P'Chelle Posts

Lavazza Coffee Museum in Turin, Italy


Courtesy of the Lavazza Group


Luigi Luvazza was born on April 24, 1859 in the Italian community of Murisengo, 22 miles east of Turin. His parents were peasant farmers, struggling to carve out a living from the mountainous countryside. In 1885 at 26 years of age Luigi, like many a lad from the Piedmont region of Italy, migrated to the big city of Turin in search of opportunity. He worked during the day and attended trade school at night, where he earned a diploma in chemistry.

In 1895 he made an investment that changed his life and the Italian coffee industry forever. With his own savings and a loan from a former employer, Luigi opened a small grocery store in Via San Tommaso, the historic district of Turin. The store specialized in spices, soap, spirits, oil and coffee. It was coffee that captured his imagination and fueled his ambition. He purchased raw coffee beans from a supplier in Genoa and roasted them in the back of his store. He became a “coffee scholar,” studying the origins and characteristics of coffee plants, the art of blending beans from throughout the world and traveling to Brazil to learn from the experts. Lavazza is given credit for inventing the concept of blending from different geographic areas, considered a distinctive marketing feature today. He created the perfect combination, a blend loved by the people and the key to a growing coffee empire.

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Tillamook Makes Something Great, Even Greater

Photo Courtesy of Tillamook Creamery


On a sunny, pleasant day in July, 2012 my wife and I trekked the 300 miles from Kennewick, Washington (our home) to Tillamook, Oregon. The purpose of our journey was to visit one of the most successful Industrial Tourism projects in the Pacific Northwest…..the Tillamook Cheese Factory (now known as the Tillamook Creamery, still owned and operated by the Tillamook County Creamery Association or TCCA). I was working on the Blue Mountain Station project in Dayton, Washington and was eager to learn from the best.

And, learn we did. You might say we earned our MIT (Master of Industrial Tourism) degree that day. You can learn more about the visit and our observations by reading the Blog Post “Where Cheesy is Cool.” As with all successful marketing organizations, the TCCA realizes that change is not only constant, but necessary in surviving the warp speed, always innovating Industrial Tourism industry. On Wednesday, June 20, 2018 the TCCA introduced one of their most impressive and innovative marketing projects…..the newly remodeled Tillamook Creamery Visitor Experience.

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Creating a Start-up Model

Gary A. White, President,
P’Chelle International

The recently completed FABREO Expo 2018 (Pasco, WA) was a fascinating exercise in creating a start-up model for specialty food and beverage companies in the Pacific Northwest. Most start-up companies follow a fairly well-defined path:


They start with a brilliant (at least in their minds) product idea. They begin experimenting and developing a product in their home kitchen, until that brilliant idea becomes a “this is it, I’ve got it!” moment. Then comes the “Guinea Pig Step” where relatives, friends, neighbors and unsuspecting pedestrians taste the product and either spit it out in disgust, breaking the heart of the budding entrepreneur, or “ooh and aah” them into the realm of business empire hope.


With successful consumer testing complete, they manufacture their newly developed product in a certified commercial kitchen, such as the Pasco Specialty Kitchen or the Red Mountain Kitchen (Kennewick, WA), where they learn the many ins-and-outs of food and beverage manufacturing and packaging.

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The Little Ice Cream Company That Could

Courtesy of Blue Bell Advertising Associates

It was the summer of 1907 when members of the Brenham, Texas investment community wiped the sweat off their brows and stroked their chins, as smart and wealthy investors do, and determined they had the ingredients for a new industry. Local
German, Polish and Czech farmers had herds of overly productive dairy cows, producing  a surplus of cream. With an investment of $2,200 ($55,766 in 2018 U.S. dollars) the Brenham Creamery Company was born, churning excess cream into Clover Leaf Butter.

Significant milestones were accomplished that proved to define the company’s future: the decision in 1911 to manufacture ice cream, development of a symbiotic relationship with the Agricultural and Mechanical College of Texas, today known as Texas A & M University, and hiring their first commissioned outside salesman. Significant? Yes. Profitable? Not enough for the money men who were considering shutting the business down. After 12 years and three managers their entrepreneurial zeal had turned sour. But, dreams die hard. Maybe hiring one last manager was the answer. They knew who that one last manager should be. April 1, 1919 was significant, not for honoring fools and their silly pranks, but for making the most important hire in company history!

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Born in the Bayou

Gary A. White, President,
P’Chelle International

It was 1865, the Civil War just ended, Reconstruction (reconstructing very little) just beginning when 50 year-old Edmund McIlhenny, destitute, but not quite defeated, saw his future.

Among the weeds and debris of the once prosperous plantation on Avery Island (140 miles west of New Orleans), just outside New Iberia, one of the most successful in antebellum Louisiana, a precious handful of pepper plants were defiantly challenging the fate of a defeated Confederacy. These deep green plants were full of life, but more important, their vibrant blood-red, perfectly shaped fruit was full of hope! Surely, this was a sign beyond normal circumstances.

Much about Edmund McIlhenny is a tapestry of interwoven legend and truth. The challenge is determining which is which. For this story, I will concentrate on that which I find most interesting and let the reader sort it out. As the story goes, McIlhenny, in the early months of the Civil War, met Friend Gleason, a Confederate soldier just returned from the Tabasco region of México¹ with a gift of Mexican hot peppers. Why Mr. Gleason wasn’t returning from the battlefields of this most unfortunate conflict, is most likely the subject of another story or, at least, an unpleasant discovery while painstakingly creating the Family Tree.

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