In 1921, William Gover Barnard (affectionately known as “Papa”) began traveling the country selling modern kitchen products. While helping a friend through an illness, Barnard made the connection between the value of whole-food to health and wellness. He soon became a pioneer in the health food industry and, in 1937, was introduced to a new product – the blender. Barnard immediately saw the value of blending to quickly and easily prepare healthy foods that taste delicious and focused his attention on selling this product, which a member of his family named the “Vita-Mix.”
Soon, Barnard was making history. In 1949, after much convincing from his son Bill, Barnard created the nation’s first infomercial. Bill Barnard inherited the business in 1955, officially changing its name to Vita-Mix Corporation in 1964 when his son, Grover, joined the company. From there, the Barnard family continued to focus on improving the performance and durability of their product – and on making healthy food preparation easier and more delicious. Today a full line of Vitamix machines can be found everywhere from gourmet restaurants and leading chains to family kitchens around the world.
Continue reading below to hear from Jodi Berg, the fourth-generation president of Vitamix and great-granddaughter of Papa Barnard, about how Vitamix is honoring its past, embracing the future, and continuing to set the bar for quality, performance, and value in the food service industry.
We passionately believe in making the world a better place; every person matters; our future depends on learning and innovation; in embracing our past while creating our future; in treating people with dignity and respect.
- Vitamix's Guiding Principles
Our heritage is not just something that’s tucked away on a page on our website. It’s actually an integral part of our everyday work, as it helps define who we are and what we do. My great-grandfather understood as far back as the 1920s the role that whole-food nutrition plays in promoting lifelong health. He saw good food as a key to a fulfilling life, and the Vitamix machine as a way people could gain access to that food in an easy and sustainable way. His vision endures even four generations later!
One of our guiding principles is “Embracing our past while creating our future.” There’s a lot to that statement, including the idea that we’re creating that future. It’s not going to be something that just happens to us. It’s something we’re going to shape together, guided by a common purpose and a desire to serve our raving fans around the world. We’re already actively planning our 100th anniversary celebration in 2021, and I can tell you that celebration is going to be focused far more on the next 100 years than it will be on the first 100.
I could point to a number of things, but certainly one thing in which I and others take a great deal of pride in is being the category leader in high-performance blending. In fact, we created the category. Over the years, we’ve had a number of competitors enter this space, but we continue setting the pace and driving the category. One reason for that, I think, is that our claim to be the leader is absolutely authentic. We do more than just sell product: We help you become a “better me,” whether that means helping you get healthier, indulging your inner chef, or something else. People love Vitamix because it helps them achieve important goals. It warms my heart every time someone comes up to me and tells me how their Vitamix machine has changed their lives. It’s humbling yet inspiring.
According to Loree W. Connors, CFO of Vitamix and great-granddaughter of Papa Barnard, “Vitamix has enjoyed a long-term relationship with Chuck Zellmer and other members of the McDonald Hopkins team. Over the past 30 years, McDonald Hopkins has been there supporting us through our significant growth journey.”