Let no one question the Dayton area’s love affair with Mikesell’s potato chips.
On a chilly March Thursday morning, hundreds and hundreds of cars lined up for the right to plunk down $20 for one of the last cases of Mikesell’s chips to come from the company’s Leo Street factory in Dayton, which recently closed.
The company originally said the chips would be on sale from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Thursday and Friday “while supplies last.” They have since moved Friday’s planned sale to Monday because of heavy rain in the forecast.
By 9:30 a.m. Thursday, there were more than 200 cars lined up along Stanley Avenue to come in the back entrance to the company’s site.
By 10 a.m., the city of Dayton had sent parking control staff to the site to help monitor traffic, which was backed up on Stanley in both directions, and affecting the Keowee Street intersection. By 10:10 a.m., the line was backed up past Interstate 75.
One person posted on Mikesell’s Facebook page that their car got in line at 10 a.m. and they got chips at 1:15 p.m. At 4 p.m., two hours past the planned stopping time, the last 20-25 cars on Stanley Avenue were waiting to turn into the Mikesell’s lot.
Mikesell’s closed its local factory last month, ending a 100-plus-year run in Dayton. But they reached an agreement with Conn’s Potato Chips to continue production of Mikesell’s-branded chips from its Zanesville facility.
In announcing this week’s final sale of chips from the Dayton site, Mikesell’s called their customers “the BEST fans out there.”
“We cannot thank you enough for this journey we have lived together, and cannot wait to see you all this Thursday,” company officials said on social media.
Thomas Groff came down from Versailles for the event, saying Mikesell’s has a great product and they’re worth the wait.
“I want to get a variety — barbecue, green onion, wavy, whatever they’ve got available,” he said. “I got a brother who lives in Atlanta, Georgia. Every time he comes home, we have to get him Mikesell’s potato chips.”
Sondra Henry said she was there “especially for the wavy chips — they have the best.” Henry said she had already been waiting in line for 45 minutes, but that it was worth the wait and that the line was moving.
Cindy Burden said she left her house at 9 a.m. for the sale, and that she planned to get two cases.
“Oh, I gotta have Mikesell’s potato chips,” she said. “They’re the best and I love the cheese puffs.”
Conn’s Potato Chips is already producing Mikesell’s in Zanesville, and co-owner Tom George said his goal is to give Mikesell’s customers what they have long appreciated about the brand.
“They get the same potato we get,” he said. “As far as the recipe, we are using the same recipe they use. It basically comes down to the same oils. That’s really your recipe. We both use the same salt. We’re using all their flavorings.”
Staff Writer Thomas Gnau contributed to this report.