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Lisa Allen

West Virginia is home to ice pop maker for more than 140 years

For a maker of flavored frozen ices, Ziegenfelder Company comes with some very warm ties to family and community. The company has operated in Wheeling, W.Va., since it was founded in the 1860s. For nearly as long, it has been managed by descendents of the same family.

Ziegenfelder

After World War I, Abe Lando began working for Ziegenfelder. Today, his granddaughter Lisa Allen is president and CEO.

Ziegenfelder produces the visually distinctive Budget Saver Twin Pops in a “Rainbow Array” of six brightly colored frozen ice pops in clear bags.

In 1992, Lisa’s father Charles Lando called on a company little known at the time: Wal-Mart Corporation. Now Ziegenfelder’s value-priced frozen treats are sold in about 2,700 Walmart retail stores; other national, regional and independent grocery stores; and several export markets.

She had built her own successful consulting business before she asked to assist her father with Ziegenfelder in 1999. Although their approaches were different, father and daughter learned to work together.

“He and my mother went on vacations, which at the time I thought was just that – their vacation. Then in June 2005, my father passed away suddenly at the very active age of 80,” Allen said. “It was then that our management team and I realized he had been giving us space to grow in preparation for exactly such an event. He was a wise and intuitive man.”

But at one point, her father wondered whether the company had reached all its available markets, leaving it nowhere to grow.

“He told me he didn’t see much more business out there; that we may have capped it,” Lisa said.

He needn’t have worried. In the last 12 years, the company has tripled its growth.

“Our business has continued to grow,” she said. “We’re at the point now that we need to add more production capacity.”

With the assistance of the West Virginia Economic Development Authority (WVEDA) and the Ohio County Development Authority, Ziegenfelder received a loan in 2009 to build a 40,000-square-foot freezer warehouse to expand its storage capacity.

Now the manufacturer is adding to its production capability, assisted by lease agreements with WVEDA. Construction has already begun on an 8,000 square-foot facility, connected to the existing manufacturing and distribution center in Wheeling. New production equipment will churn out more frozen treats to keep up with customer demand.

When the manufacturing extension becomes operational in 2012, Ziegenfelder expects to add 30 new jobs to its current workforce of 100.

“I’m proud to be from West Virginia,” Lisa said. “West Virginia is home to our employees and has been home to our company for more than 140 years. Our dedicated employees compare favorably against anybody anywhere else in the world.”



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