Carrie Rengers

Where have Art's & Mary's chips been? Bankruptcy court

Art's & Mary's chips haven't been available for most if not all of 2018. Now, Sunflower Mountain Distribution has filed Chapter 7 bankruptcy to liquidate the company.
Art's & Mary's chips haven't been available for most if not all of 2018. Now, Sunflower Mountain Distribution has filed Chapter 7 bankruptcy to liquidate the company. File photo

In what's sure to be a disappointment to everyone who has been missing Art's & Mary's Homestyle Tater Chips, the Wichita company has filed Chapter 7 bankruptcy.

That means that Sunflower Mountain Distribution is not attempting to reorganize but to liquidate.

Sunflower, which filed May 3 in U.S. Bankruptcy Court, lists more than $1.22 million in assets and more than $2.76 million in liabilities.

No one with the company returned calls for comment.

In January, Have You Heard? reported that the chips with the cult following were no longer in area stores.

After several calls over the course of about a week, an Art’s & Mary’s representative replied via e-mail to say that the company was "in the process of making some placement modifications. There have been no other modifications. We will keep you posted as we have updates. We appreciate the patience of all our loyal customers during this time.”

In spring 2016, John France and his family purchased the company's assets from Cheney-based Albers Development, including the recipe and trademark for Art’s & Mary’s and a distribution business that distributes the chips and other food products.

The company had gross revenue of more than $2.58 million in 2016 and almost $3.3 million in 2017.

A previous incarnation of Art’s & Mary’s stopped production in 1996. Albers reintroduced the product in 1999 in just a few Wichita stores. At the time of Albers’ sale, there was statewide distribution, and the partners planned to go beyond Kansas as well. The chips are made in Minnesota.

With more than $300,000 in unsecured debt, Albers is one of the creditors listed in the bankruptcy filing.

Simmons First National Bank also is a major creditor, with more than $1.16 million in secured debt.

The filing lists between 50 and 99 creditors, including a number of individuals.

Look for more information as it becomes available.

Lisa Herzig, Fresno State associate professor and director of the Dietetics and Food Administration Program, explains why it's tough to resist unhealthy snacks late at night. ( Aleksandra Konstantinovic, SW Parra / The Fresno Bee )

Reach Carrie Rengers at 316-268-6340 or crengers@wichitaeagle.com.
  Comments