Sub-Zero has cornered the market on hot and cold. The company's purchase of Wolf Gourmet married Sub-Zero's built-in, customized refrigerators, freezers, and wine storage systems with Wolf's ovens, cooktops, and ranges. Sub-Zero now competes head-to-head with rival Viking Range. The company hides bulky refrigerators and freezers behind cabinetry with complementary hardware. The manufacturer's units are available in several configurations, including over-and-under, side-by-side, and undercounter. Sub-Zero's US-made products are sold nationwide and internationally through a network of distributors. Founded by Westye Bakke in 1945, the company is still owned by the Bakke family.
Two cities -- Madison and Fitchburg -- are home to Sub-Zero's corporate offices in Wisconsin and are the center of most of the company's production activities, along with plants in Kentucky and Arizona. Across its organization, the company maintains about 36 showrooms nationwide to showcase products sold under both its namesake and Wolf brands.
Based in Wisconsin, Sub-Zero and its Wolf subsidiary serve consumers globally through its three-dozen showrooms nationwide and network of specialty distributors.
Sales and Marketing
Unique to high-end suppliers like Sub-Zero, Wolf, and Viking Range, the companies sell their products through specialized distributors rather than big-name home improvement stores, such as Home Depot and Lowe's. The move allows the manufacturers to maintain a higher level of customer service as well as exclusivity within its industry.
Sub-Zero has added more than 1 million sq. ft. of production space in Madison since acquiring Wolf in 2000. In recent years, however, the upscale appliance maker has been extending its reach outside Wisconsin in its effort to find more cost-effective manufacturing facilities. Rather than moving production outside the US to Mexico or offshore, as some appliance competitors have done, Sub-Zero looks to other states to maintain production in the US. To this end, the company has added an 80,000-sq.-ft. plant in Richmond, Kentucky, and it operates another near Phoenix.
The 65-year-old firm acquired a 440,000-sq.-ft. plant in Goodyear, Arizona, that effective 2011 produces a newly introduced line of refrigeration items. While Sub-Zero spent an estimated $68 million for the Goodyear building, improvements, and equipment, the appliance company received a boost of up to $760,000 worth of incentives for job training and job creation.
To remain a leader in innovation and maintain its upscale status, Sub-Zero has rolled out several new designs to support the trend of refrigeration drawers, undercounter wine refrigeration units, and undercounter appliances for media rooms, bars, offices, master bedrooms, and outdoor living areas.