Napoleon: Grill Manufacturer’s U.S. Sales Triple in Past Five Years
Thursday, May 17, 2018
If you haven’t yet experienced the quality, performance, and upgraded features of a Napoleon grill, chances are you soon will. Grill connoisseurs across the United States are embracing the sizzling Canadian-born, family-owned gourmet grill brand, which in the past five years has tripled its U.S. sales and added 85,000 sq. ft. to its manufacturing facility in Crittenden, Kentucky.
With Napoleon’s U.S. grill sales growing an average of 40% a year for the last five years, it’s expanding at more than five times the growth rate of the category, which is estimated at 7% for the same time period, according to the research firm IBISWorld.
“We attribute our massive growth in the States over the past few years to a number of factors,” said Ron McArthur, president of Napoleon. “It’s due to both a strong dealer network and growing awareness for the brand and its high-end features, and also to the fact that we’ve identified a niche audience that appreciates quality and performance and is willing to pay a premium for long-lasting durability and value.”
Napoleon designates its primary customer base as ‘grill masters’ –experienced grillers who know the ins-and-outs of the grill and use every feature to make the best food possible. They seek out feature-rich, durable grills that offer a variety of upgrades, such as infrared burners, smoking capabilities, and a large grilling area.
Napoleon’s signature infrared Sizzle Zone sideburner, ideal for searing steaks, serves as a representation of the unique, sophisticated features the audience is searching for in a grill. For the past few years the company has been growing awareness with their target audience through strategic marketing campaigns that include highly visible television advertisements on networks such as ESPN, Golf Channel, MLB Network, and more.
“Our customers also appreciate that Napoleon is a family-owned company with family values that prides itself on its approachability, dedication to manufacturing high-quality products, and commitment to continuous innovation,” added McArthur.
A leading North American manufacturer of home heating products for more than 40 years, Napoleon’s parent company, Wolf Steel, was founded by Wolfgang Schroeter in 1976 when he started building the company’s first wood-burning stoves in his garage. Since then, it has grown into a family-run business, adding to the management team Wolfgang’s wife Ingrid as CFO and their two sons, Stephen as senior vice-president of Sales, Marketing and Administration, and Christopher as senior vice-president of Operations.
When Napoleon diversified its fireplace business to include a line of high-quality, gourmet grills in the mid-1990s, others in the industry said there wasn’t a market for grills that cost more than $1,000. However, the steadfast Schroeter family was confident there was an untapped market looking for a high-end alternative with the features and reliability they craved. Since entering the category, the company has developed an extensive product line that includes portable grills, a PRO Series for the most dedicated grill masters, and a range of products in between.
“Napoleon’s goal is to manufacture grills with the most advanced features on the market, yet make them attainable to the backyard chef,” said Stephen Schroeter. “Seeing my father’s vision expand globally has been extremely gratifying for our family, and we are proud to stand behind our products.”
Napoleon’s U.S. growth is part of the company’s aggressive goal to double sales globally in five years across all of its product segments: grills, fireplaces, and heating and cooling equipment – a feat the company accomplished ahead of schedule. Not only is the Napoleon brand growing awareness and sales in the U.S., but it has also seen exponential growth in Europe. The company’s overseas sales have grown 35% annually over the past three years.
“Another differentiator for Napoleon is that we are the only grill company that offers a complete line of outdoor solutions, from built-in grill-heads and cabinetry for outdoor kitchens, to freestanding grills, outdoor fireplaces, and flame tables,” added Schroeter. “Our product diversification and agility – being able to respond to market input and quickly make adjustments – has helped us stand out among the competition.”
The company’s global success is due in large part to its strategic growth strategy, which has focused on developing the market through its independent dealer chain and aligning with key partners. In fact, this year marks the introduction of select Napoleon grills into The Home Depot in Canada. Looking to the future, Napoleon is considering invitations for similar strategic partnerships from home improvement chains in the United States to help further brand awareness and availability.
“Within all of our categories, Napoleon’s vision is to inspire and enhance the most memorable experiences people enjoy in their homes,” added Schroeter. “We look forward to continuing that mission for many decades to come.”
About the Napoleon Group of Companies:
Napoleon is North America's largest privately-owned manufacturer of quality wood and gas fireplaces (inserts and stoves), gourmet gas and charcoal grills, outdoor living products, and a complete line of heating and cooling equipment. The company, with operations in Crittenden, Kentucky, and Barrie, Ontario, began in 1976 when a small steel fabrication business launched by Wolfgang Schroeter started manufacturing steel railings. Since then, Napoleon's commitment to producing quality products, combined with honest, reliable service, has been the successful framework to the rapid growth of the company which now operates with 1.4 million sq. ft. of manufacturing space, and employs more than 1,400 associates.