Back in 2008, Amy Hamberry and Joe Orr were running the New York Naturals health food store in Brooklyn, NY. We started carrying a west coast kale chip that was delicious and sold really well. However, this company making them was frequently out of stock.
A local raw food chef told Amy that he had been making a similar chip for years, and so we and the raw food chef decided to start our own kale chip business together. We figured the East Coast deserved its own kale chip company anyway. (We actually contacted the West Coast company to see if we could work with them, but they just laughed at us).
However, after a few weeks, the chef decided that he would rather have his own company and not partner with anyone. We wanted to keep making the chips, so Amy did some research and experimentation and eventually came up with some unique recipes. She made the chips with a couple of small dehydrators in our store and sampled out a lot of them until she was able to make chips that everyone loved.
We then started putting the kale chips in boxes with the New York Naturals brand on them, and taking them around to stores. The responses were incredibly positive, they rarely were turned down by a store, and once in our store the chips sold quickly. Pretty soon the New York Naturals store was turning into a full-time kale chip drying operation. In the winter of 2008/2009, the windows of the store were frequently steamed over from the kale drying. Our store lease was up anyway, so we decided to close the store and put all of our resources into making kale chips.