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.
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.
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.
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