A few years ago we reported on Regal Ware’s self exile of the American Kitchen cookware lines from the retail environment.
Regal Ware has a habit of moving in and out of the retail sales world. For instance, after selling its retail cookware business to the Mirro Co. in 1999, to focus on its direct sales efforts, Regal Ware re-entered the retail side of the cookware business in 2007 with tri-ply 18/10 stainless steel cookware with an aluminum core, designed in conjunction with Chef Marcel Biro. Later that same year, the company rolled out tri-ply stainless steel cookware with Chef Marcus Samuelsson serving as a spokesperson.
In 2009, the U.S. cookware manufacturer launched American Kitchen branded stainless steel bakeware, and in 2010, on the strength of its domestic manufacturing capabilities, the company rebranded its stainless steel tri-ply cookware to American Kitchen. As previously mentioned, in 2012, they again exited the retail market.
My observation back in 2012 was that their heart never really seemed into the retail effort. I didn’t then, nor do I now know anything for certain, but what I can say is that the Regal Ware staff seemed less than enthusiastic in their dealings with retail buyers at trade shows.
So now after a nearly five year hiatus from the brick-and-mortar cookware segment of the housewares industry, Regal Ware is bringing its American Kitchen line back to the market. The U.S. brand had a good showing at the Dallas Market Center’s Dallas Total Home & Gift Market in January and now the company is pushing forward into the independent gourmet channel.
“We are very excited about being back with the independent and boutique gourmet retailers,” said Cheri Novak, sales manager/consumer products at Regal Ware. “We are partnering with retailers who not only tell the story of our cookware, but help bring it to life as a true lifestyle brand.”
According a story reported in Home World Business, Pat Seitz, director of marketing for Regal Ware, explained that the American Kitchen line is made in small batches in the company’s U.S.-based manufacturing facility in West Bend, WI, a selling point when placed in the hands of the right outlet.
“We are creating cookware that is handcrafted and we pay attention to detail. We need to partner with those that can explain our features and benefits. We see this as a niche and we are seeking to fill it with the quality of products and attractive pricepoints,” she said.
As part of that article, Seitz added, the relationship with its partners is designed to be a two-way street. She said that the company wants to keep the lines of communication open with its retail partners while building up a lifestyle cookware brand.
“We want to become part of the home cooking experience,” added Ben Hulet, American Kitchen brand and communications manager. “We are creating a robust, interactive experience and we want our customers to connect with us on that level. We want to build a community. We aren’t just looking to bring great cookware to the market, but we are also looking to make it an engaging experience,” he said.
As for products, American Kitchen currently has several basic pieces available — including fry pans, sauté pans and casserole pans — in stainless steel, non-stick and cast aluminum materials. However, noted Novak, there are several new products on the way, including a 1-quart offering and a new wok-style product, which should hit the market toward the end of the year.
Ben Hulet added, no matter how many products are added to diversify the brand portfolio, the manufacturing process and focus on creating quality cookware will continue to set them apart in the marketplace.
“We are running this cookware in small batches,” he said. “Everything that comes out of the factory is designed to be a legacy piece and we want all of our final products to be something that is heirloom quality. We will continue to keep the batches small and stay focused on the quality,” he added.
Regal Ware has over 100 years of manufacturing history in America; whose product quality is equal to or better than that of many more famous culinary brands and available at very affordable prices. This return to retail for American Kitchen product line is good for home cooks.
I look forward to chatting with old friends from Regal Ware at the International Home + Housewares Show this coming month.