In 1946, James S. Herr launched his career with a $1,750 investment in a small Lancaster, Pennsylvania potato chip company and a keen desire to make and sell high quality snack foods. At the time, sales averaged $30 a week. But, the 21 year-old’s persistence and business acumen led him on a path of steady growth. By 2012 sales volume had expanded to exceed $250 million annually, and the Herr’s payroll included some 1,500 employees dedicated to the production and marketing of 240 varieties of snacks in a nine state region.
Jim Herr was recognized as a business leader and as an innovator and mentor within the snack food industry. In 1969, the Small Business Administration named him Outstanding Pennsylvania Businessman of the Year. He served for five years on the board of directors of the Worldwide Economic Development Team. Among his duties was working hand in hand with aspiring African entrepreneurs. In 1979, Jim served as International President of the Potato Chip and Snack Food Association. The association welcomed him into its Circle of Honor in 1997. That same year he was named Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry’s Businessman of the Year.
A strong believer in local service, Jim served as a director of the Chester County Development Council and as Building Campaign Chair for the Southern Chester County Health Services Medical Center. He was a 12-year member of the Oxford Area School Board, serving five of those years as its President. For six years, he held a seat on the Chester County Board of School Directors.
A staunch advocate for small business, in 1972 he was elected to the board of the National Federation of Independent Business, a 350,000 member strong association of small and independent businesses. In 1989 he was elected as their Chairman, a position he held until retiring in December 2000. He was President of Interstate Drilling Co. until it was sold in 2001, and held leadership positions on a number of local boards and religious organizations.
Jim Herr, Founder of the Herr Foods Company, turned the Chairmanship over to his son, J.M. Herr, on January 7, 2005. He continued to serve on the Board until his passing on April 5, 2012.
Born in Lancaster, Pennsylvania in 1924, Jim married Miriam Hershey in 1947. The couple moved to Nottingham in 1951, where they raised five children. The Herr’s have 27 grandchildren and 21 great grandchildren.