By Mark Ambrogi
Mark McSweeney will get a unique opportunity to showcase his potato chips.
McSweeney, a Fishers resident, has been named an early stage finalist in the Hottest Kitchen Entrepreneur Challenge hosted by Ivy Tech Corporate College and Culinary Center and Reliable Water Services, which provides hot water service for Indiana food businesses. Early stage is for anyone who has been in business for three years or less. McSweeney was named a finalist from his online application.
McSweeney’s Broad Ripple Potato Chip Co. produces regular and sweet potato chips from scratch.
“It different from a typical Lay’s potato chip,” McSweeney said. “We use an Idaho baking potato that results in a darker chip. The darkness is caused by caramelization of the potato that gives a nice caramel. The chips are longer, four or five inches long.”
The public is invited to a free finalist tasting/judging event at Ivy Tech, 2820 N. Meridian St., Indianapolis, from noon to 3 p.m. on June 24. Along with the judges, there’s also a People’s Choice Voting component.
“I think this will help get the word out about us,” McSweeney said. “We’ve been in existence about 18 months. We’re still small. Just saying we won that contest would always be a good thing to tell potential customers.”
McSweeney’s family pet pug Zeus serves as the logo on the Broad Ripple Potato Chip bags.
The chips are available in about 80 locations, including Kroger, Marsh and Meijer on the north side. McSweeney said the company plans to roll out a barbecue chip brand in the next six months.
McSweeney, 57, was a public defender attorney in St. Louis for five years before he decided to make a career change. McSweeney has owned a Great Harvest Bread Co., franchise in Indianapolis since 1989.
“We did retail for the first 20 years and now for the last six years have been a wholesale business,” McSweeney said. “We had some extra space we weren’t utilizing in our kitchen and decided to do something different and new.”
The grand prize winner in each category will win: $2,000 in seed money from Reliable to start their business, expert consultation and $1,000 scholarship from Ivy Tech Community College, $250 shopping spree from Zesco.com, restaurant supply and Navigator business plan and marketing plan software from ISBDC.