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Mahnomen potato chip factory nears completion

MAHNOMEN - An $8.5 million potato chip factory near Mahnomen that could eventually employ up to 100 people almost complete.

Mahnomen Baked Chips will be primarily owned by the nonprofit Midwest Minnesota Community Development Corporation based at Detroit Lakes, Minn.

"We will own between 80 to 90 percent of outstanding shares," said Arlen Kangas, MMCDC president.

The 29,000-square-foot building will be situated on six acres within the 80-acre Mahnomen Industrial Park, located on the White Earth Indian Reservation.

Kangas said the facility should be turning out product sometime in December and initially employ 30 people.

"What we're attempting to do is something that no one else has done before," said Kangas.

Mahnomen Baked Chips LLC will produce the first, round, baked potato crisps. Other companies, like Pringles and Lays, produce fried potato crisps, he said.

"We're waiting for three to four key pieces of equipment to be shipped from various parts of the world," he said. "We're using proprietary technology developed in the Far East."

Construction on the plant began last November. About 90 percent of the equipment is on site and installed, Kangas said.

"For the city this is very exciting," said Mitch Berg, Mahnomen city administrator. "We hope that this will create the catalyst to reassure people that Mahnomen is a good place to do business."