Goodman Manufacturing Company, Inc., founded in 1927, earned a trusted reputation among regional families who used its vanilla flavoring in homemade foods from the heartland. In 2003, third-generation owners Robert and Connie Goodman sold the company to Mike and Michelle Kimrey, who honor the company’s legacy while helping the decades-old company grow.
Over 17 years the Kimreys have worked to increase distribution for the company’s original vanilla formula—a blend of pure vanilla extract and imitation flavoring—plus a variety of other extracts, flavorings and food colorings. Extracts and flavorings aren’t just for baking, Michelle Kimrey says. “These days, lots of people use extracts in beverages, hot tea, coffee, smoothies, protein drinks. Extracts add a really great flavor kick to all kinds of things.”
Mike Kimrey knew the Goodman family long before buying their Carthage-based business. For 13 years, he’d worked for a company that marketed ingredients to area food businesses. That included Goodman’s, owned then by Earl Goodman and his son Robert.
The company was founded by Earl’s father, John William Goodman—known as J.W.—who bought a double-strength formula for vanilla flavoring in 1909. After moving his family to Carthage, he established Goodman Manufacturing Co. in 1927. Eventually, the company was passed down to his grandson, Robert. When Robert’s father passed away, he was ready to sell Goodman’s and retire. About the same time, Mike was ready to own a business and, with Michelle, had been researching franchises and small local companies. “We knew and loved the products; it was an old company with a strong history and solid profit margin; it could be run with a small workforce; and Mike had some experience both in retail and sales and was familiar with the ingredients,” Michelle says. Plus: “We trusted the current owners, Robert and Connie Goodman.” The company is now based in Marshfield, where they were raising their children.