Popular plantain chips began in Tampa couple's kitchen

What's Right With Tampa Bay

- Bag after bag of Chifles Plantain Chips make their way down an assembly line at a 20,000 square foot facility in Tampa, and then to grocery stores across the country.

Founder Peggy Argudo remembers when it was just her, her Ecuadorian husband, Segundo and a pressure cooker in their Tampa kitchen back in 1963.

"We started, just the two of us," said Argudo. "We did the buying, the cooking, we did everything."

The Argudos got the idea for their business while they were living in Cuba. The couple often enjoyed snacking on fried plantain chips, known as chifles in Ecuador.

They would buy the chips from street vendors in Havana.

"I thought it was a wonderful chip," said Argudo. "It was nice and crispy. It didn't have a lot of oil. I just thought they were tasty. There was something special about them."

Once they settled in Tampa, the Argudos struggled and sacrificed to make their business work. It paid off. The produce became popular, and the brand began expanding to different kinds of chips.

Following the death of her husband, Peggy carried on the family business with her daughter, Stefanie Mackenzie.

"There are a lot of opportunities to say, 'you know what? This isn't going to work,' and they could have done that, but they didn't," said Mackenzie.

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