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‘We will weather this storm:’ Covered Bridge Potato Chips president addresses devastating fire

Ryan Albright expresses gratitude for outpouring of support
Jillian Morgan, female, digital editor for Canadian Grocer
covered bridge potato chips hartland factory
The Waterville, N.B. factory. Photography via Covered Bridge Potato Chips/Twitter

Days after the Covered Bridge Potato Chips factory in Waterville, N.B. was destroyed by fire, president Ryan Albright says the company is planning its path forward.

In a statement released Tuesday (March 5), Albright said Covered Bridge is “determined to rise again.”

“It was with heavy hearts and immense sadness that we witnessed the fire that destroyed our factory in Waterville on Friday, March 1. At the same time, we cannot begin to express how thankful we were that no one was injured, and how grateful we were to the courageous first responders and firefighters who worked tirelessly to battle the blaze, while ensuring the safety of our employees. In moments of crisis, communities come together,” the statement reads. “We have been deeply moved by the outpouring of support, compassion and solidarity shown by residents of our community, our province and Canadians from coast to coast. Your acts of kindness, offers of assistance and heartfelt messages have served as a beacon of hope during this challenging time. Family is at the heart of our business and this extends to our valued employees. In the aftermath of the fire, our Covered Bridge family has remained resilient, united, and determined to rise again. We trust we can count on you ― our consumers, customers, suppliers, friends and families ― for your patience and continued support as we find our way forward. Since our first batch of chips rolled off the line over 15 years ago, we have navigated all challenges and bumps along the road with our strong entrepreneurial spirit. That spirit still shines bright as we plan our path forward. From the bottom of our hearts, thank you for standing by our side during this trying time. Together, we will weather this storm!”

The factory employed 185 people. Located near Hartland – home to the longest covered bridge in the world and known as Canada’s potato county – Covered Bridge Potato Chips is a fourth generation family business.

In 2004, Matt and Ryan Albright started a potato distribution company and later bought the farm where the potatoes were harvested. Production for Covered Bridge Potato Chips began in 2009.

Today, the company grows more than 500 acres of dark russet potato chips year-round. 

Following the fire, Covered Bridge received messages of support on social media from customers and the grocery industry.

In an Instagram post, Nova Scotia-based Pete’s Frootique & Fine Foods wrote, “Our thoughts are with our friends at Covered Bridge Potato Chips… We're sending them all the love and support during this time.”

UNFI Canada shared, “In the aftermath of the recent fire at the Hartland Covered Bridge Chip Factory, our hearts go out to the Covered Bridge Potato Chips family and its community. We offer our unwavering support as they navigate through this challenging time.”

A resident shared a photo to Facebook on Saturday of a Covered Bridge Potato Chips display at local Sobeys, where a sign reads, “Our heartfelt condolences go out to the Covered Bridge family and team. We appreciate all that you have done for our surrounding communities. Thank you to the brave firefighters for their tireless efforts. Our thoughts and prayers are with you all.”

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