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Bickel's Snack Foods Inc will become new owner of Troyer Farms
Troyer Potato Products Inc., which bills itself as the nation’s only grower-owned chip maker, has agreed to sell itself to York-based Bickel’s Snack Foods Inc.

This purchase, which is expected to close by the end of the month, represents more than the marriage of two small snack-food companies.

Bickel’s, which was founded in 1954 by Luther Bickel — offering a unique “seared” chip in a variety of flavors — makes snacks at five plants under its name and a variety of private labels.

Bickel's was bought in 1998 by Hanover Foods Corp., the largest independently owned maker of frozen, canned, fresh and salted snack-food products in the nation.

“This will make a much larger company that’s able to compete against the Frito-Lays,” said Tricia Briggs, Troyer Farms’ chief financial officer.

That David-and-Goliath battle had become increasingly more difficult to win with each passing year.

Troyer Farms, which bought Cleveland-based Dan-Dee in 1984 and acquired Seyfert Foods, an Indiana-based snack-food maker, in 1984, employs about 325 people, and sells snacks in six states.

Together, those employees produce about 17 million pounds of snack food a year, including 10 million pounds of potato chips.

“The future of our employees is very important,” he said. “They are like family to us, and we know they play a major role in this business.”

Those same workers will continue to make and bag chips in Waterford that carry the labels of Troyer Farms, Dan-Dee and Seyfert.

But company officials expect there should be more work to do.

“Our distribution networks really won’t change,” said Briggs, Troyer Farms’ CFO. “They will just be getting a paycheck from Bickel. They will do the same thing, but they will also produce Bickel chips on our potato chip lines.”

The Troyer family won’t be walking away from the business completely.

The family will continue to own and operate a pretzel factory in Canonsburg. They’ll also continue to grow potatoes for the plant and to provide trucking services for the company.

Terms of the sale were not disclosed.
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