Potato chip maker Utz Brands went public Monday after 99 years in business.
"This was a great time to go public," CEO Dylan Lissette told Cheddar. "We've been around for almost a hundred years. It's a fourth generation business that was transferring into the fifth generation. We were approaching about a billion dollars in sales."
Utz has spent the last decade building a national presence through targeted acquisitions of popular regional brands such as Zapp's kettle chips, Boulder Canyon kettle chips, and Golden Flake chips.
The Pennsylvania-based company is now the fourth-largest salty snack brand behind PepsiCo, Campbell, and Kellogg.
But Utz fueled its acquisition spree with millions in debt, which partially explains its route to the public market.
Rather than an initial public offering, special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) Collier Creek Holdings merged with Utz, contributing $488 million in cash in the process.
About half of that amount will go toward paying down debts.
"Irregardless if we came public through a SPAC or through a traditional IPO, we're a public company today under UTZ on the New York Stock Exchange," Lissette said. "Investors that have clamored to want to be a part of Utz for decades now can buy into the stock and be a part of our future."
The CEO also said sales "went through the roof" back in March at the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, with top brands such as Zapps and Utz potato chips jumping 15 to 20 percent.
Now he's banking on Utz continuing to grow with the always-popular snack category.
"The snacking category is a great category," he said. "It grows 3-4 percent a year. It's done that through recession. It's done that through boom times. It's really just a simple pleasure."