MILWAUKEE -- For Frank Coon, it's easy to find fun in the 30 flavors of "Frank's Chips," a flour-based snack made in the former Tasnique's Bar near 27th and Atkinson in Milwaukee. Coon began making the chips 25 years ago when he needed a dish for a party, and quickly carved a niche. "They said 'don't come back unless you bring the chips!'" Coon said.
Coon, a former financial planner, developed different combinations of flavors out of a church basement before moving the operation to 27th and Atkinson, where Coon began feeding folks full-time. "We started two years ago at 200 bags-a-week, and were up to 3,500 last year. This year, we should be between 7,000 and 10,000," Coon said.
Coon says his success is shared in the community and among his employees. "I tell people where I make them and they have that frown like, my God, why are you there? Because I want to be! These are the people that work for and with me, and they work hard, they're ambitious and they're fantastic," Coon said.
Coon's employees include Deborah Fullove who was born and raised in the area, and is happy to be a part of the effort to share a positive flavor with the community. "This is something positive for this neighborhood. It's all good, and they know that only good stuff comes out of here," Fullove said.
Coon says he is speaking with potential investors, who contact him frequently. "The hardest part is to get them to try them because once they try them, I got them. You can't not like chips!" Coon said.
Coon, the German-born chipster, says no matter where he goes, his product remains a staple of southeastern Wisconsin, and is quickly making its way throughout the nation. Coon says he's trying to market the chips out east first, and then he'll move to the West Coast. Coon plans on hopefully selling the chips in Germany eventually.