In 2014, the doors will open to Ballreich's Potato Chips' long-anticipated retail store.
Appropriately named Granny Ballreich's after Emma "Granny" Ballreich, one of the company's founders, the store will be located at 181 Ohio Ave., the previous home of Carl and Emma Ballreich.
The history of the location, said Haley Thomas, director of sales and marketing at Ballreich's, adds to the nostalgic feel of the store, which she says will be a "destination" for Tiffin residents and visitors to the area.
Thomas said opening a Ballreich's retail location has long been a project the company wanted to pursue, and work on the store began last summer. The property required a large amount of work, she said, to be transformed from a residential to a commercial property.
Not only did the retail space itself need to be designed, planned and stocked, Thomas said, but numerous regulations needed to be met for the building to be designated commercial.
A projected opening date for Granny Ballreich's, or Granny B's, as the store likely will be nicknamed, is this spring or summer. Granny B's will give the company the opportunity to highlight the great heritage and history that have been the foundation of Ballreich's.
Granny B's, Thomas said, will be a "unique" store and destination in the community that will "appeal to everybody."
The focus at the store, she said, naturally will be Ballreich's, with Ballreich's products and history featured throughout the store, with local and Ohio-based products and potato-themed items also available. She said Granny B's will offer a "wide range" of products and prices to customers, and will include an eclectic mix of memorabilia, merchandise and apparel.
Those products, she said, will include boutique coffee from Ohio companies Cranky Ladies and Georgettes, maple syrup, olive oils, specialty balsamics, salsa, and dip and bread mixes. Also, she said, Amish-made brooms, novelty items, retro toys, old-fashioned candies and clothing items for adults and children will be sold at Granny B's.
Local artists and their works - including a wall-sized mural with a Ballreich's theme, a children's coloring book featuring potato-based characters, and unique items for the home - also will be on display and available for purchase, Thomas said.
A focus on a "natural looking" atmosphere is carried throughout much of Granny B's, Thomas said, with the use of old-time paper for wrapping gifts purchased at the store, old-fashioned candy jars, and old potato and burlap sacks featured in different ways throughout the store. Planners wanted to keep Granny B's "as natural looking as possible," she said.
Another part of Granny B's, Thomas said, is a specialty room that features "high-end collection pieces" from throughout Ohio, including eccentric holiday items and more trendy conversation pieces for personal use and for the home.
Also, a virtual tour room is to be featured at the store, which would provide images of Ballreich's history, the art of its potato chip production and a glimpse of various media from throughout the country that have featured Ballreich's products.
The location also is to feature two conference rooms in the upper floor of the store, which Thomas said will be for company use.
As finishing work continues at Granny B's, Thomas said she envisions the store being open to tour buses and school field trips. She said she welcomes the idea of bringing local children back to Ballreich's to be a part of the unique Ballreich's experience.
In addition to the excitement of opening Granny B's, Thomas said other Ballreich's plans for 2014 include multiple new products. Potato sticks, she said, will be introduced, and will be available in salted, smoky sweet mesquite and salt and vinegar, and variety packs of single-serve Ballreich's bags will be made available in March. The company also is working on a private-label project that is associated with Passover, she said.
For almost 100 years, Ballreich's has been a strong name of tradition in the Tiffin community, and 2014 will be a celebration of the company's history and nostalgic beginning, as well as its future, as new products are added and the showcase of Granny B's opens to the public.