New company museum pays homage to development of the brand
By Terry Troy
Last month, Vitamix employees, retirees, board members and members of the company’s founding family joined together to celebrate the grand opening of The Barnard Homestead, Vitamix Museum and new Event Center in Olmsted Township. With more than 600 folks in attendance, it was a fitting tribute to this venerable Ohio brand, which was founded by the Barnard family more than 100 years ago.
“Vitamix has grown to be an iconic brand with an impressive legacy and a rich history,” says Steve Laserson, CEO of the company. “It started in 1921 with one fundamental purpose: To improve health and wellbeing by making it easy, fun and delicious for everyone to live healthier lives. That commitment to whole food health, to product development and to marketing innovation continues today, as we’ve grown to serve customers in more than 130 countries.”
The Barnard family’s passion for whole food nutrition was born after discovering a natural solution for a family member’s chronic illness. The family became vegetarians, cutting sugar and caffeine from their diets. After seeing the benefits from that lifestyle change, they became believers in the power of whole foods.
By the late 1930s, the Barnard family dedicated themselves to healthy eating as a part of their life’s work. The family’s mail-order health and vitamin business grew into the Natural Foods Institute. When Papa Barnard, the family patriarch, recognized that a powerful blender could make healthy foods taste great, the Vita-Mix was created.
During the ‘80s and ‘90s, Vitamix worked hard to educate the public about the differences between calories and nutrition. Today, the Vitamix Foundation pursues the elimination of diet-driven illness through the consumption of plant-based whole foods. Vitamix is still committed to whole-food health through the continuous innovation of next generation blending machines that make nutrition easy, efficient and delicious for people at home or in professional kitchens, helping Vitamix grow into the iconic Ohio brand that it is today.
“Our goal going forward is to tap the vast potential of the brand by infusing creative energy and an innovative mindset into our greatest asset—our workforce,” adds Laserson. “That is how we will continue to grow and meet our mission of promoting health and wellness.”
The new Vitamix Museum displays over 100 years of artifacts honoring the company’s roots. This museum pays homage to its visionaries and invites attendees to experience the company’s story firsthand. As you enter the museum, you immediately begin to walk through time starting in the original corporate building dating back to 1948. All four galleries in the museum provide a historical view into the company’s roots in Olmsted Township, its commitment to whole food health, product and marketing innovation, and a look into the future.
The Barnard Homestead, accessible to Barnard family members and Vitamix employees and on a limited basis to the public, houses family artifacts and exhibits that tell the story of the Barnard family over the years.
The Event Center, with a capacity for 90-plus people, was built from the company’s historic log cabin, which was the first addition to the corporate headquarters in 1950. The space features an atrium with beautifully crafted overhanging glass—it’s where modern meets vintage and is currently available for Vitamix company events only.