415 South Blacks Corners Road
In April of 1947 Patzer Food Company announced they were expanding their facilities at the Imlay City plant. James Kenney, manger of the plant, reported that the Otter Lake facilities of the company (used mainly for production of sauerkraut) had been moved to Imlay City. The plant would now make both pickles and sauerkraut.
Twenty-eight new, large tanks were installed for the making of sauerkraut and contracts were let with farmers for cabbage acreage. In addition they contracted with farmers for about 500 acres of cucumbers which supplied receiving stations of the company located at Kingston, Deford and Hemans, in addition to Imlay City. The cucumbers were all processed at the Imlay City plant. In 1945 Patzer had an 80 by 120 foot building for receiving cucumbers, and was constructing another of the same size. In 1946 they constructed an additional building 80 by 300 feet to be used exclusively for packaging of product. They were employing 25 employees, with plans to add more.
The pickle empire really began in Imlay City when Joseph Vlasic bought the Patzer Food Products Company in 1957 and two years later created Vlasic Foods.
Joseph Vlasic retired in the 1960’s and his son, Robert, took over direction of the company, which was sold to the Campbell Soup Company in 1978 for $33 million.
The plant has expanded to 10 times from its original size. The Imlay City facility encompasses more than 457,000 square feet and spans 190 acres. The company employs 850 people during its peak season.
In 2017 the company “America’s #1 Pickle” and marked its 75th year. Vlasic pickles are now distributed throughout the United States and Canada, as are a variety of other products offered under the brand. The Vlasic brand currently (2019) is owned by Conagra Brands.