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Entries : Evans Food Products
Evans Food Products

Evans Food Products

Chicago attorney Lester W. Olin entered the pork rind business in 1947 when he purchased a large oil vat from a Mr. Evans, who had been renting a small office in the State Street building that Olin owned. Olin quickly patented his pork rind manufacturing process, and Evans Food Products was born. In the beginning, Olin sold his pork rinds, and soon corn chips, door-to-door to area homes and businesses. In 1955, Evans Food Products moved to a much larger manufacturing plant on South Halstead Street, about the same time that the company began selling to overseas markets. Evans continued to grow over the next several decades, employing several dozen people by the mid-1970s. Olin sold Evans Food Products to a subsidiary of Milwaukee-based Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Co. in 1981. The next year, the company discontinued its corn chip line, focusing exclusively on pork rinds. Mexican pork rind manufacturers, Alejandro Silva, Carlos Silva, and Jose Garza purchased Evans in 1985. By the early 2000s, Evans Food Products was still headquartered at its plant on South Halsted, with manufacturing facilities in Texas, Ohio, and Mexico. Boasting annual revenues near $70 million, Evans was the world's top pork rind business, and one of Chicago's largest minority-owned firms. It employed about 100 people in Chicago and almost 150 more in its three other locations.