Business Update (March 9, 2017) 80


A comment last evening motivated us to provide an update on where we are at the moment.  It said, “It’s been over a year now, and it’s been over three months since your last comment. Is this whole thing a big joke to keep us holding on?”  The simple answer is “no”.  We’re just like sailors in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean with mechanical problems and wondering whether to go forward to where we want to go or back to where we started.

Not to editorialize, but sometimes people aren’t aware whether the company behind the curtain is a big one like ConAgra from which we bought the brand, or a smaller one like us — funded out of the pockets of me and four others.  We’re good business people.  We had to rebuild the process in a new location and when we got to what we thought was the finish line we found that the product wasn’t going to be of sufficient quality for the long-term due to the manufacturing processes. But you already know this.

The legal dispute centers on the fact that our equipment was “converted” (a legal term for stolen) because our contract manufacturers wanted additional payments above and beyond what was contractually required.  The amounts aren’t huge in the grand scheme of things, but as a business people, we deemed it more appropriate to sue for damages than settle for unreasonable demands and because the other side is holding something (our critical manufacturing equipment) hostage.

Since our last update, it has basically been back and forth with the Cook County courts.  We suspect the effort is to wear us out, but we’re made of stern stuff.  From our end, this appears to be a criminal matter, not a civil one, but we’ve all seen enough legal shows on television to realize that world works in strange ways.

We’re now asking ourselves whether we should separate out legal from operational.  On one hand, let’s pursue the case but on the other, figure out how to buy new equipment to replace the old.  That takes awhile, but consumers remain in touch with us saying our product is special and they hope it comes back.  The trick is that all this takes money, and money doesn’t go on trees.  We trust this helps explain why it’s not so easy answering “yes/no” questions and providing definitive dates for our return.

As always, we thank you for your ongoing support.

Ted

CEO


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80 thoughts on “Business Update (March 9, 2017)

  • Bill Brandt

    From the outside looking in we are behind you and want to encourage you to keep moving forward.We will support you any way we can.

  • Paul

    Thank you for the update Ted
    I am still waiting here with a watering mouth and hoping the courts find way to resolve this sooner then later in RyKrisp favor.
    Take care
    Paul

  • Jody

    My large supply stash is running out. This is my personal crack and go to snack with cheese, especially when I can’t sleep.. I can’t find anything that tastes like it on the market. I sure hope you find a way to resolve all of this because I really really really really need my seasoned RYKRISP crackers. I am on my last box.

  • William Herndon

    Like many of your followers, my family is also stressed and distressed over your troubles…and, as well perhaps, wondering what we cando to assist as opposed to just inquiring or bitching. How can we build a ground-swell? Any thoughts??

    • tleavitt Post author

      Folks have been great with coming back with ideas. We even got an economic development inquiry from one of our strong markets. One thing we’ve been thinking of is asking for some upfront order from our fans to help kick start the effort when back. Sort of crowd funding but “in kind” as opposed to buying shares (we are limited in that as an LLC). Thanks for thinking of us and asking. The thinking cap is always on! Ted Leavitt

    • tleavitt Post author

      A good idea. LLCs (which we are) have limitations of 100 shareholders, making this path a bit tricky, and the fact that the preferred solution is to get back what is rightfully ours rather than have to start afresh. We’re certainly working on all options. Thanks for thinking of us with concrete suggestions. Always appreciated. Ted Leavitt

  • Diana E Warner

    Please continue to go forward. I love RYKRISP and dearly miss it as I have been eating it for some 60 years .Keeping us( ie customers) in the loop is heartening that maybe we can make a difference, even if just a small one. Thank you Diana Warner

    • tleavitt Post author

      Thanks. Presume you have signed up here on the website for updates. That’s the sure way we will keep you posted of significant developments…we try not to bother our fans with every development (I know myself from the amount of email I get from places I bought one thing from). All the best, Ted Leavitt

  • Michael Hubbard

    I fell in love with your crackers many years ago, and have been dismayed they aren’t available here in central ohio. Now I know why. I hope you have a favorable judgement, and get back on the shelves very soon!

  • Karen underwood

    My mother ate RYKRISP her whole life. Its a great product and I can’t wait until it is back so I can carry on the family tradition of introducing it to my daughter. Good luck and I hope you are back in production soon.

  • Jan

    I love and miss RyKrisp! I hope this court business is settled soon but I vote for separating legal and operational because this has been too long of a wait. I hope to hear some production plans soon!

    • tleavitt Post author

      Jan – we agree with the sentiment, but paying off someone when you are in the right is 1) expensive and 2) the wrong thing for us to do. It hurts us to say that, but that’s the truth. In thinking positive, remember that ConAgra was closing the business down when we bought it :-). It’s a bit of a non-sequitur but your comment does remind me that having RYKRISP around seems so obvious — natural and healthy. Thanks for the friendly “prod”. Ted Leavitt

  • Kay

    I ❤️ RYKRISP! My quest for RYKRISP took me all over town and back again, only to return empty-handed. Hope to see your product back on the shelves soon. Tried many other brands, but nothing compares. Not even close!

  • John Mccoy

    Please keep up the fight- I am waiting and really miss seasoned RYKRISP crackers. I will be here, ready to go 45 miles to get them when you finally prevail.

  • SC Whitney

    Just happened upon this while looking for a recipe to make some RYKRISP. I am sending you good thoughts and know I want you to succeed. Remember David and Goliath!

  • Cyndi Julian

    So why don’t you let us who are eagerly waiting for the return of RYKRISP buy in and let’s get this show on the road? I’m getting old and I don’t have forever here! I would love to invest in RYKRISP!

    • tleavitt Post author

      Cyndi – Thanks. It’s a bit complicated in that an LLC can’t have more than 100 investors (we are 5), but we might consider doing something “in kind” (e.g., support for crackers down the road…or something). Will put the thinking cap on! Ted Leavitt

  • Diane Turner

    In a time where crappy fast food and poor health products are on the shelves of our supermarkets, your product falls in the whole grain category. This product has saved me many times from choosing other brands in trying to stay healthy. The crunch and seasoning is superb. Please consider coming back with a product, my fav. was seasoned RYKRISP. Loved it. They fit in well with people who can’t eat many carbs.

  • Iris Knell

    Whew. You have my ongoing support. I just want RyKrisp and will go many miles to get it, but I am in my 75th year, so I hope you are successful before long, and I’m sorry for all your difficulties! I too wondered if you were toying with us and appreciate your update. (“Sesame” — not so much “Seasoned”…)

    • tleavitt Post author

      Definitely not toying…wishing more than anything that we weren’t in this situation, but such is life. Someone takes your equipment out of a warehouse and that sure seems like theft. Unfortunately, when this happens in business, it’s a commercial issue vs a criminal one, and you have to go to court. A pain in the neck. Thanks for keeping up the interest. Ted Leavitt

  • Valley

    Anxiously awaiting the return of RYKRISP! It was a staple in our house until it suddenly disappeared off the shelves of the grocery stores. I believe it has actually been a staple for four generations of my family. Hang in there, whenever you get RYKRISP back out into the world, we’ll be waiting to buy it and EAT IT!

  • K SCHAEFER

    ABSOLUTELY LOVE RYKRISP… WE HAVE ENJOYED IT FOR MANY YEARS, STARTING BACK IN 1937 WITH MY PARENTS MARRIAGE… I AM A HUGE FAN OF THE SESAME VERSION, AND AM HOPEFUL THAT YOU FOLKS CAN SOME HOW RETURN TO US, (INCLUDING A SLEW OF US GOOD MINNESOTANS WHO GREW UP ON THIS WONDERFUL AND DELICIOUS PRODUCT. (AWESOME WITH TOPPED WITH COTTAGE CHEESE AND GREEK SEASONING…

    IT IS SAD HOW SOME MANY WONDERFUL FOOD STUFFS ARE TRASHED AND TOSSED ASIDE DUE TO “AQUISITIONS AND MERGERS” IF THE WORLD IS NOT CLAMMERING FOR IT, THEN IT HAS NO VALUE…. WRONG WRONG WRONG. HEY GUYS, THERE ARE MANY OF US OUT HERE… MISSING IT, I’VE CHECKED STORE SHELVES MANY TIMES, AND JUST FOUND THE DETAILS OF YOUR STORY TODAY… GOOD LUCK TO YOU GENTLEMEN… IT IS SAD HOW GREED AND UNSAVORY FOLKS CAN SPOIL A DREAM OF FOUR GENTLEMEN SUCH AS YOURSELVES. I WISH YOU THE BEST OF LUCK IN MAKING THIS RY COMEBACK COME ABOUT…GOOD LUCK IN COURT MAY YOU WIN!

    • tleavitt Post author

      Thanks for the nice story. It brings a smile to the day. Your sentiment is one of the key drivers of why we bought the brand in the first place. Having our equipment stolen and then having to sue to get it back is certainly a roadblock, but we’re pretty resolute in our efforts. Thanks again. Ted

  • Jo-Ellen Spencer

    I love RYKRISP. I bought a couple of cartons when I found out the old company was going out of business but I’m almost done with my supply. PLS BEGIN MAKING THEM AGAIN. None of the replacements suggested taste like RYKRISP. Can you send me an email once you are in production? Thanks!

    • tleavitt Post author

      Jo-Ellen – Thanks. Hoping you signed up for updates on the home page, because that will guarantee we do what you as, which is update you when there is good news to be shared. Best, Ted Leavitt

  • Debbie Wrigley

    I love RYKRISP and hadn’t been able to find any. I hope this problem is resolved soon so we can enjoy your product once again. Please keep us posted.

  • Evan Spealman

    I will gladly pre order a bunch if they ever become available again. I would potentially buy stock in the company if I could and that were to help speed to process. Words are nice, but its all about the money at the end of day. Nothing compares to the Seasoned RYKRISP and Ive tried everything I can find in the stores and online.

    • tleavitt Post author

      Thanks for the show of faith. We haven’t gone the “crowdfunding route” because LLCs are limited to 100 shareholders. But we’re at the point of having to pursue a legal outcome as the alternatives aren’t more attractive or feasible as yet. Best, Ted

  • Darlene

    I have a craving for RyKrispy crackers. My mother ate them when I was a child overy 60 years ago. I developed a love for these tasty crackers too. I’ve been looking for them at Winco and Fred Meyer’s in Vancouver, Washington, but I can’t find them. Can you help me?

    If I had known there was a problem (now that I have read others’ comments), I would have stocked up too. I missed the memo.

    DE

    • tleavitt Post author

      Funny…we didn’t write that memo…to stock up. Apologies 🙂 But if you’ve signed up for updates, we’ll get back to you when something breaks. Washington is a great market for the product. Ted

  • Michele caskey

    Yes your product is special and one of a kind. I have missed it. Hope you will be able to make it again at the same quality.

    • tleavitt Post author

      It was the quality coming out of our contract manufacturer that caused us to say we had to move elsewhere and led to the snafu at present. Only the best for our customers 🙂 Thanks for being a fan. Ted

    • tleavitt Post author

      Molasses in winter moves more quickly than the Cook County legal process. We’re doing our best to move things forward, but every action than leads to a 1-2 month delay until the response. It is enervating to say the least. Thanks for the offer, though. Maybe Rahm Emanuel could help but the rest of us have issues with speed 🙂 Ted

  • Lee

    Was wondering where all those delicious RyKrisp crackers were. Didn’t know it had been THAT LONG since I had purchased some! Okay, I’ll ‘hold on’ and hope it doesn’t take too long before we see them back on the grocery shelves. Will send you lots of positive thoughts and energy and hope a financial windfall comes your way. That might create a little easier path to follow … and hurry things up.

    • tleavitt Post author

      Our greatest wish would be that the Cook County courts speed up the process of resolving this. Our equipment was taken 10 months ago, and it’s back and forth in the courts. We don’t wish this process upon anyone, least of all our devotees. Thx! Ted

    • tleavitt Post author

      John – We could only wish. The name is Distinctive Foods, LLC., and they are primarily a contract manufacturer. We’ll take the high road and hopefully win on the facts of the case. Despite the pain of waiting, that seems the right approach for us. The big surprise is the slow speed of the Cook County court system. Betting we’ll beat the next Ice Age, but not sure by how much…just kidding, but you get the idea. Ted

  • Judy

    I have not been able to find RyKrisp crackers in my local stores for the last 10 years. I was a regular buyer of both the ‘original’ and the seasoned up until they disappeared. If they come back and I can find them I will be a customer again. I’ve tried other brands but they are not good enough to buy a second time. If you resolve your legal issues and go back into the business of making the best rye crackers please send me an e-mail. (Right after you hire better sales people than the previous management!)

    • tleavitt Post author

      Judy – Thanks. I would have made the same observation that ConAgra sort of forgot the brand…anything below “tens of millions” too small to bother on. Fortunately the trends are swinging back to smaller and more artisanal. Thx! Ted