Archived Interviews & Videos of "Miss Vickie", Vickie Kerr


Food In Canada

This is the March 1992 issue of Food in Canada. Vickie is pictured in the potato barn on their farm in New Lowell, Ontario, Canada. This is where the Miss Vickie's Potato Chips story began. This interview highlighted Vickie's management style as a woman entrepreneur in the food industry and traced the company's growth from its humble beginning in her farm kitchen in 1987 to becoming the premier gourmet potato chip and a national brand in Canada. Vickie created the recipe using potatoes her husband, Bill, grew on their farm. The transition from farm wife and mother to President and CEO of Miss Vickie's Ltd. required long hours and dedicated attention to many personal and business details to help the company grow.

Her customers' loyalty and support for Miss Vickie's Chips made the business grow into a Canadian success story!

"After 10 years at home with the kids and Sesame Street, the business world was quite a change." - Vickie Kerr

From: FOOD in Canada. March 1992.
Title: Management - Miss Vickie's Style
Photographer: Gary White
Written by: Lois Arnold

From Our Farm To You

Every year Miss Vickie gave away thousands of pounds of chips for customers to taste. This is a photo of an informational pamphlet that Vickie created in response to the questions customers posed to her whenever she met them while offering a taste of her chips an in-store sampling event. Her Miss Vickie's Chips recipe was really different in texture, ingredients and potato taste compared to the mass produced chips on the market in 1987. She understood that no matter how good her chips tasted to her, unless others had the opportunity to taste them, too, they wouldn't know the unique tasty treat that was waiting for them when they opened a bag of her chips. So she gave them away.


Potato Farming

This photo was taken on Bill and Vickie Kerr's farm in New Lowell in 1981 their first year growing potatoes together. Their eldest son, Rab, proudly sits upon the hood of the trusty Mac Diesel potato truck. Vickie is the young woman expecting their second son, Liam, to arrive any day.......Vickie's brother, Norm, is on the left. In 1980-81 the interest rate on farm operating loans was nearly 20% and farmers in the area were feeling the financial strain. Always looking for a challenge, though, Bill and Vickie decided that 1981 would be the year they would venture into the potato growing business!












Miss Vickie's Bag Front

This is a photo of the Miss Vickie's package that Vickie designed in 1987. The original bag was blue and white when "Miss Vickie's "No Salt" and Miss Vickie's "Sea Salt" hit the shelves. Vickie wanted her customers to know that there was a woman behind her product- so she included a lace collar and bow! To let her customers know that the recipe was created and cooked on their farm with the potatoes Bill grew, she included the farm sketch.

All package text is written in French and English in Canada so, the message was bi-lingual.

The maple leaf on the bag ? - proudly "Made in Canada".












Miss Vickie's Bag Back

This is a photo of the back of the large chip bag Vickie designed. She wrote a letter to communicate with her customers (before internet and e-mail).

She was a consumer who always read packages when she shopped for food for her family. She hoped her customers would do the same.
They did~

The letter read:

Dear Potato Chip Lover,
We make Miss Vickie's potato chips on our farm from carefully chosen potatoes. We slice and hand-cook them slowly in small batches, the old fashioned way. To ensure the fresh, crunchy potato taste that is unique to these golden chips, we use this special package: you see, we won't use preservatives or additives in our chips, nor do we use anti-foaming agents in our oil. A wholesome bag of Miss Vickie's Chips will be enjoyed by the whole family anytime.

Love,

Miss Vickie

P.S. Let me know how you like these hand cooked chips.
Write me today................


Mr Vickie's

This photo is of Mr. Vickie's "Hot Stuff", the Miss Vickie's 1990 natural ingredient recipe and package design that was Bill's fave. Bill wrote this letter on the back of the bag:

Dear Potato Chip Lover,
Mr. Vickie's are crunchy, curly potato chip slices sprinkled with my own recipe, "Hot Stuff". I know you'll enjoy the naturally seasoned taste and, just like Miss Vickie, I won't use additives, preservatives, anti-foaming agents or artificial colour in my chips. We hand cook Mr. Vickie's right out here on our farm. You may want to keep a "Cool One" handy just like me when you try them. Why? Because Mr. Vickie's are "Hot Stuff" and definitely not for Cool Dudes!

Miss Vickie's customers requested Vickie produce a barbeque chip and this was their version. Mr. Vickie's grew to become 30% of total sales just 3 months after the product was launched in February 1990!


Vickie Stirring Chips

In the photo Vickie is stirring chips in the stainless steel kettle! This little info sheet was designed as a tear off pad and attached to shelves in the chip aisle in the stores so customers could take one home to read.

The info sheet presents the nutritional analysis of Miss Vickie's Chips. Vickie had her product's nutritional value analyzed at independent laboratories because she wanted to confirm what was in each bag of her chips. She printed the results of the analysis as nutritional information for her customers to read on her chip package years before it was even required. In 1987 this type of transparency in snack food labeling was completely ahead of its time. Miss Vickie's was the first to do such a thing!


Miss Vickie's Delivery Trucks

The first customer to receive a delivery of Miss Vickie's Chips was the New Lowell Convenience Store. Vickie made that delivery in the only vehicle she could -Bill's old green Ford F 150 farm pick-up truck.

This photo of Miss Vickie's fleet of delivery route vehicles in Ontario was taken on the potato farm in 1991.

It was Vickie's policy to deliver the freshest Miss Vickie's Chips possible, so the route trucks drove to the farm to load up with chips every day and visited the retailers on their route, restocking the shelves with freshly-made bags of Miss Vickie's.


Hot Potatoes

This is an article from "Chatelaine" magazine published in 1992.

The boxes of chip stock potatoes were stored in the climate controlled storage buildings on Bill and Vickie's 130 acre New Lowell, Ontario farm.

"Chip stock "potatoes are specific potato varieties that are grown exclusively to make potato chips.

They are high in dry matter and low in sugar content. It's the sugar content in the potato that fries brown when cooked.

Credits Chatelaine Magazine 1992 Writer: Patricia Davies Photo: Alex Meyboom









Miss Vickie Cooks Chips

Vickie and Bill made Miss Vickie's Chips everyday except on Sunday. They cooked around the clock in the big kitchen, steps away from their little farm house . This is a photo of Vickie stirring a batch of Miss Vickie's in a stainless steel kettle using an instrument that resembles a rake.

Continually stirring the batches prevented the potato slices from sticking together while they cooked.

(note: Vickie removed her cook's hat and work boots to pose for the camera)


Miss Vickie Soccer Mom

This photo was taken in the packaging room at the Miss Vickie's kitchen on the farm in New Lowell. Vickie and son Rab, are pictured here proudly displaying the first bag of Miss Vickie's chips off the newly acquired state-of-the-art Woodman packaging machine!

By this time in 1989, the Miss Vickie's Chips business had grown strong enough to afford a machine that allowed them to produce big and small sized bags and accurately weighed them with the latest invention in those days - a digital scale!

















Miss Vickie's Employees

The Miss Vickie's Chips tins in the photograph were designed as seasonal gift items for retailers. During Desert Storm, Vickie received a letter from a Canadian soldier lamenting that he and his colleagues missed their Miss Vickie's Chips, a taste from back home. So she sent hundreds of these tins filled with Miss Vickie's Chips to support the troops.

Posing in the photo are the production, sales, and office mangement and staff- all sending their best wishes in this photo that accompanied the chip delivery overseas..


Watch the "Time of Your Life" Interview with Vickie Kerr The Miss Vickie's Chips story began on Bill and Vickie Kerr's potato farm in Canada in 1987.

This video is an interview with Bill and Vickie Kerr on their farm and they discuss the challenges they faced as they started the company and then helped it grow.

Video Link