In Good Company- Roma Hailman
Photograph by Nels Akerlund Photography + Video
124 N Main St., Rockford
It seems that everyone knows about Mrs. Fisher's, the popular Rockford-based potato chip company that's been in business for more than 80 years. And chip lovers know the company's logo - a dancing potato named Spuddy.
That brings a smile to the face of Roma Hailman, who, along with her late husband, Mark, bought the potato-chip maker in 2007, when owners Chuck, Pete and Paul DeVenti retired after nearly 30 years.
For three decades, Roma worked her way up the company ladder - from production to accounting. "A month into working here, I knew I wanted to own the business some day," she says. "I came from working on a factory assembly line, so this was a comfortable atmosphere. And I always enjoy seeing the same faces come in week to week."
Mrs. Fisher's produces approximately 10,000 pounds of potato chips each day, which can be delivered to all 50 states. Parents send them to their college students, while others mail containers of the tasty treats as holiday gifts. Roma has a folder full of letters, cards and e-mails from customers who rave about the chips. Some of the most memorable notes have come from soldiers who fought in Vietnam or are currently serving in Afghanistan, whose parents sent them Mrs. Fisher's chips from back home.
Roma says: "It's been a labor of love."
(Written by Paul Arco)