Food company ready to show off Randall's Ordinary property
North Stonington — An Italian natural-foods company has transformed the 28-acre former Randall's Ordinary property on Norwich-Westerly Road into its new worldwide headquarters.
Euro-USA Trading Co. Inc. announced Wednesday that it will hold a grand opening at the historic John Randall Homestead from 2 to 5 p.m. Nov. 3 at an invitation-only event. It was a site that for years was home to the popular Randall's Ordinary Inn and Restaurant, which the Mashantucket Pequot Tribe bought for $1.4 million, ran for a number of years and closed a decade ago, finally selling the property last year for $700,000.
In business for two decades and formerly headquartered in Franklin, Euro-USA Trading makes two organic food brands — Jovial and Bionaturae — at its manufacturing facilities in Italy. The North Stonington property will be used for research and development, marketing and shipping, the company said in a press release.
The company announced its intention to move to the North Stonington site last year, and has since completed a 28,000-square-foot warehouse and office building on the property. The warehouse is the sole U.S. distribution center for Euro-USA Trading.
"Careful thought was given to maintaining the historical feel of the property," according to the release, "and the traditionally built timber frame office serves as a buffer between the historic building and the warehouse."
The company's founder and president, New London native Carla Bartolucci, plans to next tackle the renovation of the property's inn and 1685 John Randall House, expecting to host cooking classes and culinary getaways, among other events. The house, on the National Register of Historic Places, has been linked to the Underground Railroad that helped usher slaves to freedom during the 19th century.
Bionaturae has become one of Italy’s top organic food lines, and Jovial Foods has expanded the company's offerings by focusing on people with gluten intolerance and food allergies.
According to the Jovial Foods website, the company has helped people with wheat allergies by introducing "a nearly extinct ancient grain called einkorn" into its products. This grain is better tolerated than wheat partly because it has never been hybridized, the site said.
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Why it would do such a thing is a question whose answer lies at least partly in the company's culture and organizational structure.