Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Japps/Jays and Yo-Ho Potato Chips

Richard Pitchford posted
I know that, technically, potato chips are not a confection (in terms of labeling). But they are a food that is "bad for you." They are another food product that was founded in Chicago.

Richard Pitchford posted
Richard's comment:
Jays Foods, founded in Chicago in 1927.
Leonard Japp, Sr. began selling pretzels from a truck in 1927. The business grew to feature a potato chip recipe made by Japp’s wife, Eugenia. After the Wall Street Crash of 1929, Japp found a new business partner and began selling the chips under the brand name “Mrs. Japp’s Potato Chips”. The 1941 Attack on Pearl Harbor and the subsequent anti-Japanese sentiment, however, led to a negative connotation towards the word “Jap” in the United States. The chips were consequently rebranded to “Jays Potato Chips” to avoid the sound-alike name, and the company became Jays Foods, Inc.
Jays Foods remained a family-owned company until 1986, when the company was sold to Borden, Inc. In 1994, Jays Foods was re-acquired by the Japp Family. In 2004, Jays Foods was purchased by Willis Stein & Partners, a Chicago private-equity firm, and, together with another snack company acquired by Willis Stein & Partners, Lincoln Snacks Company, assigned a parent company, Ubiquity Brands.
Jays Foods filed Chapter 11 bankruptcy on October 11, 2007, the second time in four years, and permanently closed its Chicago manufacturing plant on December 5, 2007. On December 5, 2007 the remaining assets of Jay's were acquired by Snyder's of Hanover who have said they will continue to manufacture and distribute Jays products throughout the Midwest. Snyder's will continue to operate Jays Chicago warehouse and distribution center and its Jeffersonville, Indiana manufacturing facility.

David Borck Yo-Ho chips were a favorite in Chicago. Served in my high school. See this .. you can still get a good copy of them, taste the same!..
These were a cheap addition to your lunch .. even if you brought your own sandwich. And, we ALL liked them. Maybe they were addictive?

At the time, they were made nearby .. in a plant on Addison near Cicero. You could go there and buy a BOX full for a song.

Sadly, that plant is gone as are Yo-Ho chips.

But, there is a company in Rockford which makes potato chips which taste EXACTLY the same as Yo-Hos! [Must be the same recipe and process.] It is called "Mrs. Fischers". They have added chips with barbeque and onion flavors too...really good!

We can buy these locally here in Arlington Heights, but have a look at their website.... can even order by mail!

www.mrsfischerschips.com
 
But I could not find an Addison Street/Road/Avenue to locate where the Yo-Ho plant used to be.

1938 Aerial Photo from ILHAP
Comments for the location of the Jays plant suggested 75th and the Dan Ryan, South Holland, IL, and near 97th and Cottage Grove. The plant on the right-side of this picture is the only plant near 97th and Cottage Grove. It is east of IC's Burnside Shops. That land is now occupied by the US Social Security Administration.
Update:
Per the Jan 29, 2020, comment, 40th and Princeton:
Satellite
I wonder if it was the building that was along this industrial spur.
1938 Aerial Photo from ILHAP

John J Kulidas posted
Jays Foods, founded in Chicago in 1927.
Leonard Japp, Sr. began selling pretzels from a truck in 1927. The business grew to feature a potato chip recipe made by Japp’s wife, Eugenia. After the Wall Street Crash of 1929, Japp found a new business partner and began selling the chips under the brand name “Mrs. Japp’s Potato Chips”. The 1941 Attack on Pearl Harbor and the subsequent anti-Japanese sentiment, however, led to a negative connotation towards the word “Jap” in the United States. The chips were consequently rebranded to “Jays Potato Chips” to avoid the sound-alike name, and the company became Jays Foods, Inc.
Jays Foods remained a family-owned company until 1986, when the company was sold to Borden, Inc. Jays Foods filed Chapter 11 bankruptcy on October 11, 2007, the second time in four years, and permanently closed its Chicago manufacturing plant on December 5, 2007. On December 5, 2007 the remaining assets of Jay's were acquired by Snyder's of Hanover who have said they will continue to manufacture and distribute Jays.
[A comment indicates the plant was at 825 E 99th St. As with the railroads, the plant probably moved away from the city center as it expanded. Another address was 103rd Cottage Grove. But I see that is the same building.]
Mike Breski shared

Debby Arcand commented on John's post
We have an original Japps potato chip can. It is an awesome piece of history and we love telling the history behind it.
[I wonder when they started worrying about fat and starch.]

Sheila Kirby posted
Former Jays Potato Chips 
99th and Cottage Grove 
By Serena
Victor Munoz posted
A Chicago original.
Richard Lubovitch posted
Great Jays ad painted on the side of Teds Tick Tock Polka Lounge. 60'S. North Ave.
Brian Medders commented on the above posting
 Mrs. Japp's
Chicago's Extinct Businesses posted
Jays in still around, but not made in the Chicago area anymore. Who remembers buying them in tin canisters back in the day?
Chris Almore posted more photos.
Kevin P. Cihlar commented on Chris' post

One of four photos posted by Kevin Piper
How many of you Midwestern folks remember Jays Potato Chips? When I was in eighth grade (1973), I went on a field trip to their plant at 99th & Cottage Grove in Chicago. It was a fascinating operation. They fed us free hot dogs, and of course, their wonderful potato chips in the employee lunch room during the tour. My favorite part though was seeing thousands of fresh potatoes being unloaded from a string of 40 ft. BN ice reefers on the dock. A Rock Island Alco C415 yard locomotive was idling nearby too! What a great trip for me, while most of my classmates seemed very bored.
The chips themselves were being produced by state-of-the-art machines and a small army of workers with hair nets and gloves at the big Jays plant, opened in the mid 1950's. Here a man named Leonard Japp (I later went to high school with his grandson!) kept a close eye on his crunchy empire, transforming a humble family business into a multi-million dollar endeavor. Japp sold Jays to Borden's Inc. in 1986. Though Japp died in 2000 at age 96, his family bought back the business in 1994 and attempted to revitalize the Jays brand but failed. Jays filed bankruptcy in 2007, and sold out to Snyder's of Hanover. Snyder's closed the Chicago plant (then served by NS) in 2007, and over 500 people lost their jobs. I'll always remember the smell of fried chips on that trip, and the sights and sounds of a great tour inside with forklifts and dozens of smiling faces behind ovens and machines.
I miss you Jays, I miss you 1973, and I miss you Chicago!
Lenny Ohrnell WFBX Bulk potato car. Jay’s never warehoused their chips, made and shipped fresh daily. Have you tried Sterling’s chips made in a West Burlington.

11 comments:

  1. what about Yo Ho's? I did not see anything of the old bereft chip brand?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We're can I buy yoho's potatoes chips miss them so much

      Delete
  2. My husband Don began working at Jays main plant right before we were married Oct 1982. He worked as an asst supervisor in Shipping & Handling, 6 mos later became a Supervisor. He worked as Production Supervisor at main plant also, then a Supervisor in South Holland, Valparaiso warehouses thru the yrs(maybe 1 or 2 others,can't remember). Around 1998 they were going to be opening up a new big warehouse in Glendale Heights, IL that my husband transferred to but soon after he resigned and found another job. I wonder how long that wh was open? Hmm. I'm proud of my husband's accomplishments and Jays was a very good company to work for. Grateful to God for those opportunities. Thanks for this blog, I'm passing it on to Don.
    Sincerely,
    Mrs Cheryl Klingberg

    ReplyDelete
  3. The original Jays Potato Chips manufacturing plant was located at 40th and Princeton Avenue on the South Side of Chicago, not 75th and the Dan Ryan. My father in-law (the late Clyde Martin, Sr.) was the first African American route salesman for Jays Foods in the late 1950's. After a period of time in the 1960's the main plant moved to 99th and Cottage Grove. Local distribution branches included the "East Branch" at 4410 S. Wolcott, the "North Branch" and the "South Branch" in South Holland, Illinois. In the late 1970's a new building was constructed for the "East Branch" at 1540 W. 44th Street. My father in-law who was previously "King of Sales" accepted the promotion to "Branch Manager" and finally "Regional Sales Manager." I worked for Jays in the East Branch warehouse and also as a route salesman for over fifteen years.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I met Clyde several times in my 25 years at Jays. Great sense of humor.

      Delete
  4. I remember buying a steel drum of Jay's potato chips. I can't imagine that we would throw away the drum, or have a basement full of old containers. Was there a program for getting refills, or returning your old containers

    ReplyDelete
  5. There is another small manufacturer of outstanding potato chips in Freeport Illinois, Mrs. Mike’s. The potato chips remind me of the Yo-Ho potato chips I ate when I was a kid. In addition to potato chips, they also make fantastic pop corn, caramel corn, corn, and cheesy corn. I first bought their potato chips in Galena at an independent pharmacy/drug store.

    I go to a little store adjacent to their manufacturing plant in Freeport when I am in the area. You can visit their website for more information: https://mrsmikes.com/

    ReplyDelete
  6. I thought the YoHo plant was in the Cicero/Armitage area. I remember those tasty chips sold at St. Patrick High School when I attended back in the mid-fifties!

    ReplyDelete
  7. Yes!… My dad ran the Yo Ho plant in the 80s...It was located at Armitage and Cicero just east of Cicero next to Saranecki catering on on Armitage

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Do you know what happened to the company? I always wondered. Thanks.

      Delete