Dietz & Watson
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|Headquarters||Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States|
|Louis Eni, CEO|
Dietz & Watson was founded in 1939 by Gottlieb Dietz, a German sausage maker fleeing the economic collapse of his country in wake of World War I. Using capital raised by working at a meat packing plant for almost two decades, Dietz bought the ailing Watson Meat Company and combined his name with the business' former owner Walter Watson (who took on the role of sales manager). When Gottlieb passed, his daughter Ruth Eni took control of the company. It was still a small operation at the time of the changeover; under Ruth, the company expanded to be the largest deli meat purveyor in Philadelphia. A family run business, the company is in its fourth generation under Dietz' great-grandchildren. With facilities in Philadelphia, Baltimore (in the former Parks Sausage Company plant), Corfu, NY (in the former Yancey's Fancy Inc./Kutter's Cheese Factory), and a distribution facility adjacent to the processing facility in Philadelphia, they employ over 1,000 people. The company sources beef from the Midwest and pork from Canada, and does not use artificial flavors, colors, fillers, extenders or MSG. In 1975, they relocated to their present location in Philadelphia when their original facility needed to be cleared for the Interstate Highway System. When federal guidelines changed about shipping meat, Dietz & Watson began to branch out to neighboring states and would eventually move into Japan, developing a growing market for deli meat in Asia.
On September 1, 2013, a large 11-alarm fire that lasted over 72 hours ripped through Dietz & Watson's Delanco, New Jersey distribution center, destroying the 266,000 square foot facility. Firefighters were hampered by thousands of solar panels on the roof, which officials said posed a risk of electrocution. There also were some water supply issues at the location. More than 300 firefighters from 60 to 70 municipalities and counties were called to aid in fighting the blaze. The remainder of the building was demolished and the spoiled meat, from which a stench remained for days, was removed. To this day, the former location of the distribution center remains empty and undeveloped. After considering options, Dietz & Watson decided to move their distribution facility next door to its processing facility in the Tacony section of Philadelphia, where the meats could be conveniently moved to the distribution center by conveyor belt.
Beyond being one of the few remaining large-scale factories based in Philadelphia, Dietz & Watson contributes to local charities such as the Police and Fire Departments and the Battleship New Jersey Museum and Memorial. Other charities to which the company contributes include Susan G. Komen for the Cure, Crohn's & Colitis research, Police Athletic League, the Golden Slipper Organization, United Service Organizations, and, in sponsorship with the Philadelphia Eagles, the Hometown Heroes program.
Boar's Head controversy
Reportedly, Boar's Head Provision Company threatened to ban sale of their product to supermarkets that continued to also carry Dietz & Watson. Dietz & Watson fired back with a blind taste test in Charlotte where the Philadelphia-based company was the overwhelming winner. During a charity event in Sarasota, Florida where Dietz & Watson products were taste-tested, Boar's Head appeared to disrupt the festivities. While there are no strong figures to say either way, Louis Eni (CEO for Dietz & Watson) claims his company is the second largest deli meat processor in the US with Boar's Head as the largest.
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