Charles Chips Are Back! How to Find Them in the Hudson Valley
Charles Chips are back, and they taste even better than I remember. But finding them may prove to be a bit difficult unless you know where to look.
A very long time ago the Charles Chips delivery truck would travel from home to home, dropping off metal tins of potato chips. You may remember these chips from your childhood. During the 1970s there was always a Charles Chips tin in our house. After the chips were all eaten, the tin would be repurposed for some other important task, like holding LEGO bricks or crayons.
Sadly, I haven't seen or heard from Charles Chips since I was a child. In fact, I almost completely forgot about those thin, delicious potato chips until I recently saw them on the shelves of a store.
The history of Charles Chips is not unlike many other beloved foods from our childhood that are now gone forever. In the 1980s, the extremely profitable company was sold by its original owners to a conglomerate and then, just 18 months later went bankrupt. Since then, there have been other attempts to bring the brand back, but they also resulted in bankruptcy. One genius who purchased the brand even decided to change the recipe. That ended in (you guessed it) bankruptcy.
Fortunately, a new owner has taken over the brand and has brought back the original recipe. You could imagine my surprise when I was looking for some snacks in Florida and I found a bag of Charles Chips sitting right there on the shelf.
The store I found them in was in the West Palm Beach area and they had Charles Chips available in regular and barbecue flavor. Flabbergasted by this discovery, I began to research the company and discovered that they, indeed, are back to making chips and even offering them in the original tin!
Not sure if they would be available here in the Hudson Valley, I smuggled a bag home in my carry-on -- and it's probably a good thing I did. Currently, there aren't any local grocery stores that sell Charles Chips. However, Walmart and Target both had them listed as "sold out" on their websites. Cracker Barrel, of all places, also sells them on their website but shipping was more expensive than the bag itself, so it may not be your best option.
It turns out that Charles Chips aren't available in many retail locations. I found a supplier in southern New Jersey that does sell them wholesale to stores and will deliver to homes, but they won't ship them up here. The company is currently looking for wholesale suppliers, so if you know a store owner in the Hudson Valley who thinks they may want to sell them, you can direct them to the company's website (Adams Fairacre Farms, anyone?).
For now, your best bet is to visit the chip maker's online store. Their main business these days is shipping chips out to people all over the country. Unlike the old truck they used to drive around, these deliveries are made through traditional shipping methods. Also, their prices are ridiculously high. The store in Florida was selling them for $4.99 a bag, but you won't find that price online.
A 16-ounce tin of chips will set you back $31 from the Charles Chips company, but that does include free shipping. Three nine-ounce bags are available for the same price, and also include shipping. If you don't care about the tin, this is their best deal. Charles Chips superfans can also get a subscription for 5% off and receive regular shipments of chips throughout the year.
For now, I'm happy to stick to my smuggled bag of Charles Chips from Florida. But it's good to know if that craving returns the favorite potato chip from my childhood is only a click away. And who knows, they may pop up on a shelf here in the Hudson Valley soon. If you see one in the wild, be sure to let us know.