December 1, 2011
ONE FORGETS HOW YOUNG THE WEB IS:America's oldest flour company finds success on the web (PJ Hamel, 12/01/2011, Official Google Blog)
This is the story of a small, regional company that sells... flour. Yes, flour. It's the story of how King Arthur Flour, a centuries-old company, used the web to grow into an international business, devoted to spreading the pure joy of baking throughout the world. Thanks to the web, it's a story that will stretch far into the future.Posted by Orrin Judd at December 1, 2011 8:22 PM
Now America's oldest flour company, King Arthur Flour began in 1790. George Washington had just become the United States' first President. Despite the recent Revolution, Americans missed their English flour. So Henry Wood, a Boston entrepreneur, began to import flour from England. (Import from England--our arch-enemy? Even then, King Arthur Flour wasn't afraid to make a bold move.)
Over the next two centuries King Arthur grew, in its own small way. The business gradually moved beyond the Boston area, and sold its flour throughout all of New England (we also moved our HQ to Vermont). In 1990, King Arthur launched The Baker's Catalogue, a mail-order catalogue selling flour, tools and baking ingredients. Over the next five years, the catalogue helped introduce King Arthur Flour to markets outside of New England.
By 1996, King Arthur Flour was selling like hotcakes, with flour in supermarkets across the U.S. The World Wide Web was also growing in reach. That's when we decided to make another bold move: taking our business online. We could see the power of the web--how it would enable us to reach customers and markets a small company like ours would never have had access to in the past.
King Arthur's first site, in retrospect, was crudely designed and very, very basic.