See how pots and pans are made in Paderno's P.E.I. factory
Paderno Canada makes up to 220K pots each year
Charlottetown has been host to Paderno's Canadian factory for more than 38 years.
"When you're buying Paderno pots, you're buying a Canadian-made product," said plant manager Neville Warren.
"In the early days, 60,000 pots a year running multiple shifts was something that was difficult to achieve," said Warren.
"Today, we're running a one day shift Monday through Friday and we can produce 220,000 pots per year."
The plant was originally opened on the Island by Paderno Italy in 1979.
In 1986, local businessman Jim Casey bought the factory and cut all ties with the Italian company except for the rights to use the Paderno name in Canada. It's now owned by Casey's son, Tim.
A key to the company's success has been to keep up with changes in the market place.
"Originally the equipment that was used to make the pots was very rudimentary, and we didn't have much automation," said Warren.
The process of making pots has also changed to keep up with the times. Originally, aluminum was bonded to the bottom of the pots, but it degraded and also couldn't be used with induction-friendly stoves.
Aluminum is still used but now it's sandwiched between the pot bottom and a layer of magnetic stainless steel.
'It's a very tough market'
Besides keeping up with the times, Paderno has also had to keep a watchful eye on low-cost cookware flooding the market.
"It's a very tough market, there is a lot of competition," said Warren.
"Our quality is really what keeps us apart from everyone else," he said.
"We also have what I would consider a cult following with the Paderno name where lots of Canadians love the Paderno product and they're very true to the brand."
The company's pots and pans are sold across the country from coast to coast.
"We currently have 15 factory stores that we operate under our company, but we also sell to dealers and agents across the country," he said.
"Our major factory sale which is in the fall can have anywhere from 400 plus dealers."
Bang the bottom with a wooden mallet
While Paderno has modernized its factory, there is still one practice from the past that's used once in awhile to make sure the aluminum bottoms have properly bonded.
"We would tap the bottom of the pot with a wooden mallet," said Warren. "The ringing sound of the bottom of the pot could tell us whether or not the two layers of steel were bonded properly together and we used it as a quality check."
But a new impact pressing machine has removed the need for that ringing of the pot, and there are seldom any problems.
"Occasionally, we'll hit it with a stick and that will tell us whether or not the proper bond has taken place."
Paderno is banging out a few more extra pots this year to mark Canada's 150th Birthday. The company has received a big order from a large Canadian retailer to produce a special edition line featuring an imprint of the anniversary logo.