Valparaiso based Chester, Inc is celebrating its 70th year in business. In 1947, Orville Redenbacher and Charles Bowman established Chester Incorporated, after purchasing the George F. Chester & Sons Seed company. At that time, Bowman was Manager of the Purdue Ag Alumn Seed Improvement Association, Lafayette, Indiana, and was formerly Manager of the Indiana Crop Improvement Association Seed Certification Service. Orville Redenbacher was Manager of Princeton Farms, Princeton, Indiana, a large farm operation which among other major projects, produced hybrid seed corn, certified seeds and commercial popping corn.
Orville Redenbacher was employed by Hunt-Wesson Foods to help promote the Orville Redenbacher brand of gourmet popping corn by making personal appearances and television commercials. Charlie Bowman remained as President of Chester, Inc. and, for three years, utilized one half of his time teaching Hunt-Wesson Foods how to produce, process, condition, and store both popcorn seed and popping corn. Orville passed away in 1995 and Charlie in 2004.
Today, Chester, Inc. has three primary operating divisions: Chester Inc. Ag Systems (grain storage and handling equipment, agricultural irrigation systems), Chester Inc. Architectural & Construction Services (design/build/finance–commercial and industrial buildings) Chester, Inc. Information Technologies (design, implementation and support of computer networks) Pete Peuquet purchased Chester Inc. and today the organization is a family-owned and privately held corporation.