UPDATE: Mister Bee Potato Chip Company Resumes Production

By: Cyndi Murray Email
By: Cyndi Murray Email

UPDATE: 10/17/11 5:10 PM

Mister Bee is back in production and that means more of West Virginia's own potato chips.

A temporary freeze in the company's bank account, due to a now closed court case, caused the potato chip company to stop production for two weeks.

Mister Bee's president, Doug Klein, says they were unable to buy supplies during the stop in production and lost around $200,000 as a result.

Production started back up on Sunday, after the account was restored.

Klein says the company will be running overtime to catch up and suppliers should have their full amount of product within a few weeks.

He also thanks all of the loyal Mister Bee customers for sticking by them during this time.

______________________________________________________
UPDATE: 10/16/2011 5:09 PM

Here is a letter provided to WTAP by Doug Klein, President of Mister Bee Potato Chip Company of Parkersburg. The letter was sent to his employees earlier this month. It has been edited for clarity, and some sections (dealing with confidential business dealings) have been omitted at Klein’s request. Those sections are indicated with ellipses ( …).
Since the letter was written, Klein says he has worked out a payment plan with his raw potato provider, and will not need the help of outside investors after all.

Oct 2, 2011
To all Employees of Mister Bee Potato Chip Company,

I am sure all of you have been wondering what has been going on the last several weeks with the inconstancy of our production and product flow. (H)ere (is) the truth of the matter. Back in August 2010 Mister Bee lost its distributing rights to Utz Potato Chips and then 3 months later we lost Snyders of Hanover distribution. Neither of these were the single fault of anybody however it caused a financial strain on the business. Mister Bee lost over $2 million in sales revenue. This (had a) crippling effect (on) Mister Bee.

I did everything in my power to keep the business running (normally) without making any drastic cuts. However, I realized that something was going to have to change in order for us to survive. I went out and tried to find funding for the business. I was able to find a group of investors that were interested in the business and willing to allow me to still have control. Unfortunately, we (were) falling further behind to some of our suppliers. (UPDATE: Klein now says the investors will not be involved.)

Finally our main source of potatoes cut us off because we were behind to them. I explained to them that if they just give us a little time we would make everything correct. They didn’t buy it and I was forced to reveal we had potential investors coming in to bail the (company’s) problems out.

Instead of being patient, they filed a PACA suit which basically gives them priority to freeze our assets till they are paid. This happened last Wednesday 9/26/11. I must go to Federal court and ask for this injunction to be lifted before we can begin production. My investors have agreed to help bail us out but I will not have their money until after Wednesday. Unfortunately I have exhausted all my money in trying to keep the business going and I am not (allowed) to use any company money prior to this injunction being lifted.

I guarantee you this (is a) minor setback … and we will begin full steam ahead later this week. I apologize for any (inconvenience) this has caused but I was hoping to avoid all this, but I ran out of time.

I would be happy to talk with anyone who has any questions about the whole situation.

Sincerely,
Douglas S. Klein
President

______________________________________________________

A local potato chip-maker is facing some problems but says it has no intention of closing.

Mister Bee Potato Chip Company, West Virginia’s last remaining company of its type, says it is facing some distribution issues but is working hard to overcome them.

Doug Klein, president of Mister Bee, acknowledged to WTAP that he had recently sent a letter to some of his retailers about the firm’s problems.

But since he is still battling a lawsuit filed last November by Utz Quality Foods Inc., he could not comment further.

Klein said in a statement: “We are working as fast as we can to put this matter behind us so we can continue manufacturing and selling our products to all our retailers. We are not planning to close any time soon.”


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Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station.
  • by jeb Location: midohiovalley on Apr 2, 2012 at 07:54 AM
    I sure hope Mr.Bee pulls it together cuz he sure has a lot of fans out there hungry for more of those chips ! Chip Chip Hooray !!!!
  • by Brianna Location: Clarksburg on Dec 19, 2011 at 09:04 AM
    There is NOTHING better ... Mister Bee's RULE!!! I went to 4 different stores yesterday looking for them. I was told they went out of business. I actually cried..
  • by Marlene Mannon Location: Huntington, WV on Dec 12, 2011 at 04:31 PM
    I've enjoyed your chips throughout the years. Are you going to keep the same name, or will you change it. None of the stores in my area handle Mister Bee's & I have to go to town to purchase them. A lot of people like Snyder's chips, but I prefer Mister Bee's. They taste like the old Snyders chips use to taste in the 50s. Hope they come back & stay.
  • by Cheryl Location: Milford, IL on Oct 17, 2011 at 10:19 PM
    I've lived away from the Parkersburg area for about 25 years now, and hate to hear that Mr. Bee's chips almost went out of business; it's been a Parkersburg institution for so long. I have fond memories of eating Mr. Bee's chips...
  • by S on Oct 16, 2011 at 03:34 PM
    I have to say that something has changed and I wish they would fix it. With that said, our son asked for them while stationed in Japan and is asking for a big box to be sent to him in afghanistan now. I have tried to call twice toplace the order and no one has answered...now I know why. I still believe this is a good company that can produce a good product and I wish them the best. BTW, people that consume potato chips aren't concerned about caloric intake as much as they are with taste! *Offering lower salt would be ok but go all the back to the Mr Bee formula we all knew & loved, please!!!!!
  • by Penny Location: Parkersburg on Oct 16, 2011 at 05:44 AM
    Two of my children live in Florida and I ship Mr. Bee chips to them. They LOVE Mr. Bee potato chips !!!!!
  • by Anonymous Location: Parkersburg on Oct 15, 2011 at 09:54 PM
    It is very sad to see that people are not willing to support a local business. No one as it is known is perfect but everyone is willing to cast stones and wants this business to close...VERY SAD there are people there that have to pay their bills just like everyone else and now some are saying it's okay to just let them go all I must say is I hope none of you have to be faced with this problem.
  • by Tom Location: Ravenswood on Oct 15, 2011 at 03:34 PM
    Love your chips. Went for a tour in 1967 when I was a child. Would like to see you offer a lower salt chip to help with blood pressure. Like around 80 mg. It would still be good. But please don't raise the price just because it has less salt. Best chip in the world. What is a UTZ.......sounds sick.
  • by Laurie Location: Belpre on Oct 15, 2011 at 01:23 PM
    Mister Bee is being sued for non-payment on distribution for Utz chips, so as I see it they, Mister B received Utz chips, dist. them and kept the money. We all have our problems but you have to pay your bills to stay open. Utility co. would cut you off for non-payment plus still look for payment, same difference here...Sorry Mister Bee but you need to work maybe with Utz on solving problem, hope you do. However you dist. the chips first here and they are good especially the tortia chips plain and cheese..you will never buy Doritos again far better...my opinion, have a good day!
  • by Fred Location: North End on Oct 15, 2011 at 12:34 PM
    Ladies: Look behind you and I think you will see where all those potato chips have gone.
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