Locally, the loss of one potato chip company is another's gain.
When Magic Potato Chip Co. experienced declining sales about a decade ago, Peter Margie, president and CEO of Olde York Potato Chips, saw the perfect opportunity to locate in Fort Wayne.
On Jan. 1, 2004, Olde York bought the assets of the failing company, and set up headquarters locally on West Cook Road.
Since the bulk of sales are in the United States, Margie said, “We wanted to manufacture where we were selling.”
Olde York Potato Chips is a separate ownership group from Margie's Ontario, Canada-based Saratoga Potato Chips company.
The company produces potato chips for large, private-label U.S. retailers, such as grocery chains. Private-label products are manufactured by one company and sold under the retailer's brand name.
Olde York produces only potato chips, and he said U.S. customers enjoy a flat chip more than the variety of flavored chips offered in Canada.
Margie said he also has noticed within the last two to three years the shift from retailers looking for the best price to wanting to offer a better product.
“They want their own retailer brand to be better than the national brand,” he said.
He said the government's directive to offer all-natural, low-sodium potato chips also influences retailers' decisions.
With the government mandate, consumers can save money and live better. “Overall health of consumers is not compromised,” he said.
Margie said Olde York is focused on the U.S. market and only ships by truckload directly to the retailer's main distribution center.
Navendra Paul, site manager, said, “Each customer is exclusive. What we do for one, we do not do for the other.”
Olde York, which has experienced steady growth since settling in Fort Wayne in 2004, has about 120 employees and runs three shifts.