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.
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