St. Cousair's history begins in 1975 in the mountains of northern Nagano, Japan, where Tokyo native Ryozo Kuze began operating a ski lodge with his wife Mayumi. Though moderately successful, operating the lodge was physically exhausting, and Ryozo and Mayumi soon decided to pursue a different path. Around this time, Mayumi often made homemade apple jam as a gift to their guests, using locally-grown apples and her own home-made recipe. Her jam became so popular that Ryozo decided to close the ski lodge for good and they devoted their efforts to producing varieties of jams from locally sourced fruit. With a growing reputation for creating delicious, wholesome, country style comfort food, Ryozo's business was soon creating and marketing thousands of types of food and beverages to customers near and far, and Ryozo began to dream of providing delicious, wholesome food to people all over the world.
Ryozo Kuze opens a ski lodge in the mountains of northern Nagano. Two days later, his wife-to-be, Mayumi stays as a guest at the lodge. Within a year, the two are married. Ryozo and Mayumi operate the ski lodge together with moderate success.
Ryozo and Mayumi begin small-scale production of jams, made by Mayumi in the kitchen of their ski lodge. Ryozo would often spend days driving around in his pickup truck selling jam to hotels, lodges and food markets all over the region.
Ryozo closes and sells the ski lodge. One year later, he establishes a new food production company named Madarao Kogen Farm, named after the mountain region where the jam business originated. He continues to grow his business, creating new varieties of jams.
Ryozo's company begins construction of its own jam and sauce production facility in the village of Samizu, not far from the ski lodge where it all started. The company begins production of jams and sauces at the new facility.
Ryozo begins growing grapes on vineyards adjacent to the jam and sauce production facility with plans to start a winery there. He opens a restaurant on the hilltop overlooking one of the vineyards. He names it the St. Cousair Restaurant, marketing it as a place where diners can enjoy European-style country food in a relaxed setting with a beautiful view.
Ryozo opens a winery and retail store between the jam and sauce facility and the restaurant and vineyards. The winery begins producing and selling wines made from grapes grown on Ryozo's vineyards and the vineyards of area farmers. The winery soon becomes a tourist attraction. The company begins to increase its product selection to include black and white sesame spreads.
Ryozo's company produces a set of five limited edition jams as an official licensed product of the 1998 Nagano Winter Olympics. The jam sets are a big seller among visitors to Nagano.
The company opens its second retail store in Karuizawa, a summer mountain resort area popular with Tokyo residents and people from other large cities. The store is named St. Cousair Winery and features wines, jams, sauces, and dressings made at the company's winery and food production facility. In the years following, the company would continue to open new retail stores in various locations.
Ryozo and Mayumi's younger son, Naoki, joins the company. Product varieties continue to grow, and the company opens more and more retails shops as the St. Cousair brand grows in popularity. Varieties of the company's All Fruit jams win top prizes at World Monde Selection.
The company's name is changed to St. Cousair Co., Ltd. and now boasts 22 retail stores in various prefectures of Japan. Ryozo and Mayumi's older son, Ryota, joins the company.
The Company now has nearly 70 retail stores located all over Japan, and is developing over a thousand varieties of western-style foods and beverages, all sold under the St. Cousair brand. The Company launches Kuze Fuku & Co., a new specialty brand of traditional and regional Japanese food.
The Company acquires a food and beverage processing facility in Newberg, Oregon. Later named St. Cousair, Inc., the facility, headed by Naoki Kuze, begins producing jams, sauces, and other foods for US customers, as well as for export to Japan, using the rich, flavorful produce of Oregon's Willamette Valley.
Ryota Kuze becomes the new President of St. Cousair in Japan, while St. Cousair in Oregon launches a new brand Kuze Fuku & Sons, featuring a hybrid of western and Japanese delicacies for enjoyment in restaurants and at the family dining table. Retail sales begin online and at supermarkets on the West Coast of the US.
The company that started with a single jar of apple jam in the mountains of Nagano, Japan, has now grown to become an international company, with over 150 St. Cousair and Kuze Fuku & Co. retail stores in Japan, thousands of carefully and innovatively developed products, and over 800 employees. Now under the leadership of Ryozo and Mayumi's sons, Ryota and Naoki, the four decade long family dream of providing wholesome and delicious food to people around the world goes on.
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