The easily recognizable little blue and white box of JIFFY Corn Muffin Mix has been on grocery store shelves since 1930, manufactured by the Chelsea Milling Company of Chelsea, Michigan. A family owned and operated business that began in 1901 as a traditional flour mill selling only to commercial businesses. Chelsea Milling Company now produces 19 variations of baking mixes (as of 2015) distributed worldwide.
JIFFY Mix - More Than Just Corn
Chelsea Milling Company, manufacturer of JIFFY Corn Muffin Mix and so much more than just corn...
How It Started
It started in 1930 when the then-owner Mabel White Holmes created a baking mix designed for sale to consumers. It was the first prepared baking mix in the United States as an easy way to make biscuits, she named it JIFFY and marketed their new innovative product with the slogan:
"So Easy Even a Man Could Do It"
sorry gentlemen, don't kill the messenger
As of 2015 the company is operated and managed by Mrs. Holmes grandson Howdy Holmes, a former Indianapolis 500 race car driver. He has been the company CEO since 1995 and employs about 300 workers. The company produces 1.6 million boxes of mixes every day. The corn muffin mix accounts for 91% of retail sales. During the company's busy season, September thru January, they produce 180 million boxes of JIFFY mix.
JIFFY products are produced and processed in-house, including storing the grain then grinding it into flour, mixing the product and packaging. Equipment repair is also done on site and performed by company personnel. Most of the ingredients are sourced from local suppliers such as wheat and sugar coming from Michigan and some sugar and shortening from Illinois and Indiana.
Keeping the Employees Happy
In 2008 the company began planning a revitalizing project with the main objective to acquire new equipment requiring fewer employees to operate. This decision was based on company projections that most of the company's employees would be retiring by 2018. In 2015, 173 employees retired. With the new equipment it was not necessary to replace the retirees. None of the employees were let go by the company.
The company does not advertise their product in any way, spending no money on advertising. Howdy Holmes stated the money not spent on advertising is passed on to their employees salaries and the ability to keep the retail price of the product low. The employees earn more than the industry standard and enjoy better benefits. Holmes has also rejected all attempts for a takeover or buyout from big corporations. He wants to keep it in the family.
If you're ever in Chelsea, Michigan, the JIFFY company offers free tours of its facilities.
Cornbread in Cast Iron Skillet
I used JIFFY mix to make this red and green bell pepper upside down cornbread. First I sauteed the peppers in the skillet, then prepared the batter in a bowl according to the package directions, poured it directly on top of the peppers, and baked for the time indicated on the box. So easy!