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Mister Bee Potato Chips Expands Co-Packing Production

Mary Anne Welch Ketelsen

Parkersburg, West Virginia-based Mister Bee Potato Chips is expanding its private label co-packing services to add to its chip making for retail outlets.

The small, woman-owned business upgraded its entire facilities – new fryer, computerized seasoning, bagging process and new warehouse – providing opportunities for expanding its production to make custom chips for other snack companies, grocery chains, convenience stores and private organizations.

Mary Anne Ketelsen, president of Mister Bee since 2015, said the investments the company has made are paying dividends.

“We have upgraded our distribution strategy to retail outlets making our full range of chips available well beyond West Virginia, and the enhanced manufacturing upgrades allow us to fill more shifts and produce chips more days a week. Employment has grown at our Parkersburg manufacturing facility from 20 employees when I became president to 80 now.”

Rob Graham, VP and head of sales, said, “Mister Bee has experienced growth recently due to increased interest in our products for private label brands and co-packing for snack companies. The flavor and quality of our products is being recognized nationally.”

Graham said Mister Bee will be attending more trade shows that promote snack manufacturing, including the Private Label Manufacturing Association gathering this year in Chicago. 

Ketelsen said the company stays current with a range of certifications: U.S. Small Business Administration woman-owned small business; Kosher; Eurofins GMP; SQF; and federal HubZone.

Mister Bee produces original, barbecue, sour cream and onion, honey barbecue, jalapeno, salt and vinegar and dip style potato chips that are offered at retailers throughout West Virginia, Ohio, and Pennsylvania.

Mister Bee Potato Chip Company was founded in 1951 by Leo and Sara Klein and had its first offices on Mary Street in Parkersburg, West Virginia. At that time, the chips would be made in the morning and then Mr. Klein would distribute the fresh product in the afternoon. In November 1962, the company was moved to West Virginia Avenue, where the chips are still made today. Leo Klein operated the business until 1979, when he passed away at age 73.

The company remained with the Klein family until incurring financial difficulties in 2010. Mister Bee operates as West Virginia Potato Chip company and was purchased in 2015 by Mary Anne Welch Ketelsen, Douglas Ketelsen, James Richard Barton, Gregory Barton and Gregory Reed, along with Mary Maxine Welch participating in financing.

For more information, visit misterbee.com.

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