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Rezoned Land Will Allow KLN to Triple in Size

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 Chip testing is underway at KLN Family Brands, and Wednesday night brought more progress for the snack plant. Waterford township supervisors voted unanimously to approve zoning plans that will allow the company to triple in size in the years to come. 

The supervisors rezoned 18 acres of land from agriculture to manufacturing, bringing KLN elbow room in the future.

 "We're thrilled. We still anticipate a lot of growth here. Having that land already zoned- when we need it, it's there, and it’s a hurdle we won't have to jump later,” said Brian Garlick, general manager of KLN/Barrel O’Fun East.  

Development at the plant is progressing quickly. Derrick Johnson, Girard native, moved back to the Erie area from eastern Pennsylvania to work at KLN. He’s been an employee for a few months now.

"The plant has done a complete 180. I saw it first when I was on a plant tour in elementary school, I’ve seen it before construction even started,” Johnson said. “I can't believe how far along they've come.”

KLN now has all of their chip making gear in place and are in final stages of kettle chip testing.

"The last few weeks, we’ve done testing where we've been running potatoes through machines, and this coming week we're getting some local potatoes from Waterford,” Garlick said.

The company has been testing the washers, peelers, seasoning machines, packaging machines, and of course, the fryers. 

The batch fryers are what give kettle chips their distinct crunch. KLN currently has four of them – each machine can produce 360 pounds of chip per hour. They plan to get two more fryers on September 15.

When the branch grows large enough, they plan to build a new building on the rezoned 18 acres of land to use for the chip making process, and move all the equipment into the new building. The current facility will be turned into a warehouse and office space.

Another person who's excited about the progress is Matt Troyer, the owner of Troyer Growers and former owner of Troyer Farms.

“This has been a goal of Troyer’s for the last six years. When we exited the potato chip business, we felt very strongly that the place was a prime place for continued chip making,” Troyer said.  “It's really a state of the art facility and we're really proud to have that in Waterford,” he said.

KLN has been hiring new employees every couple of weeks. Though the employee count is just a few dozen for now, many of them are former Troyer employees.

“At this point, I’d say probably 75 percent of the employees used to work in this very building, so it's exciting. It’s fun to walk around and see everyone back to work that used to work here before,” Garlick said.



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