BARNARD SALES CO.
William Grover Barnard, affectionately known as “Papa Barnard,” starts a company selling household products through demonstration. He finds early success selling the 25-cent Polly Can Opener, which gave people safer and easier access to healthy foods year-round.
NATURAL FOODS INSTITUTE
Papa Barnard renames the company to Natural Foods Institute to better align with their new focus on whole-food nutrition. After spending two summers demonstrating at the Great Lakes Exposition Papa and his son William G. “Bill” Barnard, Jr.’s biggest take aways were the introduction to the blender and a love for the city of Cleveland and its people.
THE FIRST STORE FRONT
As their business grew Papa and Bill opened up the first Natural Foods Institute store at 807 Saint Clair Ave. In addition to a variety of health foods products the store offered health lectures, and demonstrations of the Vitamix which they advertised for $13.95.
WORLD HEADQUARTERS ESTABLISHED
The company moves to Olmsted Township, Ohio, where Bill Barnard builds a rustic, 1,100-square-foot office building. The health food division becomes smaller as the family focuses on direct marketing and sales demonstrations of the Vitamix.
Ruth Barnard, wife of Papa’s son Bill, contributes vitamin-rich recipes to a cookbook, 500 Recipes for Vita-Mix and Other Liquifying Machines. Her innovations in healthy eating help put the Vita-Mix machine ahead of other blenders on the market.
SECOND GENERATION TAKES THE LEAD
Papa retires passing the business onto the second generation. Bill and Ruth incorporate the business and travel coast to coast with their family, demonstrating the benefits of healthy living through the Vitamix.
THIRD GENERATION TAKES THE LEAD
Bill and Ruth’s son Grover joins the company. He shifts the focus solely to Vitamix machines and innovation, discontinuing the health food division. In 1966, the company name is changed to the Vita-Mix Corporation. Grover goes on to become president in 1985.
THE LEADERSHIP BATON PASSES AGAIN
John Barnard, Bill and Ruth’s son and brother to Grover, rejoins the company in 1981 as head engineer. He redesigns the Vitamix 3600 to meet Canadian standards, setting the stage for future international sales. John will go on to heavily influence product development, as well as manufacturing and sales, before becoming president in 1999.
As the whole-food movement gains traction, Vitamix® takes its demonstration and plant-based recipes to retailers, beginning with Costco.
FOURTH GENERATION TAKES THE LEAD
Jodi Berg becomes president, and a year later, CEO. Her father, John Barnard, becomes executive chairman. The company is now in more than 80 countries and wins exporting excellence awards from the state and federal government.
1 MILLION MACHINES
Vitamix, having opened a 175,000-square-foot operations center in Strongsville, Ohio, hits the 1 million mark in machines manufactured over a single year.
SETTING THE STAGE FOR THE NEXT CENTURY
In the midst of a pandemic, Vitamix is recognized as a leader in a crisis, demonstrating that strong values, purpose and passion for making a difference can impact not just company performance, but the greater community as well.
VITAMIX AT 100 YEARS
After 100 years, four generations, and sales in 130 countries, the Vitamix family business is thriving under Jodi Berg’s leadership. Jodi is known for infusing the company culture with purpose and passion for whole, healthy foods.
“If we can change the way people eat, we can change the future.”
–Jodi L. Berg, Ph.D., President and CEO, Vitamix
- 1921 Barnard Sales Co.
- 1937 Natural Foods Institute
- 1939 The First Store Front
- 1948 World Headquarters Established
- 1949 Ruth’s Recipes
- 1949 World’s First Infomercial
- 1955 Second generation takes the lead
- 1962 Third generation takes the lead
- 1981 The leadership baton passes again
- 2002 Retail Expansion
- 2009 Fourth Generation Takes the Lead
- 2013 1 Million Machines
- 2020 Setting the Stage for the Next Century
- 2021 Vitamix at 100 Years
A Whole-Food Health Pioneer
From the start, Vitamix® was rooted in whole-food nutrition. Although much has changed since 1921, our focus on better living through health and wellness holds strong.
Where It All Began
The Barnards’ passion for whole-food nutrition was born after discovering a natural solution for a family member’s chronic illness. They became vegetarians and cut sugar and caffeine from their diets. After seeing the benefits from this lifestyle change, they were believers in the power of whole foods.
Committing to Nutrition
By the late 1930s, the Barnards had made promoting healthy eating their life’s work. Their mail-order health food and vitamin business grew into the Natural Foods Institute. And when Papa recognized that a powerful blender could make healthy foods taste great, the Vita-Mix was created – and also sold in the family store.
Advocating for Whole Foods
In 1937, Papa Barnard published a book citing natural foods as a cure for many common diseases. In the ’40s and beyond, Ruth Barnard worked tirelessly to develop recipes rich in core vitamins. During the diet crazes of the ’80s and ’90s, Vitamix worked to educate the public about the difference between calories and nutrition. Today, the Vitamix Foundation pursues the elimination of diet-driven illness through the consumption of plant-based whole foods.
Innovating for Better Health
Unsurprisingly, the single greatest way Vitamix has committed to whole-food health is through the continuous innovation of next-generation blending machines. Through industry-leading design and engineering, whole-food nutrition is made easy, efficient, and delicious for people at home, in professional kitchens, and beyond.
Vitamix® Through the Years
From the very first at-home blending machine to expansions into commercial kitchens to our latest innovations, here’s a look at the evolution of the Vitamix®.
The original Vita-Mix joined a crowded market and was sold as a revolutionary health machine for $11.95 – $12.95 with a stainless steel container.
The Mark 20
“Ten machines in one,” this classic featured two speeds to liquefy, blend, freeze, grind, make baby food, and more. Many still work today and are sold secondhand on eBay.
The Vita-Mix 3600
A powerful machine with multiple speeds and forward and reverse directions, it stood apart from other blenders and dominated the consumer market through the 1980s.
1985 and 1988
The Flurry and the Vita-Mix 4000
The first commercial market Vitamix, the Flurry (later known as the Mix’n Machine) provided fast beverage mixing for restaurants. The Vita-Mix 4000 followed in 1988, offering professionals a commercially rated version of the 3600.
The Total Nutrition Center (TNC)
Also known as the Vita-Mix 5000, this next generation of household blenders and first modern-looking Vitamix machine boasted 11 speeds and came with a clear, polycarbonate container.
The Drink Machine
This NFS-certified commercial powerhouse was embraced for its ability to make frozen drinks faster and better tasting than other blenders and batch frozen drink dispensers on the market.
The first Vitamix to feature a timer, it was quickly adopted by restaurant chains because of its ability to deliver consistent outcomes and ensure customer satisfaction.
A back-of-house favorite among professional chefs, this commercial machine focused on food prep.
With the introduction of three new products, Vita-Mix solidified its position in the bar and beverage sector: the BarBoss (blender), the Portion Blending System (for measuring out shaved ice), and the Rinse-O-Matic (for quick cleaning of containers).
Made for schools, healthcare facilities, restaurants, and the hospitality industry, this belt-driven countertop blender could manage large batches of batters, purées, sauces, soups, and smoothies.
Vitamix 7500 (G Series)
Enter the first Vitamix to feature new microprocessor technology, enabling precise control of the machine’s speed, and a ramp-up speed dial.
The Vitamix Ascent®
Sleek, smart, and versatile, this machine transformed the category with its SELF-DETECT® technology.
Explorian® Series E310
With intuititive, versatile controls, exhilirating power, and durability backed up by a 5-year warranty, the Explorian® Series E310 will forever change the way you cook, it's never been easier to become a Vitamix owner..
The Quiet One
An updated version of the popular front-of-house restaurant blending machine originally released in 2010, this model comes with six optimized programs, 34 settings, 93 variable speeds, and automatic shut-off.