Philly mystery: Why are Homegirls chips back on store shelves?

The once-ubiquitous snack got a 21st century makeover

Left: Homegirls chips today; Right: Homegirls chips of old

Left: Homegirls chips today; Right: Homegirls chips of old

Tara Murtha/Fiercely Yours

Get ready for a crunchy salty-sweet blast from the past with a side of woman power:

Homegirls Potato Chips are back on Philly supermarket shelves.

As of two weeks ago, according to a floor manager, the East Falls ShopRite is carrying the brand again.

The Philadelphia-distributed snacks were first introduced in the ‘90s as the female counterpart to Chumpies “Homeboys” chips, which a 1992 Baltimore Sun article called “the hottest thing in snack food since those annoying little raisins.”

While Chumpies were plain flavored, Homegirls chips had a BBQ tang — hence their nickname, “Sweeties.”

The brands’ popularity was probably thanks less to their flavor than to their packaging, which featured a trio of males or females who were “cute, cool and unshakable, hanging out without causing trouble, smart but decent, well-grounded and well-dressed…with a certain urban savoir-faire.”

Throughout the ‘90s and the decade that followed, Chumpies and Sweeties were available in almost every corner store in Philly — if you went to Temple in the 2000s, there’s a good chance you remember seeing the empty bags fluttering on the streets. The brands fell out of favor, though, and for the past decade, while you could find Chumpies in the odd grocery if you looked hard enough, Homegirls chips had been MIA.

Until now. Watch out homeboys, the ladies are back.

There’s even a new modern-looking update for the design: The three multicultural ladies on the bag are now represented in full photographic detail instead of as cartoon sketches. There’s the blond white woman hanging out with her arms crossed, the Muslim woman standing tall in long skirt and hijab, and the Latina woman looking chill in casual jeans and plaid.

On the back of the bag, next to the nutritional information, are inspirational messages about “motherhood,” “marriage” and “the power within us.” To wit:

The force within us is stronger than the negative forces outside of us. So our message to bad influences is.. STEP OFF. We’re going to change this thing around.

So is this very Philly brand making a full comeback? Unknown.

No other grocery stores Billy Penn contacted had the chips in stock, and a store manager at the East Falls ShopRite was unable to comment on which distribution company had brought them back to the shelves. We’ll be looking into the mystery further, so definitely get in touch if you have intel.

For now, head to East Falls, where they’re available in two sizes. You can find them right between the Chumpies and the Rap Snacks.

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Food, East Falls