Successful Companies that Started in Massachusetts


Many successful businesses got their start in Massachusetts. Some of these companies offer tours of their facilities or have kept their flagship location open after all these years.  I’ve crafted a list of the most interesting national (or in some instances global) companies that started in Massachusetts that still have a hometown presence. Let’s see who made the cut.

Parameters for Who Makes the Cut:

With literally hundreds of successful businesses that originated in Massachusetts, I had to use some filters to boil this list down. The following parameters were used to create this list:

  1. The company must have originated in Massachusetts
  2. The company must have stores located outside of the Northeast
  3. In the case of factories, stores outside of the Northeast must carry their products
  4. Tours of their manufacturing plant must be offered or their flagship store must still be in operation

Companies that Started in Massachusetts:

Au Bon Pain

In 1978, Louis Kane had an idea while strolling the markets at Faneuil Hall. The aroma of fresh baked, French pastries gave him the inspiration to make these Parisian delicacies easily available to everyone. So came the idea of Au Bon Pain. Today, the bakery chain has stores in most of the USA as well as South Korea, Thailand and Taiwan.

The entrance to the Au Bon Pain at Legacy Place

Au Bon Pain is a worldwide chain. This photo was taken during our visit to the Au Bon Pain in Dedham, MA.

The flagship shop is located at 1100 Massachusetts Avenue in Cambridge, MA and is still in operation today. It has become a cornerstone of life in Harvard Square.

Cape Cod Potato Chips

Starting as a dream of two Cape Cod locals looking to sell their kitchen-made potato chips, Cape Cod Potato Chips has become a nationally recognized brand. Their famous logo includes a picture of the Nauset Light – a famous Cape Cod landmark.

The Nauset Light is the symbol for Cape Cod Potato Chips

The symbol for Cape Cod Potato Chips features this prominent lighthouse – Nauset Light in Eastham, MA. by C.S. Imming

Their potato chip factory is open for free, self-guided tours from Monday through Friday 9 AM – 5 PM. It is located at 100 Breed’s Hill Road in Hyannis. They even offer a virtual tour on their website if you can’t make it to the Cape.


Dunkin’ Donuts

Dunkin’ Donuts has taken the world by storm since its inception in 1948. It was originally called “Open Kettle” and changed its name to “Dunkin’ Donuts” 2 years later. Since then it has expanded to over 10,000 stores in over 30 countries!

The sign for the original Dunkin' Donuts in Quincy, Massachusetts.

The original Dunkin’ Donuts sign in Quincy, MA. It first opened in 1950. Photo by Victorgrigas

The original store in Quincy is still in operation. It has been remodeled and looks modern, but inside you can find pictures of how it looked in days past. Find the first ever Dunkin’ Donuts store at 543 Southern Artery, Quincy, MA.

Friendly’s

This ice cream shoppe started in 1935 by two young brothers in Springfield, MA. Renowned for its sundaes and selection of flavors, Friendly’s began to incorporate a dining menu as well. Friendly’s restaurants now stretch up and down the east coast.

Friendly's sign and logo

Friendly’s restaurants stretch up and down the east coast and serve up great food and ice cream. Photo by lcm1863.

Their first restaurant is still open for business and is located next door to the corporate headquarters. Find it at: 1811 Boston Rd, Springfield, MA 01129.

New Balance

A Brighton-based company, New Balance was founded in 1906 by a British ex-pat. With a focus on producing quality athletic footwear and local, fair manufacturing, New Balance shoes can be found for sale all over the world.

New Balance is one of the companies that started in Massachusetts and has grown to a global brand.

What started out as a small company in Boston has spread to a global brand. New Balance shoes can be found across the world.

Tours are available at the New Balance Research Facility and Factory at 5 South Union Street, Lawrence MA 01843. You’ll get a behind-the-scenes view of how the shoes are made and how scientists conduct their athletic research. Contact the corporate office for a tour.

Ocean Spray

Ocean Spray was established in 1930 by three cranberry growers. The person accredited as the leader was the lawyer and grower Marcus Urann. The three began creating a market for cranberries by coming up with different products. Since then, Ocean Spray cooperative has increased to more than 600 farmers all across North America.

Cranberry bog being harvested on Cape Cod

Ocean Spray makes a wide variety of berry juices, but its root is in the cranberry industry. Photo by user -jkb-

Ocean Spray no longer offers tours at its headquarters in Lakeville, but as an alternative offers tours of their main grower’s farm located at 60 Pond St. Carver, MA 02330. Flax Pond Farms in Carver handles tours during the fall season. You can also visit a virtual harvest during the fall season online at www.oceanspray.com.

Sam Adams Boston Beer Company

This Boston based company started in 1984 when Jim Koch, sixth generation brewer, used his family’s brewing recipe and made his first batch of Samuel Adams Boston Lager in his kitchen. In December of 1984, Koch Left his career at Boston Consulting Group and founded Sam Adams Beer company along with fellow Harvard grads Lorenzo Lamadrid and Harry Rubin.

Today Sam Adam’s beer company has become the largest American-owned beer company in the United States with approximately 840 employees.

Samuel Adams Brewhouse, where the company produces this fine brew.

The Samuel Adams brand started as just one man’s secret family recipe. Today you can find the Sam Adams brand in most parts of the world.

Tours are available of the brewery where you’ll learn the history of the company, brewing and Samuel Adams. Of course no tour is complete without a tasting of these fine brews. Tours are offered daily (except Sunday) with a recommended donation of $2. Tours are held at 30 Germania Street, Boston, MA 02130.

Taza Chocolate

Taza Chocolate creates organic, stone ground chocolate inspired by the Mesoamerican methods of chocolate preparation. They use the highest quality ingredients and socially responsible production methods. This attention to quality rocketed Taza Chocolate into the lime light and today Taza Chocolate is sold almost every state in America.

A display of the delicious, organic Taza Chocolate

You can find this local chocolate manufacturer’s delicious products throughout most of the United States.

The factory is located in Somerville and offers group and private tours of the facility. It features lots of chocolate sampling and an in-person view of the traditional stone grinding method popular in Central American culture. Tours must be booked in advanced. Tours are held at 561 Windsor Street, Somerville, MA 02143.

So what are you waiting for? Go out and visit/tour these great companies that started in Massachusetts.

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