Vlasic Pickles: Based & Created in Michigan
The Vlasic Pickle story goes back to Franjo (Frank) Vlasic who came to Detroit from Bosnia in 1912. Pickles were the farthest thing from his mind when he opened up a creamery and began making cheese, cream, milk, and butter.
After being well-established, Frank turned the business over to his son Joe. Since Vlasic's dairy products were so popular and making the Vlasics successful, why not try something else? Depending on which history site you believe, Joe was either approached to make pickles or it was the Vlasic's own idea.
So in 1937 they began to make pickles.
Vlasic concocted a brine made with garlic and dill, and the pickles took off. They were so popular during World War II, they kept running out. So what to do? Start selling them in glass jars, that's what. Now that the pickles were more easily accessible, they became even more in demand, and from there the Vlasic Pickle business was created.
A plant was built in Imlay City, Michigan, and soon Joe's son Robert joined the company. The company's success continued to grow. They decided to drop the dairy products and concentrate on pickles, since that was where the money – and demand – was.
So why was a stork made the Vlasic 'spokesperson'? The Vlasic stork first appeared in 1974, spoke like Groucho Marx, and delivered pickles instead of babies. It was their way of using the legend of pregnant women craving pickles. They even used it in advertising as: "the pickle pregnant women crave...after all, who's a better pickle expert?" As for the stork's trademark phrase in classic Groucho style, “it's the best tasting pickle I ever hoid”. Another old Vlasic slogan that was heard on 1950s and 60s television: “...because Vlasic pickles are heavenly.”
In 2001, the company filed bankruptcy.
These days, Pinnacle Foods owns the Vlasic brand.
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