It was 1920 in Tiffin, Ohio when Fred Ballreich and his wife, Ethel, opened their homemade potato chip operation in a dirt floor garage, using a copper kettle heated with wood scraps. It was an all day process that produced only 14 pounds of potato chips. Ballreich's chose to call their potato chips "marcelled", which means "wavy", taken from the popular ladies' wavy hairstyle of the 1920's.
The quality of Ballreich's Potato Chips created a huge demand that couldn't be met by a husband and wife operation, so Fred contacted his brother, Carl Ballreich, who was working as a supervisor at the Chevrolet Motor Plant in Flint, Michigan. Carl came back to his hometown to form the joint venture of Ballreich Brother's Potato Chips. With the combination of Fred's sales and baking skills along with Carl's strong work ethic and management skills, the company was well on its way to success. <
Carl's wife, Emma, and Fred's wife, Ethel, played a large role in growing the business as well, working hard peeling, sacking, and packing. Both couples lived side by side at 180 & 186 Ohio Avenue in Tiffin, Ohio. Eventually a small factory was built behind their homes.
Later in the 1920's, Ballreich's installed its first hand slicer at the factory.
Local farmers would deliver 100 lb. burlap bags of potatoes to Carl & Emma's basement for storage. Many weekend family outings included visiting with local farmers to check on their potato crop
After WWII, Fred's sons, Doyle and Nevin, along with Carl's sons, Owen and Don, and his son-in-law, Robert Reis (who married Carl's daughter Phyllis), joined the business. At this time, the plant was incorporated into Ballreich Bros., Inc. and expanded to a much larger facility in the same location
Sacking machines were added to help chip production reach 450 lbs per day.
A new warehouse was built in Defiance, Ohio to better service that area of Ohio. Ballreich's first automatic slicer, salter, hopper filler, and first automatic kettle were installed. Liquid shortening was introduced replacing the current solid form.
In the 1960's, a hydraulic lift was added to the exterior of the plant to unload potatoes more efficiently. An additional warehouse was also built onto the building for storage. A conveyor, hopper and 3 sacking machines were purchased and installed. Production began heat-sealing bags of potato chips to better preserve their freshness and speed up the chip making process. All peeling equipment was replaced.
A new cooker, slicer, peeler washer, and sacking machine were installed. These and other new equipment allowed chip production to reach 2000 lbs of potato chips per hour. That's 8,000 pounds of potatoes and 1,000 pounds of hydrogenated soybean oil each hour! SEE HOW CHIPS ARE MADE
In the 1980's, a semi auto-loading dock was built. A new sacking machine was purchased and installed to replace our oldest sacking machine.
Smokey Sweet Mesquite and Sour Cream & Onion Marcelled Potato Chips were introduced. We also expanded our snack line to include party mix, pretzel sticks, pretzel rings, pretzel rods, pork rinds, tortilla chips, cheese popcorn, caramel popcorn with nuts, and triple mix popcorn. ORDER NOW
Many new data innovations were brought on board in the 21st century including new software programs, handheld computers for sales representatives, in house graphic design, an IT department, growth in the sales & marketing departments and much more! Ballreich's also expanded its area of deliver to Mansfield, Ohio.
We also celebrated the 150th birthday of America's favorite salty snack food, potato chips, by teaming up with other area potato chip manufacturers to create the "World's Largest Bag of Potato Chips" at the Ohio State Fair, a Guinness World Record! A whopping 4,250 pounds of Ohio potatoes, 710 pounds hydrogenated soybean oil and 80 pounds of salt were used to make approximately 288,000 individual potato chips all in one bag!
Carl's grandson, Brian Reis, and his wife, Linda, became sole owners of Ballreich's after purchaseing all of the outstanding shares of Ballreich stock from the other 16 family shareholders of the company. We became the "Official Chip" of the TOLEDO MUD HENS. Honey Wheat Pretzels and Cheddar & Sour Cream Potato Chips were added to our product line.
Carl's Great-Granddaughter, Haley (Brian & Linda's daughter), joined the family business beginning the 4th generation of Ballreich tradition. We began a partnership with The Ohio State University Campus Dining Center and local grocers in Columbus, Ohio. We created a 2# Value Packs for COSTCO wholesalers. Holiday Baskets were first made available to customers. Gourmet Chocolate Potato Chips, Cheese Puffs and Corn Puffs were introduced. Ballreich's 1# FLAT Fantastic Potato Chips were also added. READ KID'S CONTEST COMMENTS from our "How Ballreich's Chips Became Flat" Contest.
Ballreich's delivery trucks were given a new look! Dr Gee., President of The Ohio State University, and Brutus, visited us for a tour and celebration! VIEW PICTURES We were featured in the Movie "Street Kings" with Keanu Reeves, as well as on RACHEL RAY'S COOKING SHOW, The View with Whoopi Goldberg and more! VIEW AWARDS AND RECOGNITION
Our website was recreated and we joined Facebook and Twitter. We became "The Official Chip" of the LAKE ERIE CRUSHERS, TOLEDO WALLEYES, BGSU FALCONS and UT ROCKETS. Ballreich's NEW Baked Potato Crisps were introduced in a 1.125 oz Bag as well as Regular & Baked Snack Packs. We entered the Chicago market servicing Walt's Food Stores. FIND US