I work for Bedford Industries. Although the company was founded in Worthington nearly 50 years ago, many from Worthington don’t know is that Bedford is the world’s largest manufacturer of twist ties. And those tiny little bag closures know how to travel!
Photo: Two of the original Bedford “B Trucks” carrying twist ties from Worthington across the country.
I do a significant amount of international travel related to my Global Justice work. Whenever I enter a new country, I play a game: “Find a Bedford twist tie.“ I go into grocery stores, bakeries, and convenience stores to scan the aisles for our products. Sometimes it isn’t easy–they are small.
One of the most memorable and unexpected occurrences happened in central Africa in the tiny nation of Rwanda. Standing in line at a coffee shop in Kigali, something caught my eye on the display rack of coffee bags to my right—each one had a Bedford closure. How it got here would be remarkable–Rwanda is landlocked and freight trains don’t go that deep into Africa. That leaves air (unlikely due to cost) or land–weeks of travel over one of the most rugged shipping routes in the world.
I found Bedford twist ties on a (pre-earthquake) visit to Haiti—on several products in the grocery store. I’ve been to a large bakery in Sao Paolo, Brazil, to watch our product go onto bread bags. I once attended a tradeshow in Japan to see our product reach into Asia. I’ve hunted them on the streets of Dubai. I visited a farm in Bermuda to see them applied. And I saw them in a tiny grocery in rural Costa Rica.
It boggles my mind to consider how a product left tiny Worthington to spread around the world. Loaded into trucks in Worthington bound for our coasts, Bedford twist ties boarded boats, traveled over rough oceans, flew on airplanes, and made their way into the Far East or deep in remote Africa.
To add to that, several people from Worthington touched each product. They took the order, schedule it for manufacturing, operated machines, caught and packaged the tie, warehoused it, confirmed its production, and trucked it to a final destination.
I like to think that there’s a bit of us that travels with everything we touch. We can’t see it, but we’re part of it. Every day, Worthington travels to millions of people, across the globe. We can’t see it, but we’re there. And that is amazing.