The Ohio businessman who founded the specialty food company Hickory Farms has died. Richard Ransom was 96.
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Ransom established the company in 1951 when he began selling hand cut cheese at local fairs. Less than a decade later Ransom added summer sausage and opened the company’s first retail store outside Toledo, Ohio.
At its peak, the company operated more than 550 kiosks – mostly in malls – in the United States and Canada. With sales declining steadily during the 1990s, the company shifted focus to multichannel marketing as well as catalogs and online sales.
Ransom originally sold the company in 1980 for $40 million to General Host Corp. The company was later sold four more times.
Customers can now find Hickory Farms sausages and cheeses online, in catalogs and in leading supermarkets as well as in retail shopping centers throughout the Holiday Season.