While I do love solo travel, sometimes it’s best to take the family out for adventure too!
In this case, my family took me out to the KitchenAid Factory here in Greenville, Ohio.
I’m coming clean – I’ve never been a fan of living in Ohio. I don’t feel that I fit in here. I’m the black sheep with hot pink dreadlocks. The liberal views, the hippi-ness of me, my love of the F-word…it’s just not what everyone around here is used to. I grew up here, and I’ve always struggled to find “my people”. More-so, I’ve struggled to find activities I enjoy doing while living in Ohio.
Not that I don’t love drag racing and tractor pulls! I even enjoy the occasional piglet race when the piggies are cute enough (have you ever watched baby pigs race?). I’m just more of a costume-contest/weird-food/hooka-smoking/obscure-board-game/diverse-friends type person inside these cowgirl boots.
When I made the decision to stay in Ohio after my return from Asia, I was scared. Would I be able to find worthy adventures to keep the blog going? I’d never liked living there before, why would I like it now?
As it turns out, I think it was a me problem. Ohio has a lot of cool things to do (once I do them all though, I’m screwed, its over)! I think it just took me being old enough to appreciate them as being fun. So far we’ve had a corn festival, comic and toy show, and today: A tour of the KitchenAid Factory. Tours are offered throughout the week at 12:30 – for free!
The Birth of KitchenAid
Back in 1919, in the hometown of Annie Oakley, the owner of the Hobart Corporation built 10 kitchen stand mixers on a daily basis. A team of sales women would lug these 60 lb beasts door-to-door to sell them. The praise began to come in like a tidal wave!
“What are these things called?”
“We, uh, don’t have a name for them yet..”
“Well, we don’t care what you call them, but they’re the best Kitchen Aids we’ve ever had!”
TADA! The KitchenAid brand was born!
Now, in 2016, KitchenAid is hoping to produce 3 million mixers this year alone! In 1999 they produced one million. In 2012, they produced 2 million (these are per year figures). Both commemorative mixers were available to see and touch at the KitchenAid Factory. I love it when we can touch things!
After our brief intro of the history of KitchenAid and where they stand today, we entered the factory portion. The tour was over an hour! Shown everything from painting, to casting, to polishing and repair procedures, it was extremely informative. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to take pictures while we were in the manufacturing area, but let me tell you that it was big, loud, colorful and insightful!
Here’s a few of my favorite fun facts:
- KitchenAid recycles as much as possible. Metal shavings, paper, plastic bottles – everything they can!
- This factory alone produces 10,000 KitchenAid stand mixers per day.
- During World War II, the machine that produces the pinion gears (little gears inside big gears) was adapted to produce hull casings for bullets. After the war, it was reverted back to creating pinions.
- Stand mixers are put through a harsh testing process, with samples from each batch being run for a total of 540 hours over the course of 45 days. This “simulated wear and tear” process is meant to mimic 15 years of use in a household environment.
- Much of the work is handled by robots. They’re going to take us over, man!
- Each stand mixer has over 85 parts.
- The plant employs 2,000 people. 1,200 full time workers, with 600 at part part time. It really seemed like a great place to work – a free onsite gym, counseling, flu shots, a nurse, a “stress free” zone. If I lived closer I would totally apply here!
During the tour we passed the same station on the [assembly] line where my tour guide, Becky, worked at when she started at KitchenAid 16 years ago. I asked her what she enjoyed most about that position. Smiling, she told me that she loved that it was a fast paced position. Each position on the line has a quota it has to meet. At that station, it was 90 parts completed per hour. At some of the stations, that quota reached 130 per hour. Myself, I prefer to be busy rather than bored but those are some big numbers....per hour!
Leaving the tour, I felt great. What a cool experience! Continuing the KitchenAid theme, my family and I went into the small town of Greenville to visit the “KitchenAid Experience” shop.
Inside this shop is everything you can imagine – all produced locally at the KitchenAid Factory. Stand mixers in every color, blenders, grain mills, juicers and – my personal favorite- a brown sugar pillow. How hilariously cute!
Beneath the KitchenAid Experience store is a small museum. The evolution of the mixers with various attachments over the years is fascinating. Some of the earlier versions were a bit scary looking! I’m much happier with my sleek, sexy mixer that I have now.
Stomachs growling, we go next door to the Montage Cafe, the highest rated place in town. Greenville is so quaint. It made me feel like I’d stepped back into the 20s. The Montage Cafe was just as cute as everything else. Offering senior specials at $5.25 this was perfect for my parents, and for my pretzel-bun craving I suddenly developed after looking at the menu. My Twisted Ham sandwich was perfect!
You know how, after eating something savory, you want something sweet? Or is that just me? Just me? Oh, well….moving on. It might be my genetics because we were all in the mood for a sweet treat – and we knew where to find it.
Not far out of Greenville are several bulk-style shops run by the admirable Amish. In front of us were bins of sweet treats accompanied by garden fresh produce next to a giant wall of herbs.
Spending both more time and money than intended, we finally managed to make our escape from the pit-of-temptation. Breaking free from the depths of Amish goodness, there was one more stop we had to make.
Before I tell this story, you have to know my family is easy to please. We’re low maintenance and we take simple pleasures. Ask any of my friends – I get a kick out of the tiny things, I have no need for grandiose.
Pulling into Esther Price candy, I know the drill. We’re here for the chocolate samples! That’s right, if we’re in the area, we’ll go a little out of the way to stop into Esther Price and pick of some of the free samples they have out. Dude, they’re begging for it- seriously, there are so many samples.
Just like piglet races, this is not an uncommon hobby in Ohio. You can’t be picky about having fun here – take it where you can! If you’re in the Midwest, you should check this out for yourself. Manufactured in Dayton, Esther Price was voted the best chocolates in Ohio, and they deserve the title.
I’ve said before that adventure is less about what you do, but rather, the attitude with which you do it. Visiting Amish-run shops is fun and novel. Going to Esther Price to eat chocolate samples is so simple. Yet, also exhilarating, hilarious and quirky. Don’t worry – we’re not just ripping off Esther (I’m sure she has it sooooo rough), we do follow up with the samples, purchasing some of our favorites.
Tummies slightly sick from too much sugar, a wonderful day is wrapping up. The fields of golden, glistening corn guide us home. Collapsing with a cat on every lap, it’s been one big, adventurous day.