Clover Club owner to cash in chips
After 62 years of operation, Kaysville plant will close
KAYSVILLE The Clover and Hod Sanders era is coming to an end as Kaysville's longtime "Tater Tale" is about to cash in the "chips" for good.
Granny Goose Foods Plant, alias "Clover Club" a landmark at 95 E. 200 North is shutting down after 62 years of making potato chips and other salty snacks.
According to Scott Michel, vice president with Development Specialist Inc. of Chicago, which is facilitating the plant closure, some 100 employees were let go last month.
He said Granny Goose, based in Oakland, Calif., has been in financial trouble for more than a year. Its current situation is similar to a bankruptcy but without the federal control.
The company tried to sell its Kaysville plant last month. There were interested buyers, but a deal didn't materialize.
"The plant was shut down May 23," Michel said of the Granny Goose chip operations.
However, 40 to 45 employees under contract from Grande Foods are continuing to produce tortilla chips for that company, which has a six-month lease. Otherwise, Michel said, only 25 Granny Goose employees remain, and they're doing the winding down work in accounts.
"We've got a skeleton crew and a lot of detail work," he said.
Granny Goose closed its Oakland plant in May and has already sold its label to Nalley's of Canada. Michel said a deal on the sale of the Oakland plant could come soon.
He expects the Kaysville plant to be listed for sale in the next two months. Much of the equipment and furniture have already been sold.
"It's a pretty nice plant," Michel said.
Clover Club was one of the Intermountain area's most successful companies. Starting up back in 1938 in the back room of a vacant warehouse with second-hand equipment, Clover Sanders made potato chips.
From such a humble start, the company grew into a major snack food operation that served 11 Western states.
On a 1973 bag of potato chips, the Sanders story was told:
"We live in a quiet little country town of Kaysville, Utah, about 17 miles north of Salt Lake City. Almost all the folks here have some quality specialty like homemade chili sauce, apple pie and chokecherry jelly. Clover always made the best potato chips in town or the world, for that matter. . . ."
Clover even sold her piano at one time to keep the company going. Hod sold the chips to stores, and Clover supervised the production. The company eventually made not only potato chips but other salted snacks, too.
Hod Sanders died in 1980, but Clover continued as chairwoman of the board until 1983. She died on Dec. 24, 1999, at age 96.
The company had acquired some regional chip and snack companies over the years but sold out to Borden Inc. in 1983. Country Club Foods, as it was later known, declared Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 1995. Granny Goose purchased the facility in 1996 for $17 million.
"It's certainly the end of an era," said Robert D. Waite, a longtime Kaysville resident. "I hate to see it go. You wonder what's going to happen to that property five acres in the middle of the city."
Kaysville City Manager John Thacker said in recent years the business has really fluctuated with its employment.
"I'm not sure what there'll be in impact," he said.
He said two sides of the fenced commercial property border on residential areas. He also agrees the plant is a landmark, though it has scaled its operations back so much in recent years that newcomers to the city might not have even noticed it.
Past complaints to the city were about potato smells and machine noise.
"We've had no complaints whatsoever in recent years," Thacker said, based on a continual reduction in plant operations.
He foresees a commercial use for the property, although the building is so old it will likely require some extensive remodeling.Clover Club was Kaysville's largest employer as recently as 1991, with 300 employees. In 1997, it was the city's third-largest property-tax payer, behind Albertson's and Bowman's grocery stores.
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