The Utz Story begins in a small town kitchen in 1921. William and Salie Utz began producing Hanover Home Brand Potato Chips in Hanover, PA, in their summer kitchen, cooking about 50 pounds of chips an hour. They sold those fresh chips to small local grocers and markets, primarily in the Baltimore, MD, area. We hope you enjoy our story…
In 1930, the first section of the Utz plant was built on McAlister Street in the rear of Bill & Salie Utz’s home. A new manufacturing facility was later built there in 1938, the same year F.X. Rice married Bill & Salie’s daughter, Arlene, and joined the Utz business.
Hanover Home Brand was incorporated as Utz Potato Chip Company, Inc in 1947. Two years later, a five acre tract of land was purchased on Carlisle Street in Hanover, and construction on the first modern-day Utz plant began. The company built a 67,000 square foot facility to accommodate the growing demand for their popular potato chips.
As demand continued to grow, so did the Carlisle Street plant. The facility was expanded in 1953, 1956, and again in 1958 to include route van parking and larger potato storage.
In 1967, Carlisle Street expanded once more, and Utz replaced two original potato cookers with two new 1,200 pound-per hour cookers. In addition, F.X. Rice became President of Utz in 1968 upon the passing of William Utz. Mike Rice, the son of F.X. Rice and Arlene Utz Rice, also joined the company.
The seventies was a busy decade for the company. In 1970, Utz Quality Foods purchased Tasty Baking Company, a potato chip facility on nearby Broadway in Hanover. The present-day Broadway plant was purchased to expand and install pretzel production, and continues to produce pretzels today. In 1971, Utz celebrated its 50th Anniversary, opening new corporate offices at the Carlisle Street plant and installing two new pretzel lines at the Broadway plant. In 1975, the High Street plant was opened for an additional 50,000 square feet of production space. In 1978, popcorn production began at the Broadway plant. In that same year, F.X. Rice retired, and Mike Rice was appointed President and Chief Executive Officer.
Expansion continued in 1982. The Broadway plant was expanded, and construction began to expand the High Street plant another 300,000 square feet to accommodate production of all potato chips, corn, tortilla chips, and cheese curls. In 1983, sales began in Richmond, VA, Norfolk, VA, Philadelphia, PA, and Delaware market areas. As demand grew, in 1984, Utz created a mail order department to begin shipping products to Utz fans around the world. 1985 saw the grand opening of the newly expanded High Street facility, followed by the expansion of sales into Coastal Virginia markets in 1987. That same year, Utz opened a Tour Gallery at the High Street plant which remains free to the public even today, where Utz fans can view the manufacturing process of Utz potato chips and enjoy a free sample.
The nineties was a decade of even greater opportunity for Utz. In 1992, Mike Rice became Chairman of the Board, and in 1993, Utz expanded its sales distribution to serve national customers throughout the United States. In 1995, Utz welcomed Dylan Lissette, son-in-law of Mike and Jane Rice, into the business, ushering in a fourth generation of the Utz family legacy. The following year, Utz celebrated its 75th Anniversary, also expanding into the New York City market. The World Distribution Center was built in 1997 at the High Street facility to better handle trailer shipments to national accounts throughout the United States.
Kindig Lane, the fourth manufacturing facility of Utz snacks, opened in 2003, manufacturing corn chips, tortilla chips, popcorn, cheese balls, and cheese curls. From 2004 through 2008, Utz sales continued to expand into the New England, Pittsburgh, PA, Charlotte, NC, and upstate New York markets.
In 2010, Utz expanded into Western Ohio, followed by expansion into Atlanta, GA, the next year. In 2011, Utz celebrated its 90th Anniversary. Later that year, Zapp’s, Dirty, and California chips joined the Utz family of brands, including plant locations in Wilkes Barre, PA, Gramercy, LA, and Oxnard, CA. Also in 2011, Wachusett and Michael’s chips became part of the Utz family, adding another plant in Fitchburg, MA. In 2012, Dylan Lissette became President and Chief Operating Officer of Utz Quality Foods. The Bachman Company also became a member of the Utz brands in 2012. In 2013, Dylan Lissette became Chief Executive Officer and Vice Chairman of the Board, with Mike Rice remaining as Chairman of the Board. Utz purchased Good Health Natural Products in 2014, aware that customers today are always looking for healthier snacking options.
Today, Utz is the largest independent, privately held snack brand in United States, producing over 3.3 million pounds of snacks per week (about half of which are potato chips) while operating over 900 company owned routes. Utz is also a leading snack supplier to Warehouse Clubs and Mass Merchandisers nationwide. We thank you for sharing in our story, and are proud to continue producing high-quality, delicious snacks for you and your family to enjoy today and for generations to come.