That's Cheezies with a Zed

Thumbnail image for mouse2.JPGIn the 1940's, W.T. Hawkins Limited was a North American salty snack food giant. The Chicago-based company shipped boxcars full of potato chips and popcorn across the continent.

Then one of the owners invented Cheezies. It was going to be the next big thing.
Then, just as their neon orange corn snack began taking off, the company made some disastrous business decisions.

The empire went bust. The whole thing shut down.

But Cheezies did not go gentle into junk-food oblivion.

W. T. Hawkins gambled on a move north, built a new factory alongside the rail line between Toronto and Montreal. They fired up the deep fryers and started shipping Canadian cheezies - in red-and-white-striped clear cellophane bags - to the east and and to the west.

They still do. Kent Hawkins - the founder's grandson - runs the plain little factory in Belleville, Ontario. In a cuthroat multi-billion-dollar snack food universe - where innovation, advertising and eye-level positioning are key - it keeps on keeping on.

Thanks, in part, to the cult-like love of Newfoundlanders and Prairie snackers who are ready to hunt for them on bottom shelves.]

Here's David Gutnick's documentary, That's Cheezies with a Zed.

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