Stacks Image 172714

Please like my Facebook Page
to ensure you receive all current events.

Stacks Image 173279

Potato chip exhibit to open Saturday

BALLSTON SPA“In the Saratoga Style: Potato Chips and Their Regional Folklore” opens Saturday at Brookside Museum, Saratoga County History Center, 6 Charlton St. The exhibit, which will be on display through Dec. 31, explores the many stories that have claimed to explain the story behind the snack, from disgruntled customers to kitchen mishaps.

The use of the “Saratoga” name to nationally market potato chips is seen through the expansive collection of famed local expert Alan Richer, known as “The Toga Chip Guy.”

The exhibit is open to the public 1 to 5 p.m. Thursday through Sunday. For more information,
go to

I have recently been featured in twi Times Union Articles
Please read the articles by clicking the links below!

Article 1 - Vanderbilt helped invent the chip in Saratoga?
Likely a salty myth

Article 2 - Toga Chip Guy makes a second showing on History Channel

Stacks Image 173288

Please read the article in Saratoga Today that features, your's truly, The Toga Chip Guy!

Click Here

Stacks Image 173293

Current Events!

Please watch the latest episode of The History Channel's The Food That Built America, "When The Chips Are Down", season 2, episode 3, where I am prominently featured.

Click Here!

Stacks Image 173301

Read my feature article in "Shorelines" The Saratoga Lake Association News Letter.

Click Here

Stacks Image 173306

Listen to my recent interview on Heart Radio.

Click Here

Stacks Image 173311

Stacks Image 173314

Listen To The New History Channel Podcast

After appearing in several episodes of The History Channel's Series "The Food That Built America", I have now been prominently featured in an associated podcast.

Please visit The ACast Site to listen!

Please read my recent interview with Julia Dunn on CBS 6.

Click Here

Stacks Image 173322

Read The Article About Me In Saratoga Today Entitled "Who: Alan Richer, The Toga Chip Guy"

This article was just published today, April 2nd, It starts on Page 3.

Click here to read!

Stacks Image 173330

Stacks Image 173333

Watch the latest episode of the History Channel's "The FoodThat Built America "that aired on Natational Potato Chip Day, March 14. Featuring the history of Herman Lay and then rival Fritos!

Click here to watch

Stacks Image 173358

John Karolefski, author of the blog Grocery Stories at: 

has written a book about grocery shopping. He had requested a quote from me about about chips -- their place in snack history, their popularity, etc.

I had provided him with a quote that I will disclose once his book is published.

Here is that quote!

"Potato chips are more American than apple pie. Compare the shelf space allotted to potato chips and apple pie in your local grocery store"

Stacks Image 173369

Recent Events

On Novemeber 19th 2019, I spoke to the New York Capital Region Elfuns Club at the Hilton Garden Inn in Clifton Park NY, on the History of the Potato Chip.
The club consists of mostly retired General Electric employees.

Stacks Image 173375

The Toga Chip Guy Is On The Air!

I have been interviewed about the history of the potato chip by a California based radio station, Yesterday USA  Radio Networks,  at 10:30pm New York time on Saturday, September 14th.  
Listen here!

Established 1918

Of course we all know Nalley's for it's extensive line of great tasting chili. But over 80 years of history and a lot of hard work has gotten us to the brand we know and love today. And that history is strongly rooted in the Northwest.

Nalley's was founded in 1918 by a 28-year-old Chef living in Tacoma. Starting with thinly sliced potatoes called "Saratoga Chips", Marcus Nalley spent 44 years of his life becoming a household name. His potato chips were so popular, Nalley decided to open up a plant where he could produce them in greater quantity, as well as produce his own brands of mayonnaise and maple syrup. Despite hard times during the Great Depression, sales continued to soar and Nalley's began to expand throughout the Northwest in the early 1940s.

The first major development in production was the opening of a large factory in the southern outskirts of Tacoma. This factory produced pickles, potato chips, canned foods and salad dressings. And because it was the first operation to occupy this industrial development, the entire area was dubbed "Nalley Valley", a name that remains to this day.

In later years, new plants opened up in Tigard, Oregon and Billings, Montana. Nalley's was becoming even more of a staple in the Northwestern household. In fact, at the height of its operation, the company was operating more than 10 potato chip facilities within the US.

Marcus Nalley died in 1962, leaving behind a legacy that would continue to grow and grow. Today there are over 1,300 food products under the Nalley label ranging from pickles to canned foods to salad dressing and peanut butter. With canned chili as its biggest seller, the Nalley label continues to be synonymous with delicious, high quality food products.

Visit the Nalley’s site by clicking here.

Stacks Image 86966
Stacks Image 89096
Stacks Image 172710
Stacks Image 172708
In this photograph from August 1948, three unidentified employees carefully hand bag potato chips at the Nalley's plant at 3410 So. Lawrence St. Nalley's Inc. had its beginning in 1918 when Marcus nalley started operation of his now famous Nalley's potato chips in his kitchen. What was once a one man operation covered the entire west coast by 1946. Production operations were located in Tacoma, WA, Vancouver, B.C., and Spokane, WA. In Vancouver, a complete line of Nalley's products was made. In Spokane, manufacturing of potato chips was the main operation, and in tacoma, two large factories, Nalley's on Puyallup Avenue and the affiliated plant of L&N Products at 3410 South Lawrence Street provided the bulk of the products sold in the western states.
Stacks Image 172706
Nelly’s truck from Klamath Falls Oregon c 1940
Stacks Image 172698
A large delivery truck was parked outside the loading dock of the Tacoma Nalley's potato chip factory on August 5, 1950. Because the demand for potato chips was so high, a separate facility was built on Nalley's 15-acre tract on South tacoma Way for the manufacture of potato chips. The plant building was also the home of one of Nalley's subsidiary companies, United Foods, Inc.
Stacks Image 96884
Three Nalley's delivery trucks are lined up outside the company plant on July 7, 1923. Two of the three drivers are visible behind the steering wheels. Nalley's trucks were decorated with the slogan, "If it's Nalley's it's Good." An uncropped version of this photograph ran in the Tacoma Sunday Ledger on June 15, 1923. Nalley's had added more Dodges to their fleet including a touring car and a panel business car (not pictured above).
Stacks Image 96926
View of Nalley's employees wearing aprons and getting ready to serve the famous Nalley's fine food products to the guests.  Nalley's  anniversary celebration dinner menu included: mayonnaise, potato chips, burgers with Nalley's pickles, salad with "Tang" salad dressing and spaghetti; advertisements in background .  (Tacoma News Times 8/25/49).
Stacks Image 114506
Irwin-Jones Motor Company, a Nalley's Potato Chip delivery truck. The Dodge truck has the name, "Ray Beeber Food sales, Klamath Falls, Oregon" on the side of the door. The covered back end of the truck has painted signs for "Nalley's" and "Nalley's Fresh Potato Chips, Fresh-Crisp Delicious. 09-20-1946
Stacks Image 115296
This photograph showing the rear view of a Dodge truck displaying nalley's products was taken on August 9, 1950. Nalley's Inc. had a large delivery fleet. The Fort Lewis ticker above the license plate on truck #146 indicates that this vehicle probably made delivery of potato chips and other foods to the military base. Nalley's has a large factory built in 1940 on a 17 acre plot of land on (then) outskirts of town. It became known as Nalley valley. (History of Pierce County, Washington, Vol. 1, p 448).
Stacks Image 122609
The only thing better than a pretty girl to sell potato chips is two pretty girls. Two unidentified models in swimsuits snack on delicious Nalley's potato chips in September 1958. They are reaching into a metal chute at the Nalley's plant and sampling a chip or two. Nalley's as well known for their potato chips as well as a variety of other products-pickles, mayonnaise, salad dressings and syrup. In fact, Marcus Nalley began his company by preparing potato chips in his own small kitchen which were fried in cooking oil and packed in paper bags.
Stacks Image 141135
Circa 1959 aerial of "Nalley valley." All of the buildings in the center of the picture, to the left of the railroad tracks and above 35th Street which bisects the picture, belong to Marcus Nalley's vast food production empire. Marcus Nalley arrived in Ellis Island in 1903 at the age of 13 with 15 cents in his pocket. By the age of 21, with hard work and perseverance, he was working at a chef at one of Chicago's finest hotels. When he came to Tacoma, WA, he brought with him a recipe for an eastern delicacy "Saratoga Chips" - potato chips. By 1920, he had need of a factor to produce this chips , plus two new products of his design: Lumber jack Syrup and nalley's Mayonnaise. His first factory opened at 409 Puyallup Ave. he guided his company and employees through the depression. By 1930, he set his sights on 17 acre parcel on the outskirts of town. By the 1940's, his modern factory opened in the area that became known as "Nalley valley." Marcus Nalley died in 1962 and his company was sold to W.R. Grace in 1966. It has changed owners since that time.
Stacks Image 141139
A display of Nalley's potato chips at the Big Bear Store. Potato chips were Marcus Nalley's first product, prepared in his own small kitchen, fried in cooking oil, and packed in paper bags. "This is only the beginning" was his favorite comment during the 1930;s and it was certainly true. This rack includes two sizes, 25 cent and 39 cent, of the regional favorite potato chips. Krun-chees and popcorn were 10 cents a bag. bags of Ruffles Potato Chips hang along the left hand side. Hanging in the middle of the display is an ad that ran in Sunset magazine. 04-06-1951
Stacks Image 141143
A table is set with plates full of buns heaped with sloppy-joes, potato chips, pickles and olives. A box of nalley's potato chips and a bottle of Nalley's dill pickles at the back of the table together with a can of oscar mayer shredded pork and shredded beef and a large tray of Lindsay olives. 12-30-1949
Stacks Image 141147
The fleet of delivery trucks is lines up outside the District Sales Office. Signs over the loading bays advertise Tang Salad Dressing, Mayonnaise, Potato Chips, Lumber Jack Syrup and Treasure Pickles. Over the sales office the sign advertises Nalley's as wholesale distributors of food specialties.
Stacks Image 141151
Nalley's potato chip and popcorn factory. Many women at work at several different work stations in the assembly-line system used at Nalley's in cooling, bagging, and preparing the potato chips for shipment. A separate facility was built on part of the 15-acre tract on South Tacoma Way for the manufacture of potato chips. The chip plant in Spokane had reached its capacity and still the demand was high. The new plant was the home of one of the subsidiary companies, United Foods, Inc.
Stacks Image 141155
Mayor C. Val fawcett commended Nalley's and he stated he knew Marcus Nalley when he was selling his potato chips to housewives from a basket. By 1949 the company employed 600 people. View of visitors touring the Nalley Valley facilities; they are seeing a Nalley's employee work the assembly-line method used in manufacturing the famous potato chips. 8/25/1949.
Stacks Image 141159
Two young models are captured in the process of enjoying a bowl of Nalley's potato chips on September 4, 1958. These swimsuited women appear to be dipping their chips into a bowl of dressing. Nalley's chips were very popular and came in the traditional smooth shapes and also in ridges. Marcus Nalley ran a multi-dollar business which was one of Tacoma's greatest employers. His product line expanded to salad dressings, syrups, mayonaise, peanut butter, canned chilli, beef stew, and pickles of all kind.
Stacks Image 141163
Nalley's original plant in downtown Tacoma at Puyallup Avenue & "D" Street. Built in 1929, the huge factory opened in February of 1930. Walker-Wilkerson cut stone and brick from lay City were used in the desig. Nalley's would move to the 3000 block of South Lawrence in the 1940's when they outgrew the Pallyup Avenue plant. The building would be purchased by the Salvation Army for use as a social and rehabilitation center in 1953.
Stacks Image 141167
A little girl in a sunsuit holds an enormous bag of potato chips while standing on a tabletop at the Nalley's plant on September 4, 1958. In front of the child is a lineup of open potato chip bags. Apparently the chips are poured through a plastic funnel into the waiting receptacles. 09-04-1958.
Stacks Image 141171
The fleet of Dodge delivery trucks is lined up outside of Nallet's District sales Office. 06-03-1947.
Stacks Image 141175
Nalley's opened a new potato chip factory which houses a continuous chip frier. Only Kennebec potatoes were usewd by Nalley's to make potato chips. After harvesting, thje potatoes were held in a tempering room untilthe sugar content reverted, through natural processes, to starch. They were then dropped by a lift truck into a hopper where they began their journey along conveyor belts for washing, peeling, inspection, slicing and rinsing. Chips were dropped into a long kettle where an employe controlled the speed at which the chips were propelled through the hot oil. Here potato chips come down a conveyor belt and are reviewed by two workers for quality. The chips continue through a machine with a hood and then out of sight on the left. The factory contained a 10,000 gallon fuel tank to supply potato chip friers and two 5,000 gallon salad oil tanks. Three large air conditioned rooms stored the chips. 8/28/1946.
Stacks Image 141179
A crew of workmen were putting the finishing touches on Cheney Satdium in ASpril of 1960. The giant plywood wall in center field was eventually dubbed the "Great Wall of Cheney." Nalley's had already put up an advertisement which portrayed a baseball player, glove extended, reaching for an oncoming ball. Nalley's promised that any batter who hit the glove would collect $50 from the company.
Stacks Image 141183
It appears that this little girl's plea for crispy potato chips will be denied or limited by an admonishing woman, perhaps "mother" in a September 4, 1958 photograph. The child is reaching one arm toward a glass bowl packd full of Nalley's potato chips, but Mom has her finger pointing outward. It may be too close to dinner time for such a delicious snack.
Stacks Image 141187
The interior of A-G Food Store No.5 where Stan R. Eagle was manager. A display of Nalley's potato chips is in the center of the view. A dairy case is on the left. Produce is displayed in the rear on the left and th other shelves are filled with bags and cans of other grocery items. 01-29-1952.
Stacks Image 141191
Marcus Nalley, the founder of Nalley's Incorporated, gave an anniversary speech for the company's 31st anniversary on August 24, 1949. Marcus Nalley came from Croatia to New York in 1903. he had 15 cents in his pocket and couldn't speak a word of English. His name at that time was Marko Narancic. he took several jobs; in a steel mill, as a meat packer and finally in a hotel kitchen where he moved from kitchen flunky to pantry boy to fry cook. He became a chef on the first "Olympian" of the Milwaukee Railroad which ran between Chicago and Tacoma. Later, at the Bonneville Hotel in Tacoma, he learned to make a new potato delicacy, "Saratoga Chips." He began making potato chips in his own small kitchen and selling them door-to-door. In 1918, he rented a $5 a-month storeroom behind his apartment and began adding other food products. By 1969 his company processed 200 difefrent food items.
Stacks Image 141195
Visiting teachers from Oakland munch on potato chips as they tou the Nalley's plant. 04-24-1952.
Stacks Image 141199