Milwaukee — Undercounter refrigeration manufacturer Perlick is ending its relationship with Viking Distributing East.
Separately, the family-owned business is mourning the loss of past president Robert Perlick, 92, who helped build the company into a major commercial channel supplier.
Effective Jan. 1, the vendor’s residential distribution in New England will shift to New Jersey-based Signature Marketing Group, which represents the Perlick line in New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania, as well as in Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan and Ohio.
The distribution consolidation will extend Signature’s Perlick territory to Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont.
Perlick said the move was designed to strengthen its independent dealer base.
“By working solely with Signature Marketing Group, Perlick is able to consolidate efforts and inventories under a single distributor, which, in turn, will strengthen our position with the independent dealer base,” noted Perlick marketing and business development VP Tim Ebner. “This exclusive partnership also proves valuable from a customer service standpoint in that Signature Marketing Group’s dedicated team of professionals is renowned for continuously exceeding customer expectations.”
Viking Distributing East is a unit of Viking Range, which has been buying out its independent distribution network under a strategy formulated by The Middleby Corp., a manufacturer of commercial kitchen appliances that acquired Viking two years ago.
Family owned since 1917, Perlick’s premium residential product line features innovative indoor and outdoor undercounter refrigerators, wine reserves, freezers, freezer and refrigerated drawers, ice makers, and beer dispensers.
The company is also a force within the commercial channel, thanks largely to the efforts of past president Robert Perlick, a Navy veteran who joined his family’s small food and beverage service equipment company after returning from World War II.
An engineer, Perlick reveled in innovation, and his expanded product offering helped transform both the company and the bar and beverage dispensing industry, the manufacturer said.
Today, the Perlick line of total package bar equipment and beverage dispensing systems can be found in restaurants, bars, stadiums, hotels and resorts worldwide.
The company’s omnipresence prompted Perlick to make his signature wager. “Let’s drive across the country,” he would say. “We will eat three meals a day in restaurants that also serve draught beer.
"If I can find a piece of Perlick equipment in that restaurant, you pay," he said. "If I can’t, I pay. I can make the trip with $50 in my pocket.”