Vitamix Company History
A Letter from our President
When I was asked to become the President of Vitamix in 2009, the company was already recognized as the market leader in blending technology. I realized that I was not just accepting a new position, but agreeing to steward a legacy. It is incredibly humbling to know that the successes we experience today have been made possible by the foundational leadership, passion, and commitment of the generations before us.
I wish I could give you a personal tour through the halls of our company, show you the family photos that hang here, and let you touch the logs of the home and office that my grandfather built by hand in the 1940s, while keeping his business afloat, supporting the war effort, and raising a family. Some of my fondest memories took place inside these walls, including family reunions and listening in fascination as my grandfather would talk to customers on the phone, helping them knead bread dough in their Vitamix machines, which was very popular at that time. Our customers are still the center of our world. As the fourth-generation President of Vitamix, our history is very personal to me, as it is for the hundreds of employees who continue to work right here in Olmsted Township, Ohio—designing, perfecting, and building the hundreds of thousands of Vitamix products that are made every year. Join me as we walk through this almost century-long, true American success story.
Our story began in 1921 when my great-grandfather was facing challenging economic times that would soon lead to the Great Depression. William Grover Barnard, affectionately known as “Papa” to all of us, began traveling the country selling modern kitchen products. It was by helping a friend through his illness that he began connecting the value of whole-food nutrition to health and well-being. Papa changed the name of his business to The Natural Food Institute, and became a pioneer in the health food industry, studying and teaching people everything he knew about food and health. In 1937, Papa was introduced to a new product, the blender. He immediately saw the value of blending to quickly and easily prepare healthy foods that taste delicious. He focused his attention on selling this new product, which my other great-grandfather named the “Vita-Mix,” because vita means life.
In 1949, my grandfather, Bill Barnard, convinced Papa to take his live demonstration to the newest form of advertising, the television set. Papa overcame his doubts that the TV was a welcome addition to the family and went down in history as the creator of the nation’s first infomercial. Grandpa inherited the business a few years later in 1955, officially changing its name to Vita-Mix Corporation in 1964 when his son, Grover, joined the company. Knowing the benefits of whole foods, Grandpa was determined to make healthy food preparation even easier and more delicious. The Vitamix became more powerful and versatile, setting it apart from any other product on the market. In 1969, he introduced the Vitamix 3600, the first blender that could make hot soup, blend ice cream, grind grain, and knead bread dough. My grandmother created hundreds of recipes for healthy alternatives to the foods we loved.
Thirty years later, my father, John Barnard, and his brother used their engineering backgrounds to make significant improvements to the performance and durability of the Vitamix product line—further developing the technology that allows families to pass their cherished Vitamix machines from one generation to another. In 1985, they developed the first Vitamix commercial blender, the Mix’n Machine. My dad’s vision then established us as the first high-performance blender in the foodservice industry—where our quality, performance, and value continue to set the bar. Today, a full line of commercial Vitamix machines can be found in gourmet restaurants and leading chains around the world.
Some of the lessons we learned along the way are still with us today. We continue to persevere to create the highest-quality product through customer input and advanced technology. We are steadfast in creating a better future through family values and healthy, delicious food. And we are committed to improving the vitality of people’s lives.
What Papa Barnard realized decades ago is now common knowledge: the world can be a healthier and better place through whole-food nutrition. It is not just our torch—it is a passion held by many. Please join us in changing the way the world thinks about food, quality products, and customer service. We can make a bigger difference—together. You, too, can be a part of our story.
To your health and vitality,