According to legend; When Al Capone came home after a trip to Saratoga Springs, New York—the birthplace of the potato chip—and personally requested that Japp bring the salty potato snacks to Chicago. Without stamps, you couldn't buy anything. Anyone else remember seeing that? Besides the Chicago plant, the firm has 14 distribution plants and 5 distributors in Illinois and parts of Wisconsin, Michigan, and Indiana. Through the purchase of their assets, Snyder's of Hanover will continue to produce Krunchers!™ Kettle Chips, O-KE-DOKE™ Popcorn and Jays™ Potato Chips. At about this time, Jays came up with the slogan for which it is almost as famous as Schlitz was for ''The beer that made Milwaukee famous. 10-Vol. Family cookbooks are an important way to preserve our mealtime traditions for future generations with individual printed recipes or your own professionally printed cookbook. Operating in several Midwestern states, Jays Foods' potato chips and popcorn maintain significant shares of their respective markets. Once the contents of a tin were consumed, many people kept the cylinders as waste baskets or storage bins, meaning plenty of them stayed in circulation even after boxed and bagged variations made the store-bought 1 LB tin obsolete. Not sure if this is true or misinformation. It burned my bangs, eyebrows, eyelashes and there was a distinct smell of burning hair in the air, but no real harm was done. ''That's how it got started in 1940. Then, like so many other businesses born in the late ’20s bubble, the stock market crash put them back at square one. The chips themselves were being produced by state-of-the-art machines and a small army of workers at the sprawling Jays plant on 99th Street and Cottage Grove, opened in the mid 1950s. ''They used to deliver those cans to the back door and we'd fill 'em and load 'em out the front door. Local Business. There's no way you can store that many cans. I cut lawns, shaved necks in barber shops, and picked coals off railroad tracks so my family would have enough to eat and enough heat to warm our house. It was founded in 1927 right here in Chicago and distributes its products in Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Wisconsin, Iowa, Minnesota, and Missouri. The business grew to feature a potato chip recipe made by Japp’s wife, Eugenia. Choose from contactless Same Day Delivery, Drive Up and more. A tour of a modern potato chip plant. I. n December of 1927, Capone moved to the property he owned in Saint Petersburg, Florida to get away from the heat that was coming down on him in Chicago. ''Overall, the consumer must think they've got a pretty good product because they have grown. If you have too much, you have too much spoilage,'' said Leonard Jr. Competition always is lurking. Pretty soon, they started asking for potato chips. As a teenager, Leonard hitched a ride on a train bound for Chicago, looking for the next buck. Kathy Whelan Daly – The first meal I ever cooked was a potato chip casserole, made with chips, cream of mushroom soup, tuna and peas. In any case, by 1929, the Japp & Gavora Food Co. (which is generally cited today as the starting point of Jays Foods Inc.) had become a self-made success story, expanding from one food truck to fifteen. Chicago Public Radio's Diantha Parker reports on the conclusion of a Chicago snack food legal showdown between the Lay's potato chip brand and local favorite brand Jays. The Japp family was more concerned with defending their Midwestern turf, and they held off challengers successfully for decades. Sure wish I could find a pic of the semi’s being unloaded. Museum Artifact: Jays Potato Chip Tin, 1950s, Made By: Jays Foods, Inc., 825 E. 99th Street, Chicago, IL [Pullman]. Mrs. Lincoln Surprised Abe with a Home Remodeling Project. I cut lawns, shaved necks in barber shops, and picked coals off railroad tracks so my family would have enough to eat and enough heat to warm our house. [Former Jays Foods factory at 825 E. 99th Street]. In October of 1999, Leonard Japp, Jr. died of an aneurysm at the age of 67. By 1950, we were the top potato chip company in Chicago,'' Japp said. [1 ] We decided to go that route, and in no time at all, we were doing great,'' he said. 99th and Cottage Grove (563.80 mi) Chicago, Illinois 60628. [Jays employee Jack C. Williams, circa 1960s]. When we turned over the bids, George had bid $145,000.”. All these drinking establishments were in need of smokes and something to nosh on. How does Al Capone figure into the Jay's Potato Chip story? Thanks so very much! For as much as Jays emulated Lay’s in its marketing, it was never going to compete with them on the national stage. Management allowed us to take bags of chips to our families on Fridays. We are not Jays Foods. Started buying chips, taffy apples, pretzels.'' He launched the “Mrs. The Digital Research Library of Illinois History Journal™ is rated PG-13. At that time, Jays was doing about $750,000 in business a year, only in the Chicago area. Jays faced a constant battle to get the right amount of shelf space at grocery stores. $12.00 $ 12. Special Foods moved into a factory space at 40th Street and Princeton Ave., and started producing the aforementioned Mrs. Japp’s chip—one of the very first on the market to be fried in corn oil, creating a lighter snack than the old fashioned lard-dipped chip. When Japp began in 1927 (the Great Depression didn't start until Aug. 1929), his Japp & Gavora Food Co. took off almost immediately by delivering snacks to saloons, some of them owned by Al Capone. Dad told me the Japp's had to change the name because of WWII and its negative connotation of Japanese people. ''We make potato chips and popcorn for the first two shifts. So, in a ridiculous game of chicken, they agreed to make simultaneous bids to buy one another out—winner take all. Lost Towns of Illinois - Grosse Pointe and Ridgevill, Illinois. All photographs displayed in the Digital Research Library of Illinois History Journal™ are the property of their respective owners, unless otherwise noted. This is a museum that researches Chicago companies of the past. After the company tanked in the next eight years under the unfocused ownership of Borden Inc., however, the Japp family stepped in and bought back the business in 1994—with manufacturing still chugging along at the 99th Street plant; the familiar smell of chips lingering in the air around Cottage Grove Heights. Who knows? Since 1927, Jays products have been a Chicago favorite. It’s not only NOT a person’s name, it’s not even a fun reference to anything Chicagoie. For over 75 years, Chicagoans have voraciously chomped away on handfuls of Jays Potato Chips—sharing in the communal assumption that some guy named Jay must have invented the salty snack for them back in the proverbial day. Please comment accordingly. Jun 23, 2014 - Former Jays Potato Chips factory at 99th & Cottage Grove. Through the years, Jays has added to its snack foods, but potato chips constitute 70 percent of sales. In truth, though, poor Leonard managed to time things up even worse than that. Even for a perfectionist, though, ambition had its limits. I’ll never forget putting the dish into the oven, turning on the gas, going for the match, lighting the oven and poof! Other options New Japp’s” brand of potato chip not in ’41, but in 1940, giving it ample time to establish a wide manufacturing base, grocer distribution, and local recognition BEFORE the war came to Hawaii. By 2004, the company was re-sold, and by ’07, it was bankrupt, leading to the closure of the Chicago plant after 50 years in operation. Jays, which makes Jays and Krunchers! Find this Pin and more on Chicago Pin of the Dayby Lake Claremont Press. Since 1927, Jays products have been a Chicago hometown favorite. I used to eat them all the time in the 70’s. By 1938, he’d formed a new partnership with a salesman from Kraft Foods, George Johnson, creating the Special Foods Co. Purely a distributor, the firm sold a wide assortment of edibles (including Rival brand dog food). JAYS Sour N' Dill Potato Chips A Chicago Original 5 Pack 1.25oz bags. But that keeps Jays' 400 employees there busy on three shifts a day. I didn’t know anything about potato chips.”, “We wrote our bids out on a piece of paper and agreed the higher one would win,”, “I wanted to bid $120,000, but my wife said that if we wanted to keep the company, we should bid $150,000. The Madison operation went out of business and the partners began buying a similar product from Blue Star Foods Inc. in Rockford. As to whether the chips taste the same—nostalgia seems to be a formula consistently difficult to replicate. (Salty snacks resulted in more beer sales.) But this lighthearted tale of snack foods and legacy has a rather stunningly sad ending. If you're from the Chicago area, you probably grew up eating Jay's Potato Chips. If you give it a closer look, however, the familiar Jays logo—with its conspicuous lack of an apostrophe—raises some questions. Thank you for keeping the memories of the original Jays.” –Kathy Whelan Daly, 2020, “The story about mr. Japp picking up coal along the railroad tracks to keep the family house warm and the other odd jobs is very representative of his Generations ability and willingness to busted huh to get whatever they need and not just expect things nor want a trophy for breathing like today’s generation could you even imagine chip or anybody coming out with a company that even inferred or inadvertently hurt somebody’s touchy feelings oh my god there be lawyers coming out of the sky and parachutes great company great product great man” –Samuel C., 2019, “I worked on the Jays Potato Chips ad account for over 10 years and visited the plant/office on 99th street frequently. I didn’t know anything about potato chips.”, [An automatic potato chip making machine in operation, c. 1950s]. Pretzels, corn chips, cheese dips, and other products are made elsewhere. ''Got an old vagabond truck. So we began using that,'' he said. Jay's Foods was acquired by Snyder's of Hanover in December 2007. They changed the name to Jays Foods and in the next five years, continued to expand the company's distribution. The company grew to 850 workers. ''I don't want more shelf space than I can sell in a store, but I want it where I can be representative. This small bag of plain potato chips makes an easy choice for all of your salty cravings. My wife, Eugenia, and I would travel all over the Midwest. 00 ($1.09/Ounce) FREE Shipping. PHONE: 815-964-9114 FAX: 815-964-3880 1231 Fulton Ave, Rockford, Illinois 61103 Some surprising history of Jay's Potato Chips in Chicago. ''We had been adding trucks, going like crazy and concentrating on chips, getting rid of other items like dog food and jellies and candy,'' he said. Originally called Japp’s, the brand changed its name during World War II.. Now owned by Snyder Lance, a Pennsylvania-based company, the … People always ask about him. In the 1960s, Jays switched from tin cans of potato chips to less expensive boxes. Jays Foods, Inc. is a local manufacturer of snack products, including potato chips, pretzels, and popcorn. But the result was that George Johnson was out, Special Foods was no more, and Jays Foods was born. There was always a chance to advance by their job postings. After some lost years roaming the earth, boxing all comers, and presumably teaching Shirley Temple how to dance, Leonard Japp re-emerged in the mid 1930s, ready to take another shot at the snack game. When we turned over the bids, George had bid $145,000.”, “Eugenia had great compassion for women who cooked for large families,”, “She listened to their concerns and comments and always looked for new ways to stretch the food dollar.”, “The story about mr. Japp picking up coal along the railroad tracks to keep the family house warm and the other odd jobs is very representative of his Generations ability and willingness to busted huh to get whatever they need and not just expect things nor want a trophy for breathing like today’s generation could you even imagine chip or anybody coming out with a company that even inferred or inadvertently hurt somebody’s touchy feelings oh my god there be lawyers coming out of the sky and parachutes great company great product great man. In 1944, Leonard Japp and George Johnson were still doing fairly well, but surveying the landscape, they decided there wasn’t enough room in Special Foods for the two of them. I can't tell you how I got it. Only 10 left in stock - order soon. Required fields are marked *. Generally speaking, I think we could do more. Your email address will not be published. “George and I knew about the speaks,” Leonard told the Tribune, “so we decided to buy an old broken down truck for five dollars down to sell pretzels, nuts, cigarettes, what they needed for sandwiches. Here, Leonard kept a close eye on his crunchy empire, transforming a humble family business into the undisputed chip king of the Chicagoland market. Fortunately, Leonard Japp—the person—was considerably more interesting than his nomenclature skills. Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment. The Jays Foods potato chip factory once stood in the Rosemoor neighborhood on 99th Street, but it extended its reach as far as the expressway with its strong smell of delicious grease. He had profit sharing plans for his employees and free daily lunches, and the factory itself was a regular stop for local school field trips (the kids all got free lunches, too). Jays was famous for many of its ad campaigns created under the “Mad Men-era” account guy, Jim J. J. Jim convinced the brand to do some very funny and famous radio ads in the 1980s-90s with Dick Orkin’s radio ranch (the famous comedic duo of Dick & Bert, with a staff of funny people including Tom Posten and Dodie Goodman).” –Carol, 2018, “Growing up in chicago in the 60’s, Jays made the best potato chips available in chicago, no others even came close. If you are the copyright holder of a photograph in an article, please send me an email to LivingHistoryOfIllinois@yahoo.com with verification of your legal copyright and it shall be remove immediately. I started when I was 13,'' said Leonard Jr., the firm's president. It’s basically just a word that (a) started with the letter J, (b) sounded like the already established “Lay’s” brand name, and (c) was “available.”, [An early 1940s Jays ad on a building touts the chips as being “Always Fresh, Crisp & Tasty!”]. Judy Moisan Bokhart. $8.90 $ 8. “We had our money in the Casper State Bank. It took a couple of weeks, but we started putting tags on plain bags with the Jays name on it,'' he said. Wednesday, July 1, 2020 at 1:10:00 PM CDT. According to legend, it was Capone himself who’d come back from a trip to Saratoga Springs, New York—birthplace of the potato chip—and personally requested that Japp bring more of the salty delights to Chicago. Did you used to make onion and garlic potato chips and sell them in a single serve bag?i think you did and they were the best. But that keeps Jays' 400 employees there busy on three shifts a day. Leading a lot of the spanish speaking women was a very fulfilling position. ''We fought them by stressing that our potato chips are all-natural ingredients, made with no preservatives. Jays Foods was born again with the same commitment for quality snacks that has made them the Midwest’s premier snack manufacturer. Holocaust Memorial Statue Vandalized in Skokie, Il... National Peace Jubilee in Chicago, IL. Museum Artifact: Jays Potato Chip Tin, 1950s. “We wanted ‘Jax,’” Japp said, “but it was taken by a brewing company. Still miss the place She came up with a recipe for tuna fish casserole with potato chips,'' he said. Simple theme. The company grew to 850 workers. ''We wrote our bids on a piece of paper and agreed the higher one would win. It was my favorite birthday meal (I was born in 1951) and my children loved it, too. Jays Foods Inc., est. Then everyone put recipes on potato chip bags. Jays was a really great place to work at. Only potato chips and popcorn are made at the South Side plant, at 825 E. 99th St. 3.7 out of 5 stars 8. It seems when you’re poor, you have to fight twice as hard to prove yourself. Before Jays the chips were called Mrs. Japp's HistoryLeonard Japp, Sr. began selling pretzels from a truck in 1927. His dream of a company with his own name on it (or I suppose his wife Eugenia’s name, since he called it “Mrs. When he was in the marines, he said, he would work at the company on his leaves. They just became too expensive,'' the younger Japp said. Klein's only worked the main streets. ''I had always worked at the plant at various jobs. ''We wanted Jax, but it was taken by a brewing company. [Jays sponsored basketball schedule for St. Joseph the Worker Catholic School in Wheeling, IL, 1971], [Like Cracker Jack, Jays sometimes gave away collectibles in its bags], [Jays TV ad from 1987, when it was under the ownership of Borden, Inc.], “Jays: Undefeated and Still Champion of Chicagoland Market” – Chipper, 1974, “Potato Chip King: Man of the People” – Chicago Tribune, August 26, 2000, “Jays Founder Japp Wasn’t Always in the Chips” – Chicago Tribune, Nov. 25, 1985, “Leonard Japp,Sr. We like to say that the place is clean enough to eat off the floor. 61 ($0.62/Ounce) $5.99 shipping. From there, his adventures routinely drift into tall-tale territory, complete with an over-abundance of celebrity cameos. The Japp family line had been decimated in the span of just ten months. One television reporter did,'' Leonard Jr. said. Today Jays manufactures and distributes a full line of quality snacks including its signature Jays Potato Chips, O-KE-DOKE popcorns, Krunchers! We called it Mrs. Japp's. Boy, I learned my lesson! There's a certain amount of brand loyalty, and people are apparently loyal to Jays, grown up with Jays, and keep buying that brand. The Select Snacks plant is also expected to yield better-quality chips because of its relative newness; Jay’s Foods’ Chicago factory was built in the 1940s, Malkoski said. Leonard, now in his 90s, was still going strong; his son Leonard Jr. was the new CEO; and grandson Leonard III was soon to become company president. the store brands tasted horrible and I told my mom to only buy jays.” –Frank, 2017, I’d heard that my grandfather, Harry G. Moisan, was a part owner of Jays potato chips at one point early on. The name Jays was available and we renamed the company as Jays Foods, Incorporated. The TV ad you show here won many creative awards, including a National Clio (at the time, I was too young to know how important an achievement that was.). said that if we wanted to keep the company we should bid $150,000. 5307 S Hermitage Ave. Chicago, IL 60609. Jays Factory Closes. Potato Chips, and a line of Hot Stuff snacks. I worked hard. He worked for Jays for 50 years. How the Automobile became King in Chicago. 3.9 out of 5 stars 29. Jays potato chips are a staple of Chicagoland since the 1920s. If you had to pick the worst possible time in American history for a fellow named Leonard Japp to start a company under his own last name, you might be inclined to go with 1941; the year the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor instantly turned the J-word into the one-syllable ethnic slur du jour. (773) 434-5386. Why Chicago renamed and renumbered its streets in 1909 & 1911. But the bubble burst when the Great Depression struck in August of 1929. You could park the truck and make three deliveries at once,'' Japp said. “We got into that wrangle with the Japanese and the grocers started calling us immediately, asking us to get those chips out of their stores,” an elderly Mr. Japp recalled to the Chicago Tribune in 1985. '', Selling Rebranded Fletcher's Potato Chips 1934-1938, The Japp Family Reacquired Jays Foods 1994-2004, Purchased by Ubiquity Brands - Jays Foods 2004-2007, Snyder's-Lance of Hanover - Jays Foods 2007-Present, DIGITAL RESEARCH LIBRARY OF ILLINOIS HISTORY®. Still miss the place '', ''At food shows, people would write down their comments on our potato chips. Forced into manufacturing, the partners bought an $18,000 automatic potato chip maker and installed it at 40th Street and Princeton Avenue in Chicago. Made By: Jays Foods, Inc., 825 E. 99th Street, Chicago, IL [Pullman] For over 75 years, Chicagoans have voraciously chomped away on handfuls of Jays Potato Chips—sharing in the communal assumption that some guy named Jay must have invented the salty snack for them back in the proverbial day. Get premium, high resolution news photos at Getty Images Only 9 left in stock - order soon. 4.6 out of 5 stars 100. We'd buy up all the nylons and trade with those,'' he said. I worked hard. It’s my dad, Jack C. Williams, in the first picture with the chips on the hand cart. Around the same time, the partners heard about a new automatic plant in Madison, Wisconsin, that produced a better chip. Inc. liked the sentiment so much, it started daring the public in 1963: ''Bet you can't eat just one.''. The Real Chicago Public School Butter Cookie & Peanut Butter Cookie Recipes. Shop for jays potato chips online at Target. © 2020 by Andrew Clayman. The Beginning of Chicago's Horse Railways. ''We make potato chips and popcorn for the first two shifts. Price Range $. It took a couple of weeks, but we started putting tags on plain bags with the Jays name on it.”, And that, folks, is the origin story of the beloved Jays brand. When they went broke, everyone went broke with them. She began putting recipes on the potato chip packages. ''It was nice and light, 1000% better than what we were selling. The company went into bankruptcy protection in October 2007. 4.0 out of 5 stars 7. “He’d come in around 7 a.m. with his big old briefcase and walk the floor, and the floor had to be clean or he’d shut down production until it was clean.”. From early on, the blue and white Jays potato chip tin—like the one in our collection—was a common sight in grocery stores and kitchen cabinets, changing little in design from the ‘40s into the ‘50s and ‘60s. There was an inevitable Al Capone connection, too, of course. The ones that didn't wheel and deal fell by the wayside,'' he said. was my grandfather. Your email address will not be published. 1927. There was always a chance to advance by their job postings. Former Jays Potato Chips factory at 99th & Cottage Grove (Chicago Pin of the Day, 1/14/2015). One day, Mrs. Klein's walked out and found we were at her front door. After beating the odds and finding success as a Chicago snack merchant during the Depression, Japp had hit an unexpected snag in the road at the age of 35. Years ago, General Mills Inc. introduced Bugles and Whistles; Procter & Gamble Co. served up Pringles. When Japan bombed Pearl Habor in Honolulu, Hawaii on December 7, 1941, during WWII, the grocers started calling us immediately, demanding that we remove our Japp chips from their stores,'' said Leonard. Former Jays Potato Chips factory, in Chicago, Illinois on AUGUST 22. They used to elevate one end of the semi-trailer so the potatoes would empty out. “If you worked here for a year or more, Mr. Japp knew you by your first name,” a former employee named Al Keetan once told the Tribune.