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  • Hoover and Brown
    History
    History
    History
 
A seed is sown

Wyandot Popcorn Company was founded in Wyandot County, Ohio in 1936 by W. Hoover Brown and his wife, Ava, as a supplement to their grain and livestock farming operation. From its humble beginnings, the original processing plant was built in the same one-room schoolhouse Hoover attended as a boy.

School house
 

Wyandot grew steadily during the depression years, as popcorn became a favorite inexpensive treat for people throughout the country

1944 facility
 

 

Hoover Brown
 
Corn Crib
 
 
New Breads

In the late 1950s, Wyandot introduced and marketed three special hybrids for specific uses. Super X (expansion) was famous for its flaky kernels and extraordinary eating quality. Super M (manufacturing) was preferred by automated manufacturing plants because if its large kernel that resisted crumbling. Super C (caramel) produces a ball-shaped popcorn kernel that can be coated with caramel without breaking up in the process. As a safeguard against crop failures in any one growing area, Wyandot popcorn hybrids were grown throughout Nebraska, Kentucky, Indiana and Ohio.

factory
 
 
a Family affair
Teammates
 
Hover Brown Family
 
 
A branch is formed

In 1948, Wyandot Popcorn Company formed a subsidiary company, Popped-Right Corn Company, located on Mill Street in Marion. While Wyandot continued to process and sell raw popcorn, Popped-Right Manufactured ready-to-eat popcorn for theater chains.

Popcorn
 
 
Sweet snacks added

By 1950, Popped-Right became interested in developing a line of caramel coated popcorn. Hoover Brown turned to his friend, Bert Shirk, who had years of experience in caramel corn production for his local confectionary business, Shirk’s Candy. Bert’s knowledge and unique recipe were instrumental in creating this wonderful new product, which Ava Brown named Golden Crisp Caramel Corn.

Bert Shirk
 

Caramel coating was crafted over an open flame in large, copper kettles and then poured over a hybrid of popcorn called Super C. This specially formulated ball-shaped kernel resisted breaking apart under the caramel coating.

Cooper Kettles
 
 
Legacy Continues
Hoover and Ava Brown
 
3 sons
 
 
new facilities

In 1964, both Wyandot and Popped-Right built offices at 135 Wyandot Avenue in Marion. The raw popcorn processing operation remained at its original location, while ready-to-eat popcorn, caramel corn and extruded corn meal snacks were manufactured at the new Wyandot Avenue Facility

New Location
 
New packaging room
 
 
New Concept

Meanwhile, in 1961, the Frito Company had merged with the H.W. Lay Company to become Frito-Lay, Inc. Warren Brown, the youngest of three siblings, saw this as an opportunity to position Popped-Right as a strategic supplier to regional potato chip manufacturers. Knowing these regional “chippers,” as they were called, would struggle to compete with Frito-Lay’s full line of potato chips and corn-based snacks, Warren approached chippers across the Midwest and along the East coast with a bold idea. Popped-Right would manufacture and package a full line of corn-based snacks under the chippers’ own brands, thus enabling them to go to market with a complete line of salty snacks. The idea took hold, and Popped-Right’s snack sales began to soar.

Snacks
 

In the early 1970s, Wyandot began to emphasize export sales and began shipping raw popcorn to Australia, Japan, Taiwan, Central America, South America, Africa, Europe and the Middle East.

Globe
 
 
Raw sales explode

As consumer demand for popcorn grew both domestically and abroad, Wyandot capitalized on this demand with a variety of products. In addition to the traditional 50- and 100-pound bags sold to theaters and stadiums, Wyandot also offered consumers raw popcorn in cans, jars and microwave packages. In just six years, from 1974 to 1980, the company’s raw popcorn sales would double from 25 to 50 million pounds annually.

Pow-Wow
 
Popcorn
 
 
Recognition

In 1983, Wyandot Popcorn Company was awarded the Presidential “E” Award, by the United States Commerce Department for “Excellence in Exporting.” By that time, Wyandot had grown to become the world’s leading exporter of popcorn, shipping to 75 countries and accounting for nearly one quarter of the total global sales of popcorn. As George Brown concentrated on growing Wyandot’s international sales of raw popcorn, his younger brother, Warren, worked to expand Popped-Right’s snack sales.

George Brown
 
Wyandot Logo
 
 
House Brands

In addition to selling snacks under various customer’s labels, Popped-Right also sold under its own “House brands”: POW-WOW, Much Mates and Tender Delite.

Pow-Wow
 

 

Snacks
 
 

 

snacks
 

 

snacks
 
 
Expansion

To increase production capacity and extend its southern reach, Popped-Right purchased an existing facility in Jeffersonville, Indiana in 1981. This facility would eventually enable the company to expand into potato chip manufacturing.

Indiana Facility
 

However, in 1983 the Popped-Right name as discontinued. Both the raw popcorn processing and salty snack manufacturing continued under the name Wyandot, Inc.

Microwave Popcorn
 
 
Salty Snacks

As grocery chains began to carry “store brands” in the 1980s, Wyandot quickly became the "quality manufacturer of choice" throughout the country. Soon, Wyandot had significant sales to “private label” grocers across North America.

IN 1988, Wyandot also purchased Grandaddy’s brand from Nacho’s, Inc. in Memphis, Tennessee. Grandaddy’s soon became a top-selling line of grocery deli tortilla chips.

Grandaddy
 

In 1989, Wyandot sold its raw popcorn processing operation, this allowing the company to focus all its efforts on the snack manufacturing side of the business.

In addition to supplying grocery chains with a full array of private label snacks, Wyandot also enjoyed great success as a contract-manufacture, producing unique snack products for large food companies and brands around the world.

Munch Mates
 
 
Fire

On November 1, 1996, Wyandot suffered a fire at its Marion, Ohio manufacturing facility. That morning, as hundreds of devastated teammates gathered near the destroyed facility, Company leaders quickly reassured them that Wyandot would be back, better than ever.

Fire
 

In recognition of their many years of loyalty, Wyandot spend more than $1 million keeping the more than 300 out-of-work teammates on the payroll, paying 60 percent of their wages throughout the eight month recovery. And recognizing the unique skill of their workforce, the company awarded returning workers a $1,000 bonus.

Employees
 
 
New and improved

During the eight months it took to rebuild the plant, Wyandot’s Jeffersonville, Indiana teammates ran their facility around the clock in order to keep customers supplied. In addition as many as 16 different snack manufactures, many of them competitors, partnered with Wyandot to help fill customer orders.

Construction
 

This was a real testament to the closeness of the snack food industry, mostly comprised of family-owned companies, and to the respect those companies had for the Brown family. Wyandot’s customers showed incredible patience and loyalty, as not a single customer was lost as a result of the fire.

Welcome Back
 

 

Customer Icons
 
 
Current Facilities

 

Wyandot Facilities
 

 

Wyandot Facilities
 
 
Our People

Over the course of Wyandot’s 80 plus years, hundreds of wonderful and dedicated teammates have helped build the Company’s business and, more importantly, its reputation. Wyandot has always been known and respected throughout the food industry as a premier snack manufacturer, whose quality is matched only by its integrity. The Brown family stands in awe and heartfelt appreciation of all that the Wyandot family has accomplished together.

Teammates
 

 

Teammates