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When Roma Hailman first began working for Mrs. Fisher's Inc., she jokingly told the family who owned it that she loved their potato chips so much, she would like to own the company someday.An interesting part of Mrs. Fisher's history is the tradition that it be passed on to a long-time employee with many years of experience. Roma's chance remark led to the family grooming her for ownership. Eventually Roma and her husband Mark became only the fifth owners in the company's more than 80 years of existence.Many things have changed since 1932, when Ethel Fisher first began making potato chips from her home at Charles and 7th Streets to earn money during the Great Depression. Although Roma can still remember when bags of potatoes were unloaded from the back of trucks manually, the entire process from unloading, washing, and peeling to frying, salting, and packaging is now automated in a 10,000-square-foot facility on Fulton Avenue. One thing that hasn't changed in 80 years, however, is the great taste of the chips. Mrs. Fisher's uses more than 50,000 pounds a week of the best chipping potatoes from a regional farm and the highest quality shortening. The chips are not packaged on the same day, but are left to cool overnight and absorb the shortening, which results in chips with an attractive sheen and a satisfying crunch. Roma says, "Through a combination of three route drivers and four distributors, we ultimately reach customers in a 120-mile radius of Rockford. Our online ordering system, reaches customers across the Country by shipping directly to them. We have five varieties of Mrs. Fisher's thick-cut chips (Regular, BBQ, Rippled, Dark and French Onion)." "The quality of our product and our management go hand in hand," says Roma. "Mrs. Fisher's has been a great little business for Rockford. We're proud to own a company that helps out the city too."

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