PHILADELPHIA, April 17, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- In a competitive retail landscape where businesses come and go daily, it's rare for a company to withstand the test of time. And rarer still to do so under the same family's ownership. But Dietz & Watson, a leading purveyor of premium meats and artisan cheeses, has done exactly that. This year, the fourth-generation owned and operated company headquartered in Philadelphia marks its 75th anniversary of producing quality deli meats, franks and sausages, dinner hams, cheeses and specialty items.
According to the Family Business Institute, less than one-third of family-owned companies remain viable into the second generation, approximately 12 percent operate into the third, and only three percent survive into the fourth generation and beyond. Dietz & Watson proudly counts itself among that three percent, with six descendants of founder Gottlieb Dietz currently holding leadership positions within the company.
"My father's mantra was 'quality above all else,'" said Ruth "Momma" Dietz Eni, chairman of Dietz & Watson and daughter of Gottlieb Dietz, who remains heavily involved in the day-to-day operations. "The company was founded in 1939 on the principle that you never skimp or sacrifice when it comes to our products, and it's remained that way ever since."
Gottlieb Dietz trained as a butcher and sausage maker in his native Germany before arriving in Philadelphia. A chance meeting with another local meat smoker (that's Watson) led to a partnership, and in 1939 Dietz & Watson was born. Upon Gottlieb's passing, Ruth and her husband took control of the company and transformed it from a small producer of sausage and pork to the largest deli meat purveyor in the region. Today, with the support of Ruth's three children and two of her grandchildren, Dietz & Watson is now the second largest preparer of premium meats and artisan cheeses in the country, with distribution in more than 40 states.
"From the very beginning, I've been involved in the business," Ruth continued. "Weekends, summers, school breaks – even at the dinner table – it's been about meat. I'm so proud to mark our 75th anniversary, and I think my father would be amazed at how far his company has come."
A film detailing Dietz & Watson's heritage and unique company culture was produced in honor of the milestone. The mini-documentary, featuring Eni family home videos, behind-the-scenes footage of the production facility, interviews with longtime employees and even Gottlieb Dietz's original recipe book, can be viewed at dietzandwatson.com/75th.
"When I came into the business I saw tremendous potential," said Louis Eni, CEO of Dietz & Watson and son of Ruth. "We've grown from a small local company to a national brand and deli powerhouse, and much of that success can be attributed to the fact that everything we produce is handcrafted. Our recipes are developed and perfected through tasting, and many are sourced from our employees. Each and every product is inspected by human eyes and human hands, which isn't easy at our size, but it's crucial. It's all about quality, just as my grandfather said."
Today, Dietz & Watson produces more than 450 items including the pioneering Healthier Lifestyle® product line, developed in the late 1970s, long before anyone in the category. The company also offers more than 40 varieties of turkey breast, all of which are 98% or 99% fat free, including the Gourmet Lite® line with 30 percent less sodium than similar items from other brands; roast beef prepared using the highest quality, hand-trimmed, USDA inspected and certified beef; European-style ham and roast pork, naturally low in fat and sodium and gluten-free; naturally seasoned beef franks and sausages; homestyle dinner hams, perfect for the holidays or other special occasions; All-Natural Chicken Sausages in numerous flavors with gluten- and nitrate-free options; and classic artisan cheeses ranging from Aalsbruk Smoked Gouda to Double Cream NY State Cheddar to Swedish Fontina and more.
"Just like my father, I see incredible potential for Dietz & Watson," said Lauren Eni, VP of Brand Strategy and granddaughter of Ruth. "I want our family business to not only be a nationally distributed company, but a nationally recognized brand. A brand that stands for consistent quality, for innovation, and most importantly, for family, which is rare in this category. I'm excited to join my family members – including future generations – in continuing to build the company so we can honor my great-grandfather's legacy for years to come."
About Dietz & Watson:
When Gottlieb Dietz founded our company in 1939, he set out to produce the tastiest deli meats in the Philadelphia area. Today, we are one of the largest preparers of premium deli meats and artisan cheeses, offering more than 450 products at the finest supermarkets and neighborhood delis throughout the United States and the world. But we may be most proud of what hasn't changed: after 75 years, Dietz & Watson is still a family owned and operated business, now in its fourth generation. We are still pioneers and innovators, constantly pursuing even more healthy recipes to suit a wide range of dietary needs. Most of all, we are still passionate about what we do best—providing fresh and delicious deli products, from our family to yours.
SOURCE Dietz & Watson