Post-Acquisition, Pfaltzgraff Broadens Its Reach

Now that the integration of $46.4 million Pfaltzgraff Co. into its new parent company, Lifetime Brands Corp., is nearly complete, it is renewing its efforts to attract more younger buyers, in part by expanding its offerings to include food preparation items as well as tableware.

“Food preparation just goes with food service,” says Marsha Everton, who as president of $46.4 million Pfaltzgraff is also responsible for Lifetime Brands’ retail operations. “Pulling together preparation with dining is what customers seem to want most. And a big part of our future plans is to combine the two.”

Westbury, NY-based Lifetime acquired Pfaltzgraff in July, retaining about 90% of its employees and keeping the company headquartered in York, PA. Lifetime’s properties include cookware brands Farberware, Hoffritz, and Roshco.

Pfaltzgraff’s pursuit of a younger demographic began with a research study conducted by Yankelovich Partners in 2003 that showed that Pfaltzgraff’s greatest penetration was with consumers 33-55 years old. From the data, Pfaltzgraff created four fictitious characters — essentially four prototypes that embodied the Pfaltzgraff customer base. “We found that by creating characters that we could write separate stories of daily lives,” Everton says, “to show customers that people just like them were buying dinnerware and other tabletop accessories.”

The study also revealed that younger customers preferred value, personalization, and informality to tradition. Younger customers tend to eat at home less and often use dinnerware for casual entertaining as opposed to daily meals. Research also indicated that brides were less inclined to buy dinner service for 8-12 people and more intent on mixing and matching colors to add a personal touch to what patterns they ultimately choose. The result was a line of customizable dinnerware that the “new” Pfaltzgraff will continue to emphasize.

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