Registered: Apr 93
posted 06-19-2017 05:49 AM
Harry Klitzner Company
"America's Oldest and Largest Factory-Direct
Manufacturer of all things Fraternal"
530 Wellington Avenue #11
Cranston, RI 02910
RHODE ISLAND JEWISH HISTORICAL NOTES
VOLUME 10 NUMBER 3, PART B
Carl Klitzner recalled in an interview, January 8, 1990, that his uncle, Robert Klitzner, told him that this photo shows the candy store on Bernon Street in Providence where Harry Klitzner first made jewelry. Robert said that the woman selling bagels in front of the store was his grandmother, Harry's mother Carl Klitzner knew a man named Kilmartin whose uncle said he stoked the boiler at the store for two cents a day. The photo, courtesy of the Rhode Island Historical Society appeared on the front cover of the Notes, Volume 7, Number 2, November 1976. At that time the picture was described as "Scene Lower Chalkstone Avenue — circa 1903 (Unidentified)."
KLITZNER INDUSTRIES, INC. According to a history of Klitzner Industries published on its 75th anniversary in 1982:
Around the turn of the century, fourteen-year-old Harry Klitzner worked as a platter's helper in someone else's jewelry shop. When he went home, he made fraternal emblematic jewelry in the back of his mother's candy store. With homemade tools he hammered the designs. A goldfish bowl and enamel pots were used for dipping tanks. Owning a business with an American flag flying over the building was the young man's dream
The history states that Klitzner had fancy letterheads made Harry Klitzner Co. and guaranteed, "If our goods don't make good, we will" With only a small across directory of Loyal Order of the Moose Lodges listed across the country, he launched his mail order company in 1907. Business arrived in mail sacks, and he prospered. The first success was an elk's tooth carved from Alaskan walrus for members of the Benevolent Protective Order of the Elks. The secret dye used on the tooth was coffee" One Masonic emblem still selling comes from a die made in 1907.
Harry Klitzner's dream to own a successful company, in the words of the history,
was helped along by family member during those early years. His first recruit was his sister, Lillian. She quit school, taught herself how to type, and the money was so scarce she rarely received a salary. Some days she waited for a customer to send in a check before she could buy stumps to send out the next order..... When Harry's niece, Ruth Goldman, was 15, she used to type catalog labels for him. When she came into the company, her desk was next to her uncle's ...
Robert A. Klitzner, Harry's Son, joined the company after service in World War II. Another son, William, and Harry's grandchildren, Alan and Carl, also became part of the company.
Klitzner Industries now cover an entire city block at 44 Warren Street, Providence, and consists of four divisions: Harry Klitzner Company, fraternal jewelry; Providence Emblem, industrial and premium jewelry; Historic Providence Mint, consumer collectibles; and K. I. Special Sales, private label manufacturing.
Lillian Klitzner, sister of Harry, who worked for Klitzner Industries for 58 years, at her desk in 1946.
About the Harry Klitzner Company
Still family owned and operated Masonic & Freemason store, the Harry Klitzner Company manufacturing complex covers an entire city block, housing one of the most extensive, all-encompassing facilities in the jewelry industry. Known in the trade as the "Florence of the Jewelry Industry", our unique and extensive capabilities assure our customers of the most advanced technologies available to produce products for your organization that are creative, universal, and above all, the highest level of quality money can buy.
No matter how large or small your organization is, whether you wish to place a order from our extensive stock line of merchandise or have us make something custom for a special event, The Harry Klitzner Company is at your disposal for all your Masonic or Fremason supplies. From coming up with fresh, vibrant and innovative designs, our modern 130,000 square foot factory and our dedicated team of well over 150 fulltime designers and artisans can help make your project a reality with a product you can be proud to wear or present. We are just a toll free phone or fax, email or mouse click away.
We can plate over 60,000 pieces per day in our plating facility. Our plating tanks are all specially made for the types of finishes you want. Our range of plating options is the most extensive in the industry.
Our skilled Jewelers still perform many jobs by hand including stone setting and working with precious metals.
Final assembly takes many skilled hands. Everything these people handle ends up next in your hands.
Dedicated to quality, every piece is inspected before it goes to our shipping department.
We can engrave plaques or personalize an item in hundreds of different styles either by hand, with state-of-the-art lasers or with computerized engraving equipment.
Besides being known for our Cloisonne, Polyhard enamel, Baked enamel, Etched, Image Art, Antique and color magic capabilities, our silkscreen imprinting capabilities are known worldwide.
Millions of pieces are produced and shipped from our factory every year.
Our online systems track every order assuring it is delivered to you on time.
And there is so much more that we just can't show it all. From Design to making our own steel Dies, from Die Casting to Die Striking, From Advertising to Acrylic Awards and Accessories, from Engraving to Embedding your product in Lucite, from Polishing to Plating, from Silk screening to Stone Setting, no where does any company have the range of product and capabilities that The Harry Klitzner Company has to offer under one roof.
What has remained for well over 90 years and will continue indefinitely is the continuity of the Klitzner tradition. That is the pulse and genes of our business, the living legacy of our founder, Harry Klitzner whose dedication and commitment to quality and philanthropy are as vital a part of our business today as they were when Harry founded this company in 1907.
Harry Klitzner Company History
Around the turn of the century, fourteen year old Harry Klitzner worked as a platters helper in someone else's jewelry shop. At the end of the business day, Harry went home and made fraternal emblematic jewelry in the back of his mother's candy store. Homemade tools hammered the designs. A goldfish bowl and an enamel pot were used for plating tanks.
Starting with only a small directory of Lodges from the Loyal Order of Moose, Harry launched his first mail order business. From the very beginning, Harry's product was new, innovative, affordable and guaranteed. As a result, business arrived in mail sacks and the business prospered through the depression and two world wars.
While many jewelry companies are "Mom and Pop" type operations that never changed, at the end of the second World War, Harry's two sons joined the business and moved The Harry Klitzner Company into a modern new state-of-the-art manufacturing facility that would allow us to meet the ever increasing demand for quality emblematic products at affordable prices.
As the business grew, the company bought out many of its longtime competitors including Newark Emblem, J.J. Darling, John H. Collingwood and F.A. Whiting. Through years of expansion and acquisition, innovation and a commitment to quality, The Harry Klitzner Company became what is today, the largest factory-direct fraternal emblematic jeweler in the country working with hundreds of organizations both large and small, both here and abroad.
Still family owned and operated, the Harry Klitzner manufacturing complex covers an entire city block, housing one of the most extensive, all-encompassing facilities in the jewelry industry. Known in the trade as the "Florence of the Jewelry Industry", our unique and extensive capabilities assure our customers of the most advanced technologies available to produce products for your organization that are creative, universal, and above all, the highest level of quality money can buy.
No matter how large or small your organization is, whether you wish to place a order from our extensive stock line of merchandise or have us make something custom for a special event, The Harry Klitzner Company is at your disposal. From coming up with fresh, vibrant and innovative designs, our modern 130,000 square foot factory and our dedicated team of well over 150 fulltime designers and artisans can help make your project a reality with a product you can be proud to wear or present.
PROVIDENCE, RI October 24, 2006 – What does it take to keep a business thriving for 100 years? Just ask Dean Klitzner and Hank Riccitelli, the management team at Providence, which celebrates its centennial in 2007.
“You have to constantly reinvent yourselves,” says Klitzner. “If you can’t change rapidly to meet customer demands, you simply won’t survive.”
Providence has done much more than survive. Today, it is one of the most respected organizations in the promotional products industry. And while that success can be attributed to the company’s adaptability through the years, it is also testament to the fundamental business precepts set down by Harry Klitzner when he founded his company. As a fourth-generation member of the family-owned business, Dean Klitzner provides historical perspective. “My great-grandfather used to say ‘the customer is your bread and butter. Without customers, you have no food.’”
Harry Klitzner’s philosophy has been passed down through the years. Dean’s father, Alan, is still active in the business. “My dad recalls going to the factory with my great-grandfather on Sundays so they could get orders ready to send out first thing Monday morning,” the younger Klitzner relates. “Everyone who has ever worked at Providence embraces the fact that the customer is the one who drives the business. Our commitment today to providing distributors with world-class service dates back to my great-grandfather’s commitment to his customers.”
From manufacturer to marketer
Armed with a small directory of Masonic lodges across the United States, Harry Klitzner launched his mail order company in 1907. Over the past century, Providence’s client base has transferred from fraternal organizations to promotional products distributors who service corporate America, professional sports organizations, smaller regional business concerns, civic organizations, and more. “Our distributors do work for everyone from IBM and the New York Mets to the local cleaning company,” Riccitelli points out. “Because we have been part of the promotional products industry since the 1950s, we understand what customers are looking for: good quality, a fair price, and attentive service. We enable distributors to deliver those benefits to their clients.”
Today, Providence’s line offerings encompass an extensive range of imprinted promotional products, including a full line of emblematic jewelry, Lucite® and acrylic, Go Kits™, lip balm, hand sanitizers, lanyards, and embroidered patches. “We have evolved not only as a state-of-the-art specialty manufacturing company, but also as a great idea and marketing company,” explains Klitzner. “Customers are looking to distributors to help them solve marketing challenges. Our job is to provide the distributor with the right product, to customize it to suit the customer’s promotional purposes, and to ensure that everything goes smoothly, from order placement to delivery.”
Legacy of innovation
Looking back on Providence’s history, Klitzner and Riccitelli point to several major milestones:
• When corporate recognition and awards programs emerged in the 1950s, Providence turned to distributors to penetrate this growing market. “We knew distributors were the best way to reach corporate America,” Riccitelli observes. “They had the expertise and the established relationships.” The partnership was a good one, and Providence sells exclusively to distributors to this day.
• In the 1960s, Providence introduced Lucite® embedments to the corporate recognition market. “We are always looking for something new,” Riccitelli says. “In 1965, a local dentist helped us find it.” It turns out the dentist was experimenting with Lucite® as a material for dentures. The designers at Providence quickly realized they could embed objects in the material to create dramatic and durable recognition gifts and awards. Lucite® embedments continue to be one of the company’s most popular lines.
• In the late 1960s, importers transformed the selling dynamics in the promotional products industry. Sourcing became as important as manufacturing. “If you didn’t become an importer, you didn’t survive,” says Riccitelli. Providence made its first trip to the Orient in 1967 and initiated sourcing relationships that remain in place to this day.
• In the 1980s, Providence introduced acrylic insertments as an innovative alternative to the company’s Lucite® embedments. “The high temperatures used in the Lucite® embedment process caused certain materials to melt,” Klitzner points out. “There were no such issues with our acrylic insertments, and acrylic allowed us to create unique shapes. It opened the door to new and dramatic product possibilities.”
• Recently, the Internet has revolutionized the industry’s selling dynamics. Providence was quick to see the benefits of online communications, for both the company and its distributors. “It’s actually easier to let distributors know we exist and to keep them updated on our products and specials,” says Klitzner. “Distributors are challenged today to cover expanding customer bases and geographies. We can help them enhance their service to their customers through the smart use of technology.”
State of the industry today
According to Klitzner and Riccitelli, new technology, the growing presence of branded retail products, and more educated distributors are all major factors affecting today’s promotional products industry. “With end-users becoming more astute about buying direct via the Internet, it has become essential for distributors to provide expertise and value-added services,” says Klitzner.
“It’s a much more sophisticated business today,” Riccitelli adds. “Successful companies are incorporating promotional products into a broader marketing effort. Distributors can contribute to their clients’ success by helping them develop creative solutions and then managing the order and delivery process.”
Klitzner notes that as the pace of doing business continues to accelerate, Providence has evolved into a quick-turnaround company. “I can get a prototype out of China in two days,” he says. “That’s a long way from the two weeks it used to take. Customers expect to get things quickly today. We give distributors a resource they can rely on to meet those expectations.”
To the next 100 years
Vision, resources, experience, and a willingness to constantly evolve – these qualities have enabled Providence to prosper for 100 years, and no doubt will serve the company well as it embarks on its second century.