In 1976, Paul Wilkes and John Crawford formed a new company called Potato Services, with an ultimate goal to "increase the demand for Michigan potatoes and stabalize prices at a profitable level." Today, now in the 3rd generation of the Wilkes family, Potato Services maintains the same goals and finds itself growing faster than ever in the rapidly changing world of agriculture...
THE EARLY DAYS
In 1976, Paul Wilkes and John Crawford formed Potato Services after earlier careers in the Michigan potato industry. Paul began his career on the "buy" side of the industry while John came from the farming segment or the "sell" side. This unique partnership began focusing on marketing seed potatoes as well as marketing processing potatoes. In their formation letter written to the attention of Michigan potato farmers, they stated their ultimate goal was to "increase the demand for Michigan potatoes and stabalize prices at a profitable level"
The company sold 25,000 cwt their first year and after discovering that they may have stumbled upon a sustainable business model, they decided to hire Paul's son Tim Wilkes after he graduated from Michigan State University in 1977.
CHANGING WITH THE TIMES
Over the years PSI's business model continued to evolve. In 1979, partnering with several local growers, PSI partnered to start Spud Pak, an Edmore based potato packaging plant supplying grocery stores throughout the Eastern United States.
In the early 1980s, PSI began signing their first large contracts with industry giants, both for table stock potatoes as well as chipping potatoes. They fulfilled their contracts primarily using Michigan potato farms, aligning with their initial goal to grow the Michigan potato industry.
In the early 1990s with the increasing popularity of potato chips along with the development of the Snowden variety, annual Michigan potato supplies began to increase exponentially. PSI, being an integral part of the Michigan potato supply chain, began to focus primarly on the chipping potato markets though their supplier list began to grow beyond the Michigan state line.
WHAT WE DO TODAY
Today, Potato Services continues to broker potatoes with both suppliers and customers across North America and has recently started exporting potatoes to other countries across the globe. In 2015, Matt Wilkes joined the PSI team, representing the 3rd generation of the Wilkes family in the business. PSI continues to buy and sell chipping potatoes, processing potatoes, table stock potatoes, and seed potatoes, along with new categories including specialized processing potatoes, exotics, and organics.
In addition to potato marketing, PSI offers a variety of other services...