Skip to main content
Fall 2019 Up-And-Coming Entrepreneurs Set Their Sights on Food
Carolina Kettle Chips founder Josh Monahan is a CALS NC State alumnus.

Up-And-Coming Entrepreneurs Set Their Sights on Food

From produce to honey sriracha potato chips, meet a CALS student and young alumnus who are taking the North Carolina food industry to the next level.

1in6 Snacks founder Josh Monahan stands next to a pile of chips boxes, grinning.
Alumnus Josh Monahan founded 1in6 Snacks in his NC State dorm room. The potato chip company – which is expanding to salsa, tortilla chips and more – donates a portion of proceeds to North Carolina food banks.

Snack King


North Carolina is known for a lot of famous foods — Mt. Olive pickles and Krispy Kreme doughnuts, Pepsi and Cheerwine — but when he was still an undergraduate, Josh Monahan noticed something missing: potato chips.

An agribusiness management student, Monahan decided to fill that niche by founding his company, 1in6 Snacks, in 2016. Three years later, 1in6’s Carolina Kettle Chips are on grocery store shelves across the tri-state area.

“I’m involved with a little bit of everything,” Monahan says, from strategic planning right down to driving the delivery truck.

1in6 Snacks takes its name from a statistic that caught Monahan’s attention back in his dorm room at CALS: at the time, he read, 1 in 6 people in the U.S. didn’t know where their next meal would come from. He already knew he wanted to start a company; now that company had a cause.

With 1in6 Snacks, Monahan maintains a lively social media presence, collecting photos of Carolina Kettle Chips at the beach, exploring historic Asheville – and jumping (safely) out of an airplane.

A portion of the proceeds from every 1in6 snack sold is donated to a local food bank. So far, that’s over $40,000, Monahan says, which covers more than 175,000 meals.

With 1in6 headquartered in a storefront on Hillsborough Street, Monahan travels to trade shows and festivals to get his product in the hands of potential new fans.

“It’s fun,” he says. “It doesn’t seem like actual work.”

He’s also had a hand in developing the (for now) 13 flavors of Carolina Kettle Chips, from Bee Sting Honey Sriracha to The “Mama Gin” Dill Pickle, named after Monahan’s grandmother.

Monahan’s Hillsborough Street location features both a storefront and a warehouse. Monahan still often drives the delivery van to grocery stores across the tri-state area.

“The part that I like best,” he says, “is dealing with different seasoning companies to really perfect the flavors and figure out what’s trending and what would really do well where we are.”

Besides, he adds, “Who doesn’t like samples?”

Other snack food forays are on the horizon. As the company grows, Monahan can refer back to lessons he learned as an agribusiness management student not so long ago.

Some classwork, he admits, didn’t seem terribly pertinent at the time, “but a lot of it comes in handy,” he sees now. “You’ll be like, ‘Oh wait, I learned this in class.’”

Fresh Prince

CALS student and food entrepreneur Collin Blalock sits on a truck full of watermelons.
Collin Blalock’s Centennial Produce Box won loyal customers during its inaugural summer in 2019. “The only thing we sell is what we grow,” Blalock says.


Seven years ago, growing vegetables on an acre of family farmland was just a way for Collin Blalock to earn some summer cash.

Now, the 22-year-old from Wilson is leading a produce and flower enterprise, Collin’s Produce LLC, spanning 25 acres. 

Don’t get him wrong; that first summer was real rough. No tractor, no extra hands. Blalock planted and picked vegetables by himself and wanted to stop when the season ended. His father convinced him to try it for one more year and, with the help of a tractor, things improved. 

Collin’s Produce now has four employees and offers 15 different types of fruits and vegetables, including watermelon, cantaloupe, cabbage, corn, collards, kale, cucumbers, squash, butter beans and peas. Sales have increased by more than 100 percent in the last two years.

“The only thing we sell is what we grow,” Blalock says. “Everything the customer gets is picked within a short amount of time before they take it back to their house … like if they were to pick it from their own garden and bring it back to their table.”

CALS student Collin Blalock stands in front of the NC State Bell Tower in a baseball cap advertising his produce business.
Blalock graduated from CALS in May 2019, returning in the fall semester as a graduate student in crop science.

He provides produce and flowers to five grocery stores and four florists in the Wilson area. His newest addition is a community-supported agriculture (CSA) program at NC State, the Centennial Campus Produce Box.

Blalock graduated from CALS in May and is now heading into a master’s program in crop science. His undergraduate degree has been fundamental to his business, he says, teaching him some core skills for running an agriculture-based business: how to efficiently grow and manage crops, effectively use fertilizer and manage pests.

Blalock says he has been surprised and humbled by the support people have given him and his business.

“I didn’t expect it,” he says. “Expanding the farm would be my dream … to support my family and build a career.”

CATEGORIES: Fall 2019, Human and Resource Systems

Leave a Response

Your email address will not be published. All fields are required.