I know Zapp’s Chips from my frequent stops at Potbelly. Economics blog Cafe Hayek points out that entrepreneur behind the chip maker recently passed away. Read Don Boudreaux’s piece from 2005 about Ron Zappe:
He once worked for Ingersoll-Rand and then started a few companies selling oil-field equipment. That industry went south in the mid-1980s when oil prices plummeted. His companies followed suit.
What’s a guy in his early 40s to do?
Ron Zappe used his creativity and energy to start a company producing Cajun-spice potato chips – gourmet chips, even, as some (including moi) insist.
Zappe built his Gramercy, LA, plant in 1985 in a building recently vacated by an automobile dealership. Gramercy was then filled with laid-off oil and gas workers.
Boudreaux makes few points about economics and policy in his piece, but for me, the central point is that there are opportunities everywhere. People focus on high tech, knowledge intensive industries whereas entreprenurial creativity can flourish in just about any market.
That is why much of my research focuses on non-high tech firms launched by students. Yes Google is fascinating, but it is not the most representative of firms.