In their 70th year of operation, E.K. Bare & Sons, Inc. is once again donating 4,000 single-serve bags of Herr’s Potato Chips that are used at the Fire Company’s chicken barbecues on the Saturdays before Memorial Day and Labor Day. This donation has been a longstanding tradition. People who enjoy Bird-in-Hand’s delicious barbecue, love finding the chips in both the takeout containers and on the buffet in the dining room.
Over the years, the system has worked well: E.K. Bare & Sons receives a call from the Fire Company requesting chips and they in turn call the local Herr Potato Chip delivery man with the date of the next chicken barbecue. Delivery is guaranteed!
This type of steady support keeps the chicken barbecues profitable. No one remembers when the donations began, but there is a possibility that they have been ongoing for the past 50 years dating back to when E.K. Bare & Sons moved their offices to Bird‑in‑Hand.
In 1948 Elvin K. “Whitey” Bare and his sons, Bob (age 18) and Jake (age 16), started a wholesale potato supplier firm. They bought their first truck from a potato hauler who went out of business while Bob was working for him. Since the Bares were potato farmers and knew the industry, Bob convinced his father that they should take over the business because he knew the route and all of the customers.
The company grew and by 1968, they moved their offices out of their homes and into a trailer and later a building at 252 Maple Avenue. When the Bird-in-Hand Restaurant opened in 1970, Bob and Jake met every morning for breakfast to begin their business day before heading to the office. Now in their retirement, they are thankful that the next generations are continuing to supply chippers with high quality potatoes.
Bob Bare’s son-in-law, Bob Horst, joined the business in 1981. Ragen Horst and Brad Halladay, Bob Horst’s son and son-in-law, took over in 2006–2008 and are the present owners and operators. This is quite an accomplishment: the 4th generation is still successfully conducting business in its 70th year!
The Bare family has a long history in Bird-in-Hand. Members of the family have lived on the home farm at 479 Mill Creek Road for almost 150 years and have owned it since 1903. They are active in their home community. When Bird-in-Hand celebrated its 250th anniversary in 1984, Jake Bare was the associate chairman of the event and also served on both the finance and grounds committees; his wife Ruth was in charge of crafts; and Bob Bare organized the parade and fireworks and served on the Sunday events committee.
Operations Manager Ragen Horst comments, “My present generation values the foundation the preceding generations have laid in community involvement. I love the town of Bird-in-Hand and am looking forward to being a part of the community.”