Zanesville potato chip company buys Mikesell’s brand rights

Dayton’s favorite potato chip company may be closing, but Mikesell’s brand snack foods will still fill store shelves in the region.

Conn’s Potato Chip Co. announced Monday that its subsidiary obtained a license to the brand rights for Mikesell’s snack foods, which effective immediately will be made at its Zanesville facilities “to quickly restock retail shelf space, especially for potato chip and puffcorn items.”

“Conn’s is excited about this opportunity,” said Jonathan George, owner and president of Conn’s. “The licensing agreement will allow us to use the decades old recipes and traditions of Mikesell’s to deliver the quality snack food products consumers have come to expect and enjoy, especially the loyal fans of Mikesell’s products.”

Mikesell’s announced Feb. 1 that it was going out of business. In operation since 1910, Mikesell’s described itself as the oldest continuously run family-owned potato chip company in the nation.

At the time of the announcement, Mikesell’s said that it hoped to sell its brand and intellectual property rights to another snack food manufacturer to continue the Mikesell’s brand.

“This opportunity is a perfect fit with our processes and regional presence. Distribution will be provided by independent operators in Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana, and consumers will soon be able to make online purchases,” George said in a release posted on the company’s Facebook page.

Conn’s was established in 1935.

Like all businesses, the company has faced challenges linked to recent inflation. But this latest bout — fueled by pandemic-strained global supply chain problems, war in Europe and more — has been pronounced.

“These are incredibly difficult times,” President Luke Mapp told the Dayton Daily News in December. “Mikesell’s is facing those challenges along with every other business out there.”

Mapp said at the time that his company faced a trio of problems, some of them long-standing: inflation, retiree pension liabilities and retail product placement trends.

The company’s board of directors named Mapp president in March 2020 at the cusp of the pandemic. COVID-19 had a huge impact on employment, for Mikesell’s and every other company.

The company traces its origin back to 1910, when D.W. Mikesell and his wife operated a business selling dried beef and sausages from two rooms on South Williams Street in Dayton.

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