Traulsen’s 80th and PBAC’s 30th Anniversaries Are Deeply Intertwined In New York Food Service History

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The Traulsen 1980’s Sales Team of: Clay, Griffo, Kuelpman, Posternak, Haley, Ricker, Bauer.

At the top among the iconic leaders in the annals of Metro New York foodservice one will always find the legendary Harry Traulsen Sr. Although Mr. Traulsen as we affectionately knew him passed in 1990, his legacy is being celebrated this year.

TraulsenSince its beginning 80 years ago, every Traulsen product has been the result of faithful dedication to the design and manufacturing standards set down by company founder, Mr. Traulsen, Sr. in 1938. He instilled a customer-focused perspective on innovative features and product development, which continues to inspire Traulsen’s employees and representatives today.

The company’s saga is one of the great “Made in New York” stories. When Harry Traulsen founded the firm in 1938, in Queens, New York, the College Point Company was focused on manufacturing bakery fixtures. As with many manufacturers, World War II was a catalyst for change.  It led to the company producing portable refrigeration boxes to preserve food under combat conditions for the Allies where electricity was not always available.


When the company returned to the commercial refrigeration business after the war, Traulsen implemented the design and manufacturing standards that the company follows to this day: Build the toughest, highest quality products in the industry—no compromises; source reliable components from industry leaders built to stringent, self-imposed specifications; develop advanced refrigeration technologies; and bring customers the long-term savings and value that comes from a long, efficient product life.

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For more than half of Traulsen’s history, PBAC co-founder Steve Bauer and Michael Posternak have had a major role in the rapid growth of the brand.

Steve Bauer states: “When I joined in  1972, Traulsen was a diamond in the rough largely built by hand by European machinist like our Queens’ neighbors Steinway Pianos. 

Over the course of 16 years, Steve moved from technical support to Regional Sales Manager and worked along side other industry legends like Richard Kirsner, Lynne Schultz, Keith Paris, Pepe Griffo and Dave Kuelpman.

Posternak came on board in 1976 to head sales. At the time Traulsen was still a mostly regional  brand but with plans to go national. “We were a very young sales team and to us the sky was the limit.” By 1988, Traulsen had grown 600% percent over 12 years and was ranked No. 1 in both quality and sales.

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A 1986 photo of then VP of Sales and Marketing Michael Posternak with Harry Traulsen Sr.

In 1988, Steve and  Michael founded PBA to represent leading manufacturers. Both Herb Rembert and Dave Aitkenhead soon also joined PBA. Since that time they have synergized the brand with other products and brought Traulsen forward in the marketplace.

Over the course of eight decades, this commitment to excellence led Traulsen to become part of the ITW Food Equipment Group in 1999. Traulsen joined a collection of leading foodservice equipment manufacturers with shared goals for the highest quality commercial kitchen products. ITW, known as the best in the business enabled Traulsen to continue its commitment to its people and homes where their products are made.

Today, Traulsen produces a full line of refrigeration equipment including coolers, freezers, equipment stands, and blast chillers. Their innovative features pertaining to air flow, cooling/defrosting, energy efficiency, and ergonomics has kept their equipment durable and reliable. The company manufactures tough, durable equipment for restaurants, schools, healthcare facilities and more.

Every Traulsen product is engineered, fabricated, assembled and tested at its facility in Fort Worth, Texas. The company’s pact with its customer base is focused upon that when a customer purchases equipment that is meant to last a long time, they deserve to know not only what goes into it, but also where it comes from.

As Traulsen enters its ninth decade, the company is an integral member of the ITW Food Equipment Group, a collection of leading food service equipment manufacturers with shared goals for the highest quality commercial kitchen products. Together with brands including Hobart, Vulcan, and Gaylord can truly help customers build the perfect commercial kitchen.

Even though Traulsen departed for the southwest some 25 years ago, you can still feel that “New York-New York: If You Can Make It Here-You Can Make It Anywhere” in every product.  It’s all based on Harry Traulsen Sr.’s corporate philosophy that began in Queens. It takes quality to make quality—and quality creates value for the long run.

It is also executed everyday in Metro New York foodservice as the firm’s local representatives PBAC bring Harry Traulsen’s New York style of focus on quality and service to the dealer, consultant and operator customer base. For PBAC, it comes naturally as its founders Michael Posternak and Steve Bauer both launched their foodservice careers at Traulsen.