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Viking Range Corporation

Fred Carl, Jr., a fourth generation building contractor and founder of Viking, never expected to transform the hometown he loved into a world-class tourism destination. Viking Range Corporation has been a driving force for putting the city of Greenwood, Mississippi on the worldwide map. Since its inception in 1984, Viking has grown from a part-time dream to a multi-million dollar corporation known around the world. Viking encompasses products to completely outfit any kitchen, residential or commercial.

Carl recognized the need for a new type of range in the 1970s, and his idea for a hybrid range combining the performance of professional restaurant ranges with the safety and convenience features of conventional ranges was the first of its kind. While designing and building a new home, his wife wanted a heavy-duty range with the design and feel of a discontinued Chambers brand range her mother had once owned. Commercial ranges offered more hazards and problems than satisfaction; so, in 1980, as a side job, Carl began developing the first heavy-duty consumer range.

Carl’s design was turned down by virtually every major restaurant range manufacturer in the industry; he finally persuaded a small southern California company to assist in engineering and manufacturing the first Viking Range. Production began three years later in 1987, but the popularity of the range quickly overwhelmed the California manufacturer and production was moved to eastern Tennessee and ultimately to Greenwood. By 1990, Viking assumed full responsibility for the in-house manufacturing of its entire product line.

In 1992, Viking received a major investment from Stephens, Inc., an investment banking firm out of Arkansas, which allowed Viking to expand. Carl’s previously cramped Viking office now encompasses most of the Cotton Row District of downtown Greenwood; the original 32,000-square-foot manufacturing facility has now become more than seven buildings covering over 600,000 square feet. Employment has grown along with it, starting with only 75 workers to now employing over 1,100. Viking distributes appliances to all 50 states, Canada, and Central/South America through domestic and export distributors and also serves 50 foreign distributors through its Viking-Europe headquarters in Strasbourg, France and Viking-Asia headquarters in Bangkok, Thailand. The Viking distributor network is considered one of the strongest in the major appliance industry.

In addition to its ranges, ventilation hoods, built-in ranges and cook tops, built-in ovens, warming drawers, dishwashers, trash compactors, waste disposers, refrigerators, freezers, wine cellars, cutlery, and everything else one could possibly need for a full kitchen experience, Viking has also branched out into other realms of leisure and luxury.

In 2001, Viking began renovations on the historic Irving Hotel in downtown Greenwood. It reopened as The Alluvian, a five-star boutique hotel that has gained widespread acclaim since its introduction in 2003. The Alluvian won the AAA 4-Diamond Award in 2007, 2008, and 2009 on top of making Conde Nast’s Traveler 2008 Gold List and 2004 Hot List. This was the final component that elevated Greenwood to a prime travel destination. The hotel is complete with a luxury spa and gourmet food at Giardina’s Restaurant as well as the Viking Cooking School. Viking currently maintains 16 Viking Cooking School licensees and affiliates with four more to be completed by the end of this year. More than 70,000 students participated in Viking cooking classes across the country in 2008.

Viking supports local charities, and also brings Mississippi further publicly through its sponsorship of the PGA Tour’s Viking Classic, hosted annually at Annandale Golf Club in Madison, Mississippi. Last year alone, Viking raised close to half a million dollars during the tournament through the Birdies for Charity program.

Viking’s success story is credited to the integrity of the company’s founder and the quality of its products. By carefully preserving its unique, creative, and stimulating environment, and through offering only the very finest, highest quality products, Viking plans to continue its aggressive growth and expansion in the worldwide major appliance and related culinary lifestyle industries.

For more information on Viking Range Corporation or any of its subsidiaries, please visit www.vikingrange.com

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