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Tramontina, a Brazilian Company, Revives Cookware Making and a Town in the US

Brazil's Tramontina teapot with whistleIn April 2003, when a major cookware manufacturing facility closed in Manitowoc, Wisconsin, USA, a town of about 35,000 people south of Green Bay on Lake Michigan, most townsfolk thought that was the end of cookware production in their town and the jobs that went along with it. 

The high cost of labor and of building technologically advanced manufacturing facilities has driven most cookware manufacturing out of the U.S.  The majority of the cookware sold in the U.S. today is made outside the country.


But Tramontina, a Brazil-based cookware and cutlery manufacturer, arrived in Manitowoc to save the day, forming an alliance with a local aluminum manufacturing company, Koenig & Vits, Inc., which had bought the old Mirro plant when it closed. 


On July 5, 2005, the factory was reopened and is now producing aluminum nonstick cookware with a variety of exterior finishes – porcelain enamel, commercial satin finish, and colored enamel – for both consumer and commercial food service cooking.


In the first year, the Tramontina Manitowoc facility is projected to produce over six million units of pots and pans, initially employing between 30 and 50 people, with the potential for doubling production in the future.


There are also plans for adding additional workers as production grows, and gradually the company increases its market share and distribution to major retailers in the U.S., Canada and Mexico, as output is maximized. 


Production currently subcontracted by Tramontina in China and Europe will be gradually transferred to the Manitowoc factory, which will further increase manufacturing and employment opportunities in the United States.


The unusual white knight in this story, Tramontina USA, Inc., is the American subsidiary of Tramontina Group, a privately held Brazilian company headquartered in Rio Grande do Sul, the southernmost state of Brazil. 


Founded by Italian immigrant Valentin Tramontina in 1911, Tramontina is today one of the world’s leading manufacturers of household goods, ranging from cookware and cutlery to flatware and kitchen utensils, with 10 factories and 12 distribution centers worldwide.  Tramontina products are sold in more than 100 countries around the world.


“Just to give you an idea of the potential impact of this factory on the industry,” explains Antonio J. Galafassi, president of Tramontina USA, Inc., “the total wholesale sales of cookware in the U.S. are currently averaging between $1.8 and $2 billion a year. 


“This Manitowoc facility at its peak in the past produced over $250 million in cookware every year.  That is a very significant portion of the total market.  We think this facility has enormous potential and are very proud to be contributing to manufacturing conducted in the U.S.”


Galafassi comments that an important advantage of the Manitowoc facility is the fact that the plant includes a rolling mill which can produce aluminum from ingots to coils, the raw material from which aluminum cookware is made.


“We are able to produce cookware here in the U.S. because of the cost savings we gained by revitalizing an existing facility, instead of building a new one from scratch, and the fact that raw material can be produced here and need not be transported to the site, which will also shorten lead times,” says Galafassi. 


“In fact, I see in the near future the Manitowoc rolling mill exporting aluminum coils to our other Tramontina factories abroad for the production of cookware for their local and export markets.  This is a ‘win- win’ scenario,” further states Galafassi.


Tramontina will apply the company’s historical know-how and cutting-edge technology in the making of cookware to the Manitowoc unit by using capabilities readily available in the Brazilian manufacturing units.


“However,” says Galafassi, “we are relying mainly on the highly skilled local workforce and the long tradition of cookware manufacturing in Manitowoc.  I had the opportunity to meet personally with local employees and managers, and I was extremely impressed with their skills and enthusiasm for the venture.”


“The synergies between Tramontina USA and Koenig & Vits are obvious and remarkable,” said Timothy Martinez, CEO of Koenig & Vits, Inc. 


“Tramontina brings a mature and sophisticated manufacturing, marketing and distribution organization to Koenig & Vits, a highly automated cookware production facility and rolling mill.”


Tramontina USA, Inc., founded in 1986, is one of the largest corporate affiliates of Tramontina Group from Brazil.  The U.S. firm currently operates out of four facilities, totaling more than 1.4 million square feet of offices, assembly and processing warehouses, and distribution center in Sugar Land, Texas, just southwest of Houston.


Koenig & Vits, Inc., is located in Manitowoc, Wisconsin.  Founded in 2003, the firm was formed by investors who purchased a cookware manufacturing facility from a Fortune 500 company that was abandoning American manufacturing capacity for overseas operations.

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  • Show Comments (10)

  • Ebony

    replacing lids
    Hello, I purchased a pot set and lids got left behind while moving. I really enjoy the quality. The lids had strainers on them, is it possible to get replacements I would hate to get rid of them.

  • hayati

    i need to know the details of the company or the factory which is the owner of the tramontina knives

  • SANJEEV PILLAI

    Contracts Manager
    I need to buy 2 pcs of Soldering Gun, Tramontina-Pro 44090/522, 100W, 220V, 60Hz. Please advise from where I can Purchase this item? Please send me e-mail to sanjeev@globalcsholding.com

  • K

    Where can I buy a Tramontina 6.5 qt cast iron dutch oven in Canada??

  • Delma Colón

    I purchased a pressure cooker and some parts of the lids broke, where I can get the replacements? I really like the cooker, its the best I ever bought.

  • Tanisha R Sellers

    i purchased a card table and chaird from a shopping club in 2001, one of the folding chairs broke and i need to know if it can be replaced?

  • Kim

    I have a glass lid from one of the 8 qt. stockpts that the handle has come off of. Is there any way to get or purchase repair parts such as the rivets needed?

    Thank you for your kind attention.

    Please reply to kvkhaz@aol.com

  • I can answer your question
    Please give me your e-mail contact.

  • Guest

    Margie D\’Orazio
    Hello, a few years ago my husband bought me som tTramontia knives. I love them. Unfortunatly, the handle on my lagre chef knife is cracked on the exposed metal of the tang, just next go the circular rivet(?). Is there a placeI can return it for a new one? MD_ORAZIO@HOTMAIL.COM

  • Guest

    I need to know the emaiul address of the factory of garden furniture Tramontina to order directly 40 foot container.
    Please send answer to tecklaromana@yahoo.com

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