For the first 15 years of business, Commercial Aluminum Cookwear Co. marketed its cookware to leading chefs, restaurants and culinary schools throughout the country. It was the vision of late owner/gourmet cook Ron Kasperzak to make his line the best known in foodservice.
Later, the company decided to go after epicurian consumers in addition to that loyal, professional base. Today, Calphalon is carried by most major upscale retailers, having made its first inroads through Bloomingdale's and the Williams-Sonoma catalog.
The move into the consumer market has been so successful-the company had sales of $55 million in 1993-that last year President Jeffrey Cooley decided consumers are all it needs: He closed the commercial foodservice division.
Mr. Cooley also is bringing the Calphalon brand into new product lines. Last year, the company introduced Finer Foods from Calphalon, a collection of oils and seasonings, and Kitchen Textiles, a line of potholders and mitts.
And in June, Commercial Aluminum released its fifth line-Professional Bakeware-and will introduce a sixth line this fall.
Advertising runs in 11 consumer magazines. But the most essential element to Calphalon's development is product endorsement and favorable editorial coverage by food writers.
The company handles advertising and PR in-house, and sends sample products to reviewers and magazine chefs. From the reviews come purchases, which in turn result in favorable word-of-mouth advertising-what some people call the best kind.