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NEW WARES AT VILLAWARE; VENDOR'S FORAY INTO COOKWARE HIGHLIGHTS INTRODUCTIONS AT THE GOURMET SHOW.

SAN FRANCISCO-While expansion to several new product categories within the small-electrics family was newsworthy on its own, the biggest news at the VillaWare Manufacturing booth at the Gourmet Products Show was the company's maiden voyage into the cookware category with the 23-piece Victorio line.

"The entire company is based on a large family tradition for Italian standards and quality in the kitchen," said Dean Pawilkowsky, marketing manager at VillaWare. "And this is really an Old World method for making cookware. The line is high-end and built to last." Backing up that "built to last" claim is a 75-year guarantee. "This cookware will be your cookware for life," Pawilkowsky said. "And we're standing behind that."

The hand-cast cookware is 97 percent aluminum and crafted with molds that Pawilkowsky said "provide for very even casting and also allow for a perfect pour spout."

The leaders of the Victorio line, which will be sold as open stock, are expected to be the roasters, priced from $185 to $295, with the square and round skillets, priced at $95, expected to be strong items as well.

The line is currently geared specifically to the specialty channel, since its time-consuming, labor-intensive manufacturing process is not geared to service the pricing and quantity demands of the mass retailers.

Still owned and operated by its founding family, VillaWare decided the time was right for expansion, but didn't want to go aimlessly in that direction, Pawilkowsky said. "We have very dedicated retail customers and consumers, and we asked them what new items they would like to see from us," he said.

"We didn't just sit in a room and make up new products. We're giving the customer exactly what they asked for. That's a good way to go into it."

Other firsts for the company's kitchen electrics lineup included two coffee percolators, a 5-cup and a 12-cup; a 1-quart ice cream maker; a smoothie maker with built-in stir-stick; a waffle cone maker; an electric wok; and a warming tray.

"People are entertaining at home quite a bit these days," said Pawilkowsky. "The warming trays were very popular a few decades ago, but the demand is coming back. Anything having to do with staying at home -- being together -- is hot now."

The Maxi Series of waffle makers also appeared for the first time, showing off a new matte black finish that was well received at the show, according to Pawilkowsky. A stark contrast to VillaWare's standard mirrored-chrome look, five models in the new line include a Belgian, Heart and Classic Waffler, as well as the 4-Square Belgian and 4-Square Classic Waffler.

Additions were also made to the company's Uno Series of kitchen electrics. New products, such as the Grand Wrap Flat Bread Maker and Heart Waffler, join the existing line, which includes items like the Croque Monsieur Sandwich Maker and ProPress Contact and Panini Grill.

To round out the new additions, VillaWare's kitchen electrics will be housed in newly designed packaging beginning this month. The redesign places a focus on the company's rich cultural history and dedication to "the time-honored traditions of quality products."
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Comment:NEW WARES AT VILLAWARE; VENDOR'S FORAY INTO COOKWARE HIGHLIGHTS INTRODUCTIONS AT THE GOURMET SHOW.(Brief Article)
Author:Quail, Jennifer
Publication:HFN The Weekly Newspaper for the Home Furnishing Network
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:May 6, 2002
Words:514
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