We all know we’ve got a good thing in Massachusetts. We have history, sports, music, top notch education and an ocean at our doorstep. But we also have many long-running successful companies that started here. From Dunkin’ to New Balance, Massachusetts has made a name for itself in retail. Just take a look, here, at 18 of the best and most successful made in Massachusetts products.

Millions of us Bay Staters start our day with a Made in Mass product. We spent plenty of time gaming during the pandemic with another Massachusetts made item. We proudly walk in our own shoes, snack on “home-made” treats and drink from state made liquid refreshment.

The more digging I did, the more companies I found. And those listed here are just a sampling (there are only so many hours in the day). Massachusetts has always been know to be innovative. After all, it all started here when the English came to Plymouth. Massachusetts was a center of the movement for independence. Our history is deep and storied. It makes sense that many products were started here, and companies were born here.

So, dig in and take a look at 18 of the best and most successful made in Massachusetts companies. You will likely be surprised to know some of these iconic products and companies began right here at home. Of course, you will also already have quite a few in your head that are so ubiquitous, everyone knows they began here. (She said while she dipped her munchkin into her large regular). Feel free to let me know in the comments some of your favorites, or companies that should be added to the list.

 

 

  • 1. Cape Cod Potato Chips

    How could Cape Cod potato chips be made anywhere else but Massachusetts. And yes, specifically they are made on Cape Cod, in Hyannis. You can even visit the factory there. According to their website, it all started back on July 4, 1980 when two small business owners “made their dream of making crunchy, delicious, unique quality potato chips a reality. They set up a small storefront in Hyannis, MA where their chips quickly became a local favorite. The business soon grew out of the storefront and a worldwide love affair with our snacks began.” FYI, the company is so big, they are now owned by the Campbell Soup Company. (Since 2018). And fun fact: The lighthouse on the bag is Nauset Light Beach in Eastham.

  • 2. Dunkin

    As the story goes, Dunkin’ Donuts (now just Dunkin’) was born in Quincy, MA when Bill Rosenberg started selling donuts and coffee in a small restaurant. He came up with the idea after seeing the need selling food at construction sites and factories. Donuts and coffee were always the most popular items. So, in 1950 Bill established Dunkin’ Donuts at 543 Southern Artery in Quincy. And the rest is Dunkin’ history! It’s a highly recognized, immensely successful international company. Cheers to Bill. Oh, and that original Dunkin’ is still there!

    Dunkin'

  • 3. Monopoly

    Did you know the hugely popular board game Monopoly was made in Massachusetts? According to the New England Historical Society, the beloved Parker Bros. board game can be traced all the way back to 1883, “when 16-year-old George Parker decided to liven up a dull game called Everlasting.” George switched it up a bit, added lettered cards, new rules and a new name. He called it “Banking.” History has it that George and his brothers loved playing the game so much, they printed a bunch of copies and sold them to Boston area stores. His success led to the creation of Parker Brothers, which was based out of Salem, MA for about a century! They published over 1,800 games there. Monopoly isn’t made in Salem anymore, but they are certainly still in business and obviously keeping up with trends! Check out their latest version.

  • 4. Marshmallow Fluff

    The humble beginnings of Marshmallow Fluff go back to 1917, Somerville, MA and a man named Archibald Query.  Before WWI,  Query had been making fluff in his kitchen and selling it door to door. As explained by marshmallowfluff.com, Archibald had to shut down his business because of wartime shortages. He sold the recipe to the Durkee-Mower company for $500, and they set up shop on Brookline St in East Lynn. They started advertising on radio. There was even a Flufferettes radio show on the Yankee Radio Network! Durkee-Mower still makes Marshmallow Fluff today, and it’s till a family business.

    About | Marshmallow Fluff

    All About Fluff! Learn all about the fascinating History of Marshmallow Fluff! Durkee Mower is committed to making the content of our website accessible and ...

     

  • 5. New Balance Sneakers

    Although there are other sneaker companies based in Mass, New Balance is likely the most successful and currently popular brand. The company actually started as an arch support business. According to Wikipedia, English immigrant, William Riley in 1906 as the New Balance Arch Support Company, based in Boston. They eventually morphed into a athletic shoe company and continue to expand today. They just opened a huge manufacturing facility in Methuen and have future expansions planned in NH and Maine. Their image has gone from Dad shoes to athlete and model shoes.

  • 6. Hood Ice Cream

    If you grew up in Massachusetts, you likely grew up having Hoodsie cups at school, as a special treat or a typical cafeteria dessert offering. You remember the paper cups filled with Hood goodness and eaten with a flat wooden spoon that made the ice cream last longer because it was so hard to eat it? Hood ice cream and milk,  and all Hood Dairy Products are based out of Lynnfield, MA. The company was founded in 1846 in Charlestown by Harvey Perley Hood. Today, they make many dairy products including cheese and other desserts.

  • 7. Yankee Candle

    Ahh, a favorite gift to give, regift and receive. The Yankee candle. You simply can’t have enough of them. I mean, there are so many different scents! I don’t know any home that doesn’t have one (at least stored away).. Yankee Candle is the largest specialty candle brand in the country. .Fun fact, a candle maker is called a master chandler. And most of our beloved Yankee Candles are made by Massachusetts master chandlers. The business started in South Hadley, Mass, but now is headquartered in Deerfield, MA. Btw, the first candle, created by the founder Michael Kittredge was called Christmas 1969. It was “made from melted crayons as a gift for his mother. (Wikipedia)

  • 8. Bully Boy Distillery Products (vodka, gin, rum)

    If you are a fan of fine spirits, do yourself a favor and try Bully Boy. In fact, visit their distillery, do a tour and learn the history. It’s really interesting. They’ve come a long way in a short time. Brothers Will and Dave Willis have been distilling for many years. Their passion began at their grandfather’s farm in the Sherborne, Mass area where they learned to make cider. As they grew up they turned to hard cider. In the basement, behind an old bank vault door, they discovered a collection of pre-prohibition and prohibition era spirts from vodka to rum and “cow whiskey” (as one of the bottles was marked). They also found a picture of a horseshoe with the title “Bully Boy.” And so the company name was born. Today, the brothers work out of their distillery in Roxbury. But, they still use the farm for it’s corn and botanicals.

     

  • 9. Ocean Spray

    What’s the story with the cranberry kings? According to their website, it all started ” in 1930 when three passionate, independent cranberry growers found the key to expanding the superfruit’s success: a single cranberry-growing family! By coming together in one cooperative, Marcus Urann, John Makepeace and Elizabeth Lee worked together to create deliciously innovative products with the fruit they loved. The best part? They continued to grow their cranberry family along the way, which now includes over 700 grower families across North and South America!” Ocean Spray is headquartered in Plymouth, Mass.

  • 10. Necco Candy

    What a long and storied history for this Boston candy company. It was created in 1901 as the New England Confectionary Company. Ahh, that’s why we call it NECCO! Over the years, the company moved to Southie, Cambridge, and Revere. In 2018 they were sold and that company declared bankruptcy. Today, an Amazon facility has taken over the Necco Company space. Necco wafers, Sweethearts Conversation Hearts and Canada Mints are still manufactured by another company, the Spangler Candy Company, but all the other products are no longer being produced.

    Necco Wafers | SpanglerCandy.com

    Originating in 1901, Necco Wafers were acquired from the Necco candy company, and remain a popular wafer candy virtually unchanged over the years.

  • 11. Fig Newtons

    Fig Newtons were invented by Charles Roser and originally baked at the  F. A. Kennedy Steam Bakery in Cambridge, MA for the first time in 1891. But as you probably guessed they are named after the city of Newton. These cookies a Nabisco-trademarked version of a baked pastry filled with sweet fruit paste. According to Wikipedia, up until late in the 19th century, doctors believed most health issues were digestion related and often suggested bread and figs for digestive health. A Newton a day keeps the doctor away? It’s just a cookie, after all.

    NEWTONS | Snackworks

    Baking real fruit into one-of-kind, chewy cookies for over a century.

  • 12. Gorton's Fish products

    Gorton’s was founded  1849 in America’s oldest seaport and the birthplace of the fishing industry in the United States, Gloucester, MA! And they’ve been there ever since. The Gorton’s fisherman made his first appearance in 1975 and has become an icon, and one of the great marketing campaigns.

  • 13. Polar Beverages

    The Polar Beverage Company dates back to 1882 and a Spring water company. The company was purchased by a distiller, Dennis Crowley, to “enhance his own whiskey business, four generations later.” Today, the company continues to be owned and operated by the Crowley family (polarbeverages.com). It’s based out of Worcester and is the largest independent soft-drink bottler in the U.S. Best known for their seltzer, Polar also makes ginger ale, mixers and spring water.

  • 14. Friendly's Ice Cream

    This family favorite company started over 80 years ago in Springfield, MA as a restaurant. Yes, there are still restaurants around today, but not as many as we would all like. Friendly’s Ice Cream is sold in supermarkets all over the country. The company was founded in 1935 by bothers Prestley and Curtis Blake, during the height of the Depression. The Brothers retired in 1979 and sold the company to Hershey’s.  It’s been bought and sold a few times, filed for bankruptcy, and is now in good hands of a restaurant group who plans on keeping the remaining locations. The Ice Cream part of the biz was sold to Dallas-based Dean Foods and continues to manufacture ice cream in Wilbraham, Massachusetts.

  • 15. Stacy's Pita Chips

    Did you know Stacy’s Pita Chips were founded and made in Massachusetts? Me neither. Stacy Madison and Mark Andrus began selling pita bread sandwiches out of their food cart, called Stacy’s D’Lites, in Boston in 1996. They were so popular, the couple would tend to order too many pitas from a local bakery. So they started slicing up the leftovers, seasoned and baked them until they were crunchy. And that’s how Stacy’s Pita Chips were born. The company is based in Randolph, Ma. Stacy and Mark (now divorced) sold  the company in 2006 for $65 million to Pepsi-Co.

  • 16. Welch's Grape Juice

    This juice company got their start in 1869, Grape juice was first referred to as ” “unfermented wine” and was often served during church communion services. Today, Welch’s produces over 400 items and is headquartered in Concord, Mass. Yup, that’s the birthplace of the Concord Grape.

  • 17. Ken's salad dressing

    You’ve seen the bottles on grocery store shelves for many years. You’ve seasoned meats, dressed salads and likely had no idea that Ken’s dressings were made in Marlborough, MA. (they also have plants in Georgia and Las Vegas). The business originally started as an offshoot of the popular Ken’s Steak House in Framingham, MA. Today, the company is still run by the family of it’s founder Ken Hannah. Ken and his wife Florence first opened a small restaurant in Natick on Route 135 across from Lake Cochituate. They called it the Lakeside Cafe. It grew into the steakhouse in Framingham and the salad dressing business, which is now based in Marlborough, MA.

  • 18. Tribe Mediterranean Hummus

    The Tribe Mediterranean company is based in Taunton, MA. They are a a leading manufacturer of hummus and hummus products that are preservative-free. They are known for their high quality and innovative flavors of hummus. The company was started in 1993, in Taunton, MA when most people had no idea what hummus was. In 2008 the company was sold for $57 million to an Israeli subsidiary of Swiss-based Nestlé SA. The company still operates out of Taunton.

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