Driving Our Economy Forward: Lodge Cast Iron
SOUTH PITTSBURG, Tenn. (WDEF) — Lodge Cast Iron has called South Pittsburg home for more than a century, and a new museum has all of that history on display for the public to see.
They also play a big role in the city’s annual Cornbread Festival each year, and many folks have at least one item from Lodge in their kitchen.
Lodge talked to News 12 about how they’re driving our economy forward.
“Lodge makes high quality heirloom cast iron cookware right here in South Pittsburg, Tennessee. We’ve been doing that since 1896 that’s over 126 years. We have about 550 employees in total across the company and about 95 percent of those people really live within about a 30-mile radius of South Pittsburg,” said Amanda Groves, VP of people and culture.
Groves says Lodge employees are very passionate about their products.
“I think the biggest thing is that our employees are incredibly passionate about the products that they make and knowing that it’s this high quality piece of cookware that’s going to be in someone’s home. It’s going to last a lifetime and bring people together. Our biggest challenge sometimes is just location. Because the population size within a 30-mile radius, right it’s not it’s not as big as in Chattanooga for example. And there’s also some other competition from a manufacturing perspective here in this area. So we really lean into our company cultures being a differentiator in this area.”
Lodge also works with local schools like Chattanooga State Community College.
“We’re really fortunate that Chattanooga State has their Kimball campus just right down the road,” Groves said. We’ve got some relationships with educators and the business liaison there and they do a wonderful job. Not only of understanding what the current workforce needs are, but also anticipating what those future needs are. And that’s one of the reasons why we’re so excited to open the Lodge Museum of Cast Iron because we get to share our unique story. And as people come and visit not only do they get to understand the rich history of Lodge, but they also will get to see kind of insights into how does our foundry operate; what that looks like. And then they’ll also be able to hear and see stories about how cast iron cooking has brought people together for years and years and years. The Cornbread Festival has been here in South Pittsburg for 25 years. Obviously we want to get the word out there about Lodge cast iron cookware, but also educating people. And helping them to be more confident and comfortable cooking in cast iron. It’s not just about cooking in the kitchen, but it’s about looking outside. Because people love to use cast iron cookware when they’re camping. They like to use it on their grill. And so you see all these different applications, and everything that you can do with such a versatile cookware product. And really just the story about how it brings people together.”