Vitamix

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Vitamix
Private
IndustryHigh-Performance Blending Equipment
Founded1921
FounderWilliam Barnard (1921)
HeadquartersOlmsted Township, Ohio, U.S.
Area served
North America, United Kingdom, Australia, Germany, Asia Region
Key people
President & CEO – Jodi Berg (president since 2009, CEO since 2011)
Number of employees
926
Websitewww.vitamix.com

Vitamix, privately owned and operated by the Barnard family since 1921, manufactures blenders for consumers and for the restaurant and hospitality industry. Vitamix has been based in Olmsted Township, Ohio, since 1948. It employs nearly 1,000 people, most at its Northeast Ohio headquarters and manufacturing facilities.

Although soap operas came earlier, Vitamix was the first company to produce (1949) and broadcast (1950) an infomercial for a specific manufactured product.[1]

History[edit]

Vitamix is privately owned and operated by the Barnard family. The company was founded in 1921[2] when William Grover Barnard began traveling the country selling modern kitchen products. It was by helping a friend through his illness that Barnard began to recognize the importance and impact that whole-food nutrition had on one's health and well-being. At that point, Barnard changed the name of the company to The Natural Food Institute.[3]

In 1937 Barnard saw a blender at a trade show[2] and introduced his own variations, creating a more durable and reliable series of blending machines. The name "Vita-Mix" emphasized "vita," meaning "life."[4]

In 1949, Bill Barnard, son of William, convinced his father to take his Vita-Mix demonstrations to local television advertising. The company pioneered the first infomercial.[5][1]

Bill Barnard inherited the business and in 1964 officially changed the name to Vita-Mix Corporation. The company's Vitamix 3600, the first blender that could make hot soup, blend ice cream, grind grain, and knead bread dough, was released in 1969.

In 1985, John Barnard and his brother created the Mix'n Machine, a high-performance commercial blender.

In February 2006, Blendtec sued Vitamix Corporation for infringing its patents on Blendtec's "Wild Side" jar design, which Vitamix had allegedly copied as its own MP and XP containers. The court concluded Vitamix had infringed Blendtec's patents, and awarded Blendtec total damages of approximately $24 million, the largest patent-related penalty in the history of Utah.[6]

In 2009, Dr. Jodi Berg became President of Vitamix, making her the fourth generation of the Barnard family to hold the title.[7] She became CEO in 2011.[8]

Patent Lawsuit[edit]

In February 2006, Blendtec sued Vitamix Corporation for infringing its patents on Blendtec’s “Wild Side” jar design, which Vitamix had allegedly copied as its own MP and XP containers. Vitamix lost the suit and was ordered to pay 23 million dollars in damages.[9]

21st century[edit]

The Vitamix product line, described as having a $400 starting price,[3], has been covered by The New York Times.[10][11][12]

Product recalls[edit]

Over 100,000 products sold in 2017 and 2018 were recalled because of danger;[13] one magazine headlined "Vitamix recall: Your $500 blender might hurt you."[14]

Community Involvement[edit]

In 2019, Vitamix entered into a $200,000 partnership with Olmsted Falls City Schools, an Ohio “Triple A” public school district located in Olmsted Falls, Ohio, where the company is headquartered. The sponsorship deal includes naming rights to the district’s high school football field, student curriculum enhancements, and food services support.[15]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b After several live broadcasts from several cities during 1949, the company founder's recorded in 1949 what became the infomercial initially broadcast in 1950: "A Conversation with Fourth-Generation Vitamix CEO Jodi Berg" (PDF). Brown Brothers Harriman (BBH). BBH: This information has been obtained from sources believed to be reliable
  2. ^ a b Barnard saw a blender at a trade show in 1937 and .. "Discover". GLpublishing.
  3. ^ a b "The Crazy-Powerful Blender from a Wellness Early Adopter".
  4. ^ "Slate".
  5. ^ "Bloomberg Business".
  6. ^ Vitamix Infringement Case Summary Archived February 10, 2011, at the Wayback Machine
  7. ^ "Cleveland.com".
  8. ^ "Vitamix President and CEO Jodi Berg urges women to dream bigger". cleveland.com. Retrieved 2017-12-04.
  9. ^ Cho, Janet H.; Dealer, The Plain (2011-01-28). "Vitamix ordered to pay $23 million in damages for patent infringement". cleveland. Retrieved 2020-07-06.
  10. ^ "The Best Blender". The New York Times. April 1, 2020.
  11. ^ "Blend-off: Vitamix vs. Blendtec". The New York Times. June 25, 2018.
  12. ^ "What's the Best Blender for Smoothies". The New York Times. June 21, 2018.
  13. ^ "Vitamix Blender Containers Recalled". August 10, 2018.
  14. ^ "Vitamix recall: Your $500 blender might hurt you". Fast Company. August 14, 2018.
  15. ^ Benson, John (2019-02-11). "Olmsted Falls City Schools announces $200,000 partnership with Vitamix". cleveland.com. Retrieved 2019-03-16.

External links[edit]