Friday, October 3, 2014

Pennsylvania Road Trip - Herr's Snack Factory Tour

The next day after our Lancaster Show Day, which you can read about right here and here too if you missed those posts, we decided to take a few more factory tours.  We headed southeast from Lancaster, Pennsylvania to Nottingham, where we were scheduled for a 10AM tour of the Herr's Snack Factory.

I had first read about this tour in a book of mine, Watch It Made in the USA, by Karen Axelrod and Bruce Brumberg.  The Herr's Snack Factory Tour is one of the book's twenty or so specially featured tours, so I knew that someday I'd want to see it.

Tour guests are gathered in the lobby and given tickets to identify which group they are assigned to.  Our tickets said we were with the Salt and Vinegar Chips people.

Chipper's Theater
First we were ushered up the steps into Chipper's Theater, where we were shown a delightful ten minute movie about the history of the Herr's business.  We learned that the Herr Foods story began in 1946 when 21 year old James Stauffer Herr bought a small potato chip company in Lancaster, Pennsylvania for an (exorbitant then) amount of $1750.  Herr worked on the recipe and the process, and soon, as demand for his potato chips grew, so did the company.

Herr's is a story of dedication and hard work, in spite of setbacks and competition.  From humble beginnings, Herr's has developed into a prominent leader in the snack food industry.

The original Herr's Potato Chips Store
After learning about the history of Jim Herr's business, we were taken through the factory and shown various lines of snacks being produced and packaged.  The day we were there they were making potato chips, popcorn, and an assortment of flavored tortilla chips.  Much of the tour involved walking on elevated walkways, allowing us to easily look down over the entire process.  In a few areas of the plant, we were in hallways with glass windows, allowing us to see the manufacturing but be safely away from dangerous machinery.

We had started the factory part of our tour in the mixing room, and worked our way to the end of the process, to the carton packaging and truck loading area.  Along the way there was a tasty stop where we were given warm potato chips to sample, right off the line.  Many lines were running, and our tour guide indicated that Herr's employs more than 1000 full time workers.

At the end of the tour we were led back to our starting point, where a very pleasant retail store had many of Herr's snack products available for sale.

Visitors' Retail Store
The full line of Herr's quality snacks currently consists of more than 340 items, including potato chips, pretzels, tortilla chips, cheese curls, popcorn, crackers, nuts, pork rinds, onion rings, and meat sticks.  All are available in a variety of shapes, sizes, and flavors.  

At one end of the lobby/store area there was a small museum type display, where history boards showing the Herr's family history and vintage Herr's tins and packages were arranged.

Old Herr's snack containers
 I may have purchased half a carful a few items to take home with us.  It was exciting to find some of those hard to find snack items in there, like creamy dill flavored popcorn, jalapeno poppers flavored cheese curls, and horseradish and cheddar flavored potato chips.  Believe me, I was in snackers' heaven!

Next on the itinerary:  Eldreth Pottery Factory Tour


  1. I bet the aroma of that place made you hungry.

  2. Somewhere in blogland there's a blogger who is a member of the Herr family and she has blogged about it. I've read the blog but it was a few years ago. For the life of me I can't remember the blogger right now.