Next time you succumb to temptation and purchase a box of decadent Godiva chocolates, take heart; your indulgence is supporting a local business. The elegant ribbons that adorn the chocolatier’s signature gold and dark brown boxes are made right here in Greene.
Godiva has been the largest customer of L.A. Najarian Manufacturing for more than 15 years.
The narrow fabric textile manufacturer has a long history as part of the local business community. Founded in 1932 by L.A. Najarian, the mill celebrated its seventy-fifth anniversary last year.
The business has, of course, changed a great deal over the years. Gone are the days when traveling sales staff showed samples of that year’s line of fabric ribbons. They continue their weaving tradition, but no longer stock finished ribbon. Now, the company thrives on custom orders, like that of Godiva.
It is still a family-owned and operated venture. Dick Najarian, whose father founded the mill, relinquished the reins to his son-in-law Mitch Anderson a few years ago. Dick remains involved to a certain extent, but Mitch, his wife Christine and their 10 employees handle the daily operation of the business.
The factory was probably best know for its factory store, The Ribbon Mill, which closed in 2000. The first time I walked into that store, I was probably 16 years old. As part of the Homecoming Committee, I was on a mission to secure the supplies necessary to craft sashes for annual event.