Kittredge Equipment Company has opened its fifth location and second in the state of New York. The foodservice equipment and supplies dealer’s operation in Tonawanda, N.Y., will serve the greater Buffalo market.
To get the ball rolling, the dealership hired ten seasoned foodservice professionals with experience working for another local dealer to fill sales and project management roles. To start, Kittredge has set up office space and a warehouse to support this group. The dealer’s cash and carry operation will come later, likely in July, says Jeff Mackey, executive vice president and chief operating officer.
It took roughly four to five weeks from the time Kittredge greenlighted its entry into the Buffalo market to the opening of this location, Mackey says. Being able to fast-track a project like that required leveraging the local knowledge of the dealer’s newest staffers. “We knew it had to be done that quick,” he says. “Some of these people are 25 to 30 years in the business. Sure enough, we made a go of it and got a building. We used their recommendations in terms of where to locate and more.”
The decision to enter the Buffalo market was as much about the people as it was about the potential this territory represented to the company. “We had a unique opportunity to hire a great core of extremely experienced commercial foodservice equipment sales, project and support people to immediately hit the ground running,” says Wendy Webber, president and owner of Kittredge. “Their experience and knowledge of the Buffalo market will only enhance its future success. It will give us another opportunity to expand our presence and better serve our growing customer base.”
Despite the challenging economic environment, Kittredge saw an opportunity in the Buffalo market when another dealer recently closed its doors. “We kept getting asked if we would come out to that market,” Mackey says. “It’s as good a time as any.”
Like so many other members of the foodservice industry, Kittredge has adapted to the changing economic landscape over the past few months. “We had to change some of the things we sell. We had to strategize about getting masks, hand sanitizer and other forms of PPE. Now those will become a standard part of some customers orders for a while,” Mackey says. “We are pretty fortunate our business is diversified. We do a lot of state and municipality work and had a backlog of contract work that helped us weather the storm. Plus, we don’t do any chain work. We were able to keep everyone employed. There were a few voluntary furloughs for childcare reasons. Things are certainly coming around now thanks to outdoor dining and people getting back outside. The contract work is out there, too.”
Based in Agawam, Mass., Kittredge also operates locations in Concord, N.H.; Burlington, Vt. and Albany, N.Y.
In 2019, Kittredge reported annual revenues of $53.55 million, making it the 31st largest foodservice equipment and supplies dealer in the country, per FE&S’ 2020 Distribution Giants Study.