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A Rural Potato-Chip Maker Brings New Jobs

Financial and Social Impact

  • Jobs created: 17 new jobs
  • Reached nationwide market penetration from expansion efforts

Dakota Style is an unlikely name for a snack maker, yet the small company has gained a respectable following across a broad swath of the Midwest.

What began as a family business on a farm near Clark, South Dakota, 25 years ago has a market reach today from Canada to the Mexican border and from Denver to Chicago. Much of that growth is thanks to a $175,000 loan from Rural Electric Economic Development (REED) that went toward much-needed capital and the purchase of new packaging equipment.

Dakota Style, which makes a unique line of potato chips and other snacks, had shown it had tremendous potential but its rural location put it too far off the beaten path much of the year for interstate truckers. With new financing―which Dakota Style was unable to get through a traditional lender ―the company was able to relocate to a more accessible and modern facility, and go forward with a 48-state product initiative.

As the population of Clark has declined steadily in recent years, its economy has weakened and jobs have grown so scarce that even small-company growth like that created by Dakota Style are important.

REED’s core guidelines help explain why Dakota Style was a prime loan candidate: “To recognize agriculture’s impact on the region’s economic base, REED makes loans to support projects that add value to local agriculture production through innovation, improved services, further processing or marketing.”

(Date of loan: 2013. Date of story publication: 2013)