Nearly 100-year-old Tipp business closing doors after ‘worst planting season in history’

Horses deliver tomatoes to the cannery in Tipp City in this old photo of the Tip Top Canning Company, which will close this year. CONTRIBUTED
Caption
Horses deliver tomatoes to the cannery in Tipp City in this old photo of the Tip Top Canning Company, which will close this year. CONTRIBUTED

TIPP CITY – The Tip Top Canning Company, owned by the Timmer Family since 1924, has ended production and will close remaining operations sometime this year.

The company ended its tomato packing business with fall’s packing and will cease operations overall, said Matt Timmer, a fourth-generation member of the Timmer family and company vice president and production manager.

Poor, wet weather last spring impacted the tomato crop and the 2019 production.

“This spring was the worst planting season in history. We didn’t get enough tomatoes planted and enough packed,” Timmer said.

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A company history included on the Tip Top Canning website said the cannery on First Street was purchased in Tippecanoe City by the family in 1924. At the time, tomatoes were grown in nearby fields and brought to the factory in horse drawn wagons.

In more recent years, tomatoes were grown across the state and delivered by trucks that were a common site on streets leading to the cannery each fall.

Once the tomatoes were in and the pack completed last fall, the numbers weren’t enough.

“Doing the math, the numbers didn’t work,” Timmer said.

The company labeling operation will continue in coming months to complete cases of cans in the warehouse, and company offices will remain open probably until summer, he said.

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The decision to end operations and notify employees and customers was described by Timmer as emotional. Twenty -three people currently are working at the company, some with decades of experience.

Among them were Timmer family members including some fifth generation who helped part time, Matt Timmer said.

“We have had exceptional people help us get that far,” he said.

A liquidation sale will be held later.