One of the distinctive aspects of the potato chip industry in the early part of this century is that many towns had their own local potato chip company. These companies usually consisted of a husband and wife or a couple of brothers that would hand cook their potato chips in a kettle. They would use their kitchens, basements, garages, the back end of restaurants, or any space they could find, to make their products. There were no standards on how to make potato chips, so everyone had to work out the problems they faced, usually by themselves. Occasionally, if they knew of another manufacture, they would share information and help one another learn.
Frederick W. Jones, founder of Jones Potato Chip Company, began his career as a distributor. He sold a variety of products such as margarine, soup mixes, cookies, pickles, nuts, pretzels, and potato chips. In the early 1940's, Frederick was unable to get potato chips from his usual source. He received the blessing, and some much needed expertise from his supplier, to begin his own production. The Jones Potato Chip Company came to life.
As was common among potato chip companies of the day, Frederick cooked his potato chips by hand in a kettle. The chips were lifted out of the hot oil in a basket and spread out on a counter to cool and be salted. Then the potato chips would be put into wax bags, stapled shut and put into cartons to be delivered to local stores and restaurants. Since the wax bags did not protect the chips from light or moisture very well, it was a challenge to provide quality potato chips to the customers. The difficulties in producing a high quality product, and the general hard work, drove many of the local hometown potato chip companies out of business through the years. The companies that overcame the obstacles and produced good tasting products survived and grew.
When the Jones Potato Chip Company was first formed, there were no wavy potato chips in the Mansfield, Ohio area. The company has used the term "Marcelled" to describe their wavy style potato chips. Frederick used this as a major point of difference to get his potato chips into the local stores. Other critical factors were Frederick's willingness to service his stores better than any of his competitors and his concern that every package of Jones Potato Chips was the best possible quality. Once when questioned about the size of different stores and the amount of potato chips that were sold through them Frederick commented, "Stores sell potato chips one package at a time and customers eat potato chips one package at a time."
The unique tasting Jones Potato Chips became a local favorite and the company grew. In order to increase production, pieces of automated equipment were added to the process to handle larger volumes of potato chips. By the 1960's everything from peeling potatoes, slicing, frying, salting, and packaging were done by machine, as it is today.
A Family Affair
The Jones Potato Chip Company is truly a family organization. Over the years, Frederick, his wife Elaine, and all six of their children have worked in the business. The tradition has continued with several grandchildren working on a full or part time basis. Currently there are twelve family members working for the company in some capacity. Frederick and Elaine Jones retired in 1986.
The Jones Potato Chip Company also works at maintaining a family atmosphere within the company. Success would not have been possible without the loyal and dedicated efforts of many individuals over the years. We recognize that the hard work and achievements of our employees, both past and present, has contributed greatly to what the Jones Potato Chip Company has become.
The growth of the Jones Potato Chip Company has come in different ways. In the early 1980's the company started expanding it's territory into new cities and towns around Ohio. The company has continued to develop it's mail order business, sending potato chips through out the continental United States, and to military people around the world. In January of 1996, the Jones Potato Chip Company purchased the Thomasson's Potato Chip Company. Thomasson's was another family owned potato chip company located in Elyria, Ohio.
There is one part of the "family" that we have yet to mention; our customers. There are many customers that have eaten Jones Potato Chips for years and years. Thank you! If you haven't tried Jones Potato Chips we invite you to join the "family". It is with great pride that we continue to make great tasting potato chips and snack foods and can truly say, "Family Made Since 1945".
Jones' Potato Chip Company History