Food, wine demo kitchen builder to expand in Miamisburg

C Pathe looking to diversify services, grow into new markets.

A Dayton area company that designs, manufactures and installs demonstration kitchens for food and wine events nationwide is looking to increase staffing by as much as 100% by the end of 2021.

Founded in 2011 by the late Dan Holdeman and the late Louise Epperson, C Pathe got its start as a consulting company focusing on the in-store experience, according to Brett Holdeman, the company’s vice president of sales and marketing.

“They both had backgrounds in the trade show industry,” Holdeman said. “They found retail display manufacturers rarely provided the level of brand immersion and focus on service that are hallmarks in the trade show industry.”

By integrating the knowledge of their customer’s products and marketing initiatives, the pair found they could provide more than just a platform or shelf to hold a product, he said. They were able to build a consistent in-store experience around it.

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C Pathe has since become an end-to-end service provider.

“‘Conceive. Convey. Convert.’ is our company tagline,” Holdeman said. “We offer planning, design, management, manufacturing, logistics support, digital integration and program maintenance to deliver award-winning in-store experiences, special event activations and trade show programs.”

The company employs 17 full-time team members. If projections remain accurate, there is potential to increase staffing by 50% to 100% by year’s end, Holdeman said.

The biggest recent obstacle facing the company has been the same one facing numerous others: the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Our services are marketing driven,” Holdeman said. “With the uncertainty regarding the pandemic’s duration, shifting government regulations and concern regarding employee and consumer safety, marketing budgets were frozen or drastically cut.”

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In March 2020, during the pandemic’s stay-at-home period, C Pathe’s management team met virtually daily, knowing things were going to look different when they were able to get back to work, he said. They envisioned what may be different and started to brainstorm how they could contribute to things opening back up.

“We were able to come up with an initial line of COVID partition products and over several weeks, with input from several local restaurants and schools, we were able to refine those concepts that allowed increased capacity and added protection in high-density areas, Holdeman said.

The company’s bar partitions and booth back dividers are in restaurants and school cafeterias throughout the Dayton area, including Centerville, Dayton Public and Kettering school district, he said. Although the revenue created from the sales of those items was a fraction of C Pathe’s normal products and services, it has been able to “tread water” and keep all of its employees in a job, Holdeman said.

C Pathe’s vision for the next five years includes an aggressive growth strategy that involves leveraging its full suite of services into new and adjacent markets while at the same time growing business within its installed base of loyal clients, he said.

“In the past six months, we have engaged and successfully executed programs with more new customers operating in several new markets that we historically haven’t participated in,” Holdeman said.

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