TIFFIN, Ohio — It's been a snacking staple of northwest Ohio for a century, as Ballreich Snack Food Company in Tiffin celebrates its 100th anniversary.
Founded in 1920 by Fred and Ethel Ballreich out of their Ohio Avenue garage in Tiffin, the locally-made potato chip has become a favorite snack for many in the region.
Over the years, the reach of the brand has grown, going as far as Columbus, Fort Wayne and the Cleveland area.
"The market that Fred and Ethel serviced was Tiffin. And that has really been our core base over the years. But as each generation has taken over the company, the expansion has taken another step," said Steve Dandurand, President and CEO of Ballreich Snack Food Company.
Ballreich's goes through an average of about 2.5 million pounds of potatoes a year and works to source their spuds from local farmers in Ohio, southern Michigan or eastern Indiana.
They have grown to employ around 60 people, most of whom are drivers to deliver the product to area stores.
Last year a local investment group bought the family-owned company in hopes to keep the salty snack staple a viable and competitive business.
And though COVID-19 has delayed their centennial celebration to either this fall or next year, they know for the folks who love these chips, they will always have a spot reserved in shopping carts and pantries.
"When our customer talks about Ballreich's they talk about 'their' potato chip and their tradition. And that's really what attracted the investor group to say this is a community asset, how do we make it continue on for another 100 years," said Dandurand.
Ballriech's is also offering a 100th-anniversary commemorative box and if you buy enough of them, you can celebrate our nation's flag as well.
As part of their centennial celebration, Ballreich's snack food company has launched not one, but three brand new flavors.
Smoked Cheddar was an answer to customer feedback asking for a cheesy chip for years.
Honey Butter is a sweet chip inspired by popular Korean snack foods.
And Ballriech's VP of Sales Jamie Twining said Sweet Thai Chili is a trending, spicy flavor that hotheads will love.
"We take our product, we kind of have an idea of what we're looking for, and you in a kind of little laboratory and you're tasting, testing, reformulating until you get it right," said Twining.
The three flavors are available at most stores that sell Ballreich's.
With the addition of these three flavors, Ballreich now offers nine flavored chips along with their standard marcelled chips.
The expectation is to keep these new flavors and to continue to add new chips to their growing line of products.
"This is our first product launch since 2016, and we really want it to be more frequent with product launches. If we can do product launches every year, that's really where we want to be to keep up with where our consumer demand is," said Dandurand.
From now until Sept. 15, any online order you make from Ballreich's will include a free sample size of one of these three new flavors.