Family Affair: Rise of the Mittelstand


Vitamix: Smoothie operators
Vitamix: Smoothie operators

Founded: 1921
Based: Olmsted Township, Ohio
Employees: approx. 900

Founded in 1921 by William Grover Barnard, Ohio-based Vitamix is one of the world's leading manufacturers of food blenders. Known to his family as "Papa", Barnard toured the U.S. selling kitchen equipment, before turning his attention to blenders in 1937.

Today, Vitamix exports blenders across the globe, and is still family owned and run: Barnard's great granddaughters Jodi Berg and Loree Connors are CEO and CFO of the company respectively.

"I love being a part of something that took three generations to create," Berg told CNBC. "And I love stewarding that and carrying it onto the future and giving it to the next generation, so that they can take it and do something else with it," she added.