Most people love a salty snack, and Todd Conn is tempting the taste buds of area snackers by introducing Conn's Potato Chips products to the area.
Based in Zanesville, Conn's Potato Chips snacks are distributed primarily in central and southern Ohio and into West Virginia, and Conn said his focus is on growing that area to include locations throughout northwest Ohio.
Conn's was seeking to expand its market into the northwest Ohio area, Conn said, to "close a gap between Marion and Mansfield." Conn said he previously worked in the snack food market, and therefore had a strong background upon which to build the Conn's name when he began to build his route in 2012. While Conn and the company share a name, there is no family connection, but Conn said his involvement with the company was "meant to be," and was the result of many details falling into place at the right time.
Todd Conn, Conn’s Potato Chip Co. distributor, poses with his truck and examples of Conn’s products.
Conn said he was impressed with the company's "happy employees with good work ethics," and appreciated Conn's "good common sense and business practices." Marketing materials for the company state Conn's products "set the standard in taste and texture and freshness," and company success is "directly related to the loyalty, dedication and support of employees and customers."
Conn said he felt the price point of the products was a good fit for the area, and the company's variety of snacks could be a fresh change, and taste, for local consumers. Conn's not only offers potato chips in a variety of flavors, but a "full range of snacks with popcorn, pretzels and tortillas."
Conn said the local reaction to the introduction of Conn's products has been "overwhelming," and he now services a route that includes Tiffin, McCutchenville, Upper Sandusky, Carey, Fostoria, Findlay, New Riegel, Bascom, Fremont, Oak Harbor, Old Fort and Bettsville. Northwest Ohio, he said, has "a lot of potential" for growth for Conn's, mainly due to the significant number of small towns throughout the area, and he believes the company could someday achieve statewide coverage in product distribution.
Conn said in addition to giving him the opportunity to grow the northwest Ohio market, Conn's offered him another opportunity: to work as an independent distributor. Previously, he said, all Conn's employees have worked directly for the company, but exploring growth opportunities in a new area opened the door for Conn to work independently.
Unlike other Conn's distributors, Conn said he owns his own truck and purchases and markets the products he sells. His route, he says, has grown through his commitment to making cold calls and company visits, and placing a high priority on reliability and superior service. Ultimately, Conn said, he is committed to achieving his goal to "never have a customer go without service."
"When I walk into a business, I try to treat everyone's business like it's mine," Conn said. "I don't undersell, and I don't oversell." Conn said he tries to meet the needs of his customers, in the products he sells and the quality of service he provides.
Based on those business practices, Conn said he hopes to see his business grow in the years to come. As growth allows, he said, he would like to add distributors and step into the position of sales manager in the area. Conn said he already has explored plans for expanded shipping warehouses, and adding personnel would be a next step.
Currently, Conn is renting warehouse space from Steyer Seeds, who he says has been accommodating, and the location is a perfect staging area for distribution. Conn said his route is approximately 350 miles throughout the area, and runs Monday through Friday and Saturday mornings. Working to fulfill the scheduling needs of each customer is a priority for Conn, who strives to make unmatched customer service a vital part of his business.
Conn delivers to approximately 20 locations in Tiffin, and said he feels that giving back to the community is important. "I try not to turn away donations to folks to try to help," he said. Conn said being part of local events is a welcome aspect of his business.
With a focus on reliability, customer service, and excellent products, Conn hopes his business will continue to grow, and Conn's products will become a common name for snacking throughout northwest Ohio.