Hanover’s Utz Potato Chips to Be Sold
Utz new Carlisle Street plant in 1950
Here I was, all ready to resume my “potato chip series,” working my way up to the biggies, including my favorite Utz chips, and what do I see when I pick this morning’s paper of my porch? Utz is being sold! I breathed a little easier when I saw that Snyder’s of Hanover is the tentative buyer. The maker of honey mustard pretzels can surely do no wrong. The article sounds like they don’t plan to change the chips, just the owners. That’s fine–just don’t touch my chips!
Previous chip posts:
The York Daily Record article has a nice little chronological history of each company gleaned from their websites: Utz and Snyder’s The Utz info basically agrees with the information I found in the York County Heritage Trust file, recapped below:
Salie and William Utz started making potato chips in 1921 in their summer house to the rear of their home at 39 McAllister St. in Hanover, producing 50 pounds an hour, using hand-operated used equipment they had bought from a York factory. Their first factory was built on the same site in 1930 and by 1936 they had obtained an automatic potato chip cooker and were producing 300 pounds an hour. Salie made the chips and Bill delivered them to stores and markets.
In 1949 they built a 6,800 sq. ft. plant on Carlisle Street. Salie passed away in 1965 and Bill in 1968, but the business stayed in the family with their son-in-law, F. X. Rice, carrying on the business and expanding. Pretzels were added in 1971, popcorn in the mid ’70s, and cheese curls in 1986. Distribution area was expanded from South-central Pennsylvania and Baltimore area into the rest of Maryland and to Washington, DC, and then into more states.
Utz grandson Mike Rice took over in 1978, adding tortilla chips and a variety of other snacks to the line and expanding territory much further.
Their website has some interesting features, like how they pronounce Utz (not like the old-timers do) and an opportunity to sign up for their tasters’ club. They also have a gallery tour Monday through Thursday from 9 to 4 at their 900 High Street plant. The timeline on the website has historical pictures of the growing company and relates that Utz now produces over a million pounds of chips a week.
I hope the expanded company gets back into more local outlets. I’ve complained before about how hard it to find Utz chips in Central Market and the rest of downtown York. I just discovered last week that the White Rose City Cafe, tucked far into the northeast corner of the square has a large selection of Utz chips. The carry-out salad I bought for lunch was quite good, but I smiled for blocks with the Utz chips in my bag.