WINNIPEG — People across the country could soon be experiencing a chip that was created by a Manitoba-based, Indigenous-owned company.
Alfred Lea, who started the Native Canadian Chip Corporation, created Tomahawk Chips in 2015.
The chips have mainly been sold in Manitoba, Ontario, California and on Amazon, but that will soon change thanks to a partnership with Star Wholesale Ltd., which is a national distributor based in Calgary.
“You have to work hard, you just have to keep going, you can never give up,” said Lea. “That’s what I tell young people, if you’re going to do something, you’re the main driver, you drive it; don’t let anyone else steer you away.”
The Riverton, Man.-based company currently has five flavours of chips that are sold at a variety of stores.
While the chips are a growing product, Lea said they are looking to expand the brand and offer more products.
“We’d like to do jerky, some corn chips, popcorn, et cetera.”
He said they like to create their own recipes for the products and use Indigenous producers as well.
“I take this business seriously because you’re getting people to follow you and if you fail, they fail.”
Some of the flavours of Tomahawk Chips that will be available throughout Canada. July 27, 2021. (Source: Scott Andersson/CTV News)
Lea added he currently employs around 20 people and with this new national partnership, he plans to double his workforce.
He also has plans to expand his chip brand outside of Canada.
“I just came from a trade show in Las Vegas and it went very well, so we are expanding very quickly in the U.S.”
Lea added he has also sent test samples to China and has received interest from Taiwan and Saudi Arabia.
Some Tomahawk Chips flavours. July 27, 2021. (Source: Scott Andersson/CTV News)
Another project Lea is working on is mentoring Indigenous youth through Friendship Centres in First Nation communities.
He is taking his business experience and helping kids with their business ideas.
“I just open doors for them and give them opportunities to meet other business people,” he said, noting the youth are already very sharp people.
He said the advice he gives people is they have to be prepared to work hard and they can do anything they want, they just have to apply themselves.
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