PARKERSBURG - A Parkersburg potato chip maker hopes to be back in production soon, the president of the company said on Wednesday,
Mister Bee Potato Chips has not produced chips for about two weeks, President Doug Klein said.
The company last week filed for restructuring under Chapter 11 and is awaiting approval of a new investor to "help take the company forward," Klein said. Klein did not disclose the identity of the investor.
"We hope to be up and running within the next week or so," he said.
Klein said there are no plans to close the company, which was founded 1951 by Leo and Sara Klein and is the only potato chip producer in West Virginia. Klein is the grandson of the founders.
Klein pointed out Mister Bee has not layed off employees. Chapter 11 will allow the company to restructure and secure investors who will not be liable for past debts, he said.
About The Bee
Mister Potato Chips was established in 1951 in Parkersburg.
In the meantime, the company's Facebook site is filled with comments from fans urging Mister Bee to stay in business.
"I hope everything turns out for you," one fan said. "Mister Bee has been a big part of my life since I was a small child. My grandmother worked for you since before I was born until the late 1990s when she retired. I love and miss all the chips. Best of luck and come back ASAP."
A resident of Colorado said, "There is no chip as good as Mr Bee's. It's a real treat when my grandmother sends me Mr Bee's chips. I really hope they continue to make the best chips in the country."
"Why can't I find your chips anywhere?" another supporter said. "I have had such a craving lately and can't get them."
A Pennsylvania resident is asking for the company to expand its area.
"Any thoughts on expanding your distribution of the chips, say to the Philadelphia area?" she said. "I did order online, but it would be so nice to have them locally, too."
In addition to distributorship agreements, the company serves markets in West Virginia, Ohio and Kentucky.
The company has had financial issues this year and in October had restarted under limited production. in October, the company told customers about problems and how it lost $2 million in annual sales with the loss of its distribution contracts with Utz and Snyder's of Hanover.