Marketing 50

Stacy's Pita Chips

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Selling pita chips was probably not the kind of help Stacy Madison had in mind to offer people when going for her master's degree in social work.

But, in fact, the 40-year-old Ms. Madison's establishment of natural snacks company Stacy's Pita Chips with business partner Mark Andrus nine years ago has gotten notice in large part due to consumer interest in products that they view as helping them eat better.

Stacy's baked, natural, trans-fat-and-cholesterol-free pita chips have sold well in club stores like Costco (where she says they often beat out snacks from competitor Frito-Lay), and sales this year are expected to more than double 2004's $26 million totals. With small budgets, Stacy's has tapped guerrilla marketing tactics: students in its hometown of Boston develop and implement marketing programs for class credit. One example: offering skiers samples of its Simply Naked variety along with "Ski Simply Naked" stickers. Also, the company hired a dedicated "Chipping-In Coordinator" to develop a program of sampling at roughly 200 cause events. Schools have also been an area of increased focus in terms of both PR and sales.

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