began expressing interest in acquiring Stacy’s Pita Chips. The experience prompted some self-reflection from Stacy herself, who decided to sell in order to spend time with her twin daughters. In 2005, Madison and Andrus sold Stacy’s Pita Chips to Frito-Lay (PepsiCo). Later, Madison revealed that it wasn’t the highest offer they received, but that they believed it to be the best fit for their company. It’s also worth noting that Madison and Andrus gave every employee financial distributions from the sale in a complete reversal of Madison’s own experiences back in Hawaii. Stacy’s Pita Chips continued on under the Frito-Lay umbrella and today, they are a popular snack with a variety of flavors, including Simply Naked (Sea Salt), Cinnamon Sugar, and Fire-Roasted Jalapeño.

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