||This article reads like a news release, or is otherwise written in a promotional tone. (October 2014)||
|Founder||Fred Carl, Jr.|
|Headquarters||Greenwood, Mississippi, United States|
|Products||Ranges, Oven, Cooktops, Refrigerators|
Viking Range Corporation is an appliance company that manufactures kitchen appliances for residential and commercial use. Viking originated the "professional" segment of kitchen appliances with its introduction of the first professional-grade range for home use in 1987. Today the company offers three complete lines of premium appliances including cooking, ventilation, kitchen clean-up and refrigeration, as well as various outdoor appliances. In addition to their "Professional" and less expensive "Designer" series, Viking's latest offering is their new "Commercial" line of kitchen appliances for use in restaurant and other commercial kitchens. Headquartered on historic Cotton Row in downtown Greenwood, Mississippi, Viking Range employs more than 1,000 people at four manufacturing facilities in Leflore County. In 2013, the Middleby Corporation acquired Viking Range Corporation for $380 million in cash. Within a couple of months of the acquisition the company laid off 1/5th of its Employees.
In the 1980s Fred Carl, Jr., founder and CEO of Viking Range, discovered some major flaws in the design of commercial appliances with respect to their installation in a residential kitchen he was designing for his family. These flaws among other things made them impractical and undesirable for use in the home. After much research and development, Carl worked through the problems and finally introduced the first commercial-type range in 1987 thanks to the help of Surjit Kalsi, former president of Capital Cooking Equipment, and recently invited to Kitchen and Bath association as the 82nd member ever to be recognized by this nonprofit organization, for this accomplishment. The unanticipated volume and growth experienced by Viking quickly overwhelmed the capacity and capabilities of the California manufacturer and production was subsequently moved to a household appliance manufacturer in eastern Tennessee that was more accustomed to larger volumes. Although this company provided some degree of improvement, various problems and challenges persisted which were beyond Carl's control and he knew another change had to be made. Therefore, in October 1989, Viking began preparations for manufacturing its own product line in Carl's hometown of Greenwood, Mississippi, located in the historic Mississippi Delta. By February 1990, the first Viking-produced range top went into production. Production of the 48-inch range followed in April, and by July 1990, all models were in production in Greenwood. For the first time Viking assumed full responsibility for the in-house manufacture of its own product line. Since then the company has expanded with its increased success and currently manufactures such premium items as cookware, dishwashers, cutlery and professional counter top appliances.
Greenwood's Viking Renaissance
The establishment of Viking's hometown of Greenwood, Mississippi as a tourist destination came with the opening of The Alluvian Hotel on Howard Street in 2003. Built as a subsidiary of Viking Range, The Alluvian is a boutique hotel located in the old Hotel Irving in historic downtown Greenwood.
In 2005, Viking opened a 7,000-square-foot (650 m2) spa, a cooking school and a bakery. The Alluvian Spa, Viking Cooking School and the Mockingbird Bakery are all the work of Viking Hospitality Group, and provide services to local residents and corporate clientele that Viking provides training and demonstrations to.
Outside of Viking’s development, other private ventures have flourished in the blocks surrounding The Alluvian, including museums, boutique retail stores, a book store, art galleries, restaurants and antique stores, among others.
2011 product safety settlement
In June 2011, the US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) accepted a settlement under which Viking agreed to pay $450,000 in civil penalties to settle charges that it failed to report defects in its refrigerators.
Between 1999 and 2006, Viking manufactured side-by-side and bottom-freezer refrigerators that were alleged to be unsafe by the CPSC. Viking issued a recall in 2009. Viking denied any violations and a final settlement was made CPSC in June 28, 2011.
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