Object of the Month

Colombo Yogurt: A Massachusetts Success Story

Colombo Yogurt 8-ounce container Glass

Colombo Yogurt 8-ounce container

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This is an original Colombo & Sons Creamery glass container, which was donated to the Massachusetts Historical Society in 2004 by the Colombosian family.  The Colombosian's business (known as Colombo's Creamery--the name that is visible on the glass container) was based in Andover, Massachusetts, from 1929 until 1971, when it moved to Methuen.

Colombo Yogurt: A Massachusetts Success Story

Seventy-five years ago, in the kitchen of an Andover farmhouse, a notable Massachusetts family business was born. Sarkis Colombosian and Rose Krikorian, both immigrants from Armenia, married and started their family in Lawrence, Massachusetts. They founded Colombo & Sons Creamery in Andover in 1929, which would give many Americans their first introduction to yogurt. The first batches of Colombo yogurt were cooked over a woodstove, using Rose Colombosian's traditional Armenian recipe, and distributed to neighbors and friends. By 1940, word had spread and the Colombosians began distributing their yogurt throughout New England. The business was truly a family affair, with Sarkis and his sons, Bob and John, filling the 8 ounce glass containers by hand and delivering them, first by horse-drawn wagon and, later, by pick-up truck.

Fire damaged the Colombosian's farm in 1939, and they built a new house with larger production facilities on Argilla Road in Andover. Beginning in the 1960s, when the health benefits of yogurt became more widely known, the Colombosian's business grew rapidly. In 1971, the family built a modern factory in Methuen, Mass. Although up-to-date machinery replaced the Colombosian's woodstove, the family tradition behind Colombo yogurt remained, with son Bob serving as president of the company. By 1975, sales had almost doubled, and Colombo was the best-selling plain yogurt in America.

Although General Mills purchased Colombo Yogurt in 1993, its local roots remain strong. Colombo yogurt is still made in the Methuen plant and Bob Colombosian and his wife, Alice, still live in Andover-right next door to the original Colombo & Sons Creamery.