The family-owned snack food producer in Marion, Ohio, still belongs to the founding family started by W. Hoover and Ava Brown in 1936. Today, Wyandot remains highly successful in the snack business, even without marketing its own brands.
Wyandot, Inc., a family-owned snack food producer based in Marion, Ohio, is celebrating its 75th anniversary in business. Started by W. Hoover and Ava Brown in 1936 as a grain popcorn company, the business was founded in a one-room schoolhouse that Brown attended as a child.
“The company has prospered all these years because it has never lost sight of its commitment to customers, employees, community and shareholders. Even though the company refocused its business numerous times over the years to stay competitive, these values were always observed,” says chairman Doug Brown, one of three Brown family sons who all participated in the company’s operations throughout the years.
Brown explains that the changes in focus over the years included moving from just grain popcorn to ready-to-eat, caramel-coated popcorn, sales through the grocery trade under various brands and sales to movie houses. At one time, Wyandot was the largest exporter of popcorn in the country.
“The company has been successful in its snack business without marketing its own brands,” says Nick Chilton, chief executive officer. “Our business is other companies’ brands. We are now suppliers of snack products through various channels, including store label for grocery, foodservice products for restaurants and in making products for large branded companies that choose not to make the product themselves.”
Recognized as a top supplier in the snack industry, Wyandot provides products, services and current technologies, research and the ability to help marketing companies commercialize their ideas quickly and efficiently. It has adapted to meet new challenges, and has always tried to retain a family feel, reflecting basic values held by the Browns.