Dave Becker

Lifestyle buys and dropping prices are spurring a strong season for the appliance category By Mike Llewellyn It's been a solid summer for the appliance industry, according to research from the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers. Increasing shipments to retailers are continuing an already strong year, with the only downer apparently a milder-than-usual summer cooling air conditioner sales. AHAM reports an 8.4-percent increase in June shipments in the core appliance category, which includes everything from the dishwasher to the washing machine. For the year, the category is up 8.7 percent, says the trade association. Depending on whom you ask, there are a variety of explanations for

The Indoor Chef Meets The Great Outdoors By Lisa Hartratkin Take a big dollop of upscale lifestyle trends, blend in some recent advances in appliance technologies, and season with a healthy sprinkling of economic strength. That's the recipe for combining outdoor dining elegance with indoor conveniences, and it's been fueled in good part by the outdoor cookers, grills and cooktops that began showing up several years ago. Manufacturers are adding still greater functionality to the mix, with varied cooking options and more refrigeration. Result? A tempting appeal to high-end and custom kitchen clients and a growing profit and showroom display opportunity for dealers. GE Appliances' Monogram Manager Merrell Grant

Dave Becker, Vice President, Product Management - Viking 1) How did 1998's financial turmoil affect your business? I haven't seen and do not anticipate any major problems in 1998. We are continuing to monitor all indicators for changes so that if necessary we can take any action to minimize the impact on our business. The training programs and products that we offer are the main reasons why we've had a good year, and we feel we'll continue in 99 [to have a good year]. 2) What's your forecast for 1999, and how will you adjust your business plan to address it? We anticipate the good year will continue

By Elizabeth Brent The kitchen of the '90s is the hub of the home. "Open plan" in design, the kitchen is now the gathering place for all. It's functional, yet fun, able to accommodate chefs of all ages, sizes and tastes. "People are enjoying the process of baking and cooking and want to be around other people in the house,"said Dave Becker, vice president of product management at Viking. "Kitchens now have more of a social atmosphere." The kitchen has to look like you cook. The traditional 30-inch range is making way for 36-inch and 48-inch commercial ranges. The 36-inch ranges now come with extra burners, too.

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