WJR Business Beat: The Great Story Behind Better Made (Episode 407)

On today’s Business Beat, Jeff Sloan and Paul W. Smith preview a new episode of Business Biography on Better Made Snack Foods, an example of the business diversity and entrepreneurial spirit in Detroit.

Tune in to today’s Business Beat to learn what set Better Made apart from its competitors:


For the full Business Biography episode, click here.

Tune in to News/Talk 760 AM WJR weekday mornings at 7:11 a.m. for the WJR Business Beat. Listeners outside of the Detroit area can listen live HERE.  

Are you an entrepreneur with a great story to share? If so, contact us at [email protected] and we’ll feature you on an upcoming segment of the WJR Business Beat! 

Paul: OK. We have our WJR Business Beat with WJR’s Jeff Sloan, spotlighting the entrepreneurial, the tech and startup community on WJR. I have to tell you, uh, and I’m not just saying this because you know, he’s listening and I appreciate that he’s always listening and always here. I have to tell you, before I say my usual, good morning, Jeff, I’m going to say you do a great job, Jeff, and I appreciate all that you do. And especially on days like today, when you really key in on a very important local company Better Made. Good morning, Jeff.

Jeff: Good morning, Paul. Thank you for the compliments and Paul, let’s lighten it up just a bit that nothing more important than the subject matter you just covered, but it is Friday after all and, uh, let’s bring them into the weekend with a great inspiring story. You mentioned Better Made, Paul, you know, I get to do this Business Biography show that used to be hosted by Tom Campbell. This now airs at one o’clock on Saturdays. We started a few weeks ago, Paul, we’ve done some great stories, covered Ahee Jewelers and the family story behind that great company and others. But look, I mean, I don’t know about you, Paul, talking about diamonds is great, but there’s nothing better than talking about potato chips, right, Paul?

Paul: Right, you are!

Jeff: Potato chips led to a great business story. Just goes to show how diverse the economy is here. A couple of Sicilian guys made their way to Detroit. And in 1930 opened a factory that led to the, ultimately the creation of the Better Made brand, the Better Made company right here, big contributor to the area and a great story. Paul, you know, most people think about business, they think about money. They think about stock prices and other things. And, of course, those things are important, but you know, every great business, those we feature on the Business Biography show, has a great story behind them.

Paul, listen to the key move. Here’s a little clip from last Saturday’s show on Better Made. Listen to this key move made early on that broke the company out of a mass of 30 other potato chip companies in and around Detroit in the early ‘30s.

Phil: When the company first started, they noticed if you would, that there was all these neighborhood, movie theaters and those neighborhood movie theaters, they didn’t sell popcorn. They didn’t sell concessions. They didn’t have all that stuff. So what Better Made did is they actually went to all the movie theaters, rented the space next door and sold potato chips out of those places. So when you went to go see the movies, you would go stop at Better Made’s little convenience store and buy your chips and then go sit in the movie theater and eat your chips while you were watching the movies.

Jeff: Paul, that’s entrepreneurship. They opened up a concession stand next to the movie theater so that they could sell potato chips to people who go in and see the movies. There were the potato chips next door that made Better Made a known brand that was kind of the roots of the genesis of this great entrepreneurial story. And once again goes to show the diversity in the economy here, Paul. Better Made a great brand, and we’re thrilled to have been able to tell that story. We’ve got another great story tomorrow on Business Biography, Paul, featuring a family in kind of rural Michigan in the Southeast area of Michigan, Hamilton’s Propane. You know, these family businesses, Hamilton’s Propane has 10,000 accounts. This is a big business and a great story. Join us for Business Biography, Saturdays at one. Paul, thanks for having me on this morning to tell a little bit about Better Made and about the show.

Paul: Jeff, I just want to say it’s always a pleasure having you on every day at about this time. I happened to hear the Saturday Business Biography that you did for Ahee Jewelers and it was magnificent. So I’m looking forward to tomorrow. Thanks.

Jeff: One o’clock tomorrow. Right? Well, have a great weekend. Everybody joined us for the show.

Paul: Business Biography, the show tomorrow at one o’clock. And of course, Jeff Sloan has WJR Business Beat Monday through Friday on our program. And we are so happy about that.

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