FAIRFIELD At the Fairfield headquarters of the tea company that buy canada goose jacket bears her family’s name, Cindi Bigelow’s presence never goes unnoticed.
Constantly in motion, with enough energy to power the factory single handedly, every employee is keenly aware of her entry into a room. As an canada goose outlet active canada goose black friday sale participant in company operations since age 16, she knows the tea making process better than anyone.
As the Bigelow Tea Co. celebrates its 70th year in operation, it https://www.rheingoenheim-info.de is in many ways an anomaly a factory in a state that manufacturers have fled; a canada goose outlet uk family run company in competition with international conglomerates; led by a woman when only about 5 canada goose outlet store uk percent of companies nationwide have female CEOs.
Bigelow, who represents the third generation in her family to run Canada Goose Parka the business, canada canada goose coats on sale goose outlet new york city said it’s the personal touch that keeps the company successful.
“We are tea people,” she said, drawing a contrast with competitors including Lipton, a brand belonging to multinational giant Unilever; Twinings, owned by Associated British Foods; and Celestial Seasonings, part of the publicly traded Hain Celestial Group.
“We are artists still left in the tea industry, and we stick to what we know is the best tea in the world,” she said.
Her education has been lifelong, her family providing tutelage in the industry’s workings from a young age.
“It’s how I grew up,” canada goose outlet she said, describing how her parents would come home from work with teas for tasting. grew from less than $2 billion in buy canada goose jacket cheap 1990 to more than $10 billion today.
Bigelow, despite sending 1.7 billion tea bags onto the market annually, makes up a small portion of those totals, with about $150 million in annual sales, according to a company news release.
But it claims 24 percent market share in the specialty teas category, making it the industry leader. And the push to widen the variety of available specialties is key to the company’s success.
The company today blends more than 130 varieties of flavored, traditional, green, organic, herbal, decaffeinated and iced teas, including the variety first concocted by Ruth Campbell Bigelow in 1945 that became its signature brand, Constant Comment. Specialists brew and taste new varieties daily in an on site laboratory.
“We come up with canada goose outlet canada new flavor combinations,” said Nicole Whitney, a research and development associate in the lab. Her background includes a degree in neurobiology from the University of Connecticut, which she said comes in handy when working on new canada goose outlet uk sale flavors.
The newest offerings are a partnership with Girl Scouts for cookie flavored tea, with Thin Mints as the headliner. There’s also one flavored like Samoas, though the tea is not allowed to use the name, calling it instead a more generic Caramel Coconut.
The company is also moving more heavily into iced tea, which accounts for the vast majority of tea consumed in this country. The American Breakfast line features extra caffeine, and a line of water enhancers provide tea flavor anyplace there’s a tap all of it all via natural flavors, canada goose outlet parka Whitney said.
Once a recipe is set, it can become part of the in house blending process, in which tea leaves, herbs and other ingredients combine to produce 40,000 pounds of tea a day.
In the five floor manufacturing wing of the Fairfield headquarters, tea and ingredients make their way down from the top story in a computerized system where ingredients are mixed and gravity does the heavy lifting.
Only a handful of people have access canada goose outlet jackets to the recipes, which are stored on Canada Goose sale a computer not connected to the outside world. One of them is Al Pangrac Jr., blending operations manager, who said there are millions of pounds of finished product on the premises at any given time.
The smell of tea and herbs permeates the facility, the aroma of mint overpowering in the room canada goose outlet store set aside for that sinus clearing additive. “It’s like a big cough drop,” Pangrac said.
After the ingredients pass through various hoppers and mixers, the packaging process begins, with 10 machines operating 20 hours a day, churning out about 100 tea bags a minute.
The process is overseen by a workforce whose members average about 20 years on the job, said Ed Hill, maintenance and facilities manager. “It’s hard to meet customer demand,” he said.
Bigelow, which is privately held, employs 350 people in Fairfield; Canada Goose online Boise, Idaho; and Louisville, Ky; as well as its Charleston Tea Plantation in South Carolina.
Though company leadership runs in the family, Cindi Bigelow recognizes she has had to prove herself from the beginning to employees, to show she wasn’t simply handed the job; and to her father, from whom she took over the company 10 years ago.
“It was, at times, a hard transition,” she said, and though she continues canada goose to rely on her parents canada goose outlet reviews when needed, she makes clear that canada goose factory outlet the company’s cheap canada goose uk decisions rest with her alone.
“My father and I have always had our eyes on the mission,” she said.
Despite Connecticut’s reputation as a state unfriendly for business, Bigelow, who lives in Fairfield, said there has never been a thought of leaving. “I love the state of Connecticut,” she said. “I recognize that we have issues, we have high costs, but we have the best people, the best schools, the best quality of life. I am a passionate Connecticut person.”
As to whether the company will one day see a fourth generation of Bigelow family operation, the CEO said it will be up to her children when the time comes. “It has to be for the right reasons,” she said.