Dean & DeLuca is using sponsorship to support its growth ambitions.

The gourmet food retailer—which was purchased by Bangkok-based Pace Development Corp. in 2014—is using sponsorship to relaunch its brand on the global stage, with a focus on the U.S. market.

The retailer plans to open up to ten large format stores (8,000 to 12,000 square feet) in key U.S. markets within the next two years, with an exponential number of smaller stores in each market. The company focuses on opening two or three large stores followed by a handful of smaller stores in suburban and other high-traffic areas.

Dean & DeLuca currently operates roughly 47 stores globally, with 11 in North America.

The company is using sponsorship in both existing and potential markets. New ties include the Dean & DeLuca Invitational PGA Tour tournament in Fort Worth, Texas and the Tribeca Film Festival, with more on the way.

“We have been fairly quite over the past 15 years, and so we’re exploring options to reintroduce ourselves to a much wider audience and tell the Dean & DeLuca story on a global scale,” said Jay Coldren, managing director of Dean & DeLuca market operations.

“We see film, music, art and other lifestyle events as a complement to our core food messaging,” he said, noting that food festivals are also a possibility.

The company focuses on properties that draw its core demographic: aspirational foodies “obsessed with food and other epicurean products.”

Uses PGA Tournament To Promote Texas Entry
Dean & DeLuca partnered with the PGA Tour to lay the groundwork for expansion in the Dallas/Fort Worth market. The company in February announced six-year title sponsorship of the venerated tournament.

“We are aggressively looking at the Dallas/Fort Worth market. We’re close on two locations and looking for a number of additional sites,” said Coldren. The company does not currently operate any stores in Texas, he said.

In addition to the tournament’s location in a potential new market, the retailer was drawn to the PGA Tour’s global popularity and shared attributes of excellence, passion and performing at the highest level.

“From an international awareness play and taking the brand global, the PGA Tour reaches the right audience. It’s synergist with our brand.”

The retailer activated last weekend’s Dean & DeLuca Invitational with a 15,000 square foot on-site store that offered coffee, pastries and other gourmet food items. The company plans to expand activation at future tournaments, said Coldren, noting that the partnership was signed just a few months ago.

One idea under consideration: cooking demonstrations by celebrity chefs.

“We’re foodies and forgers from New York, and we’re still feeling our way through this. We see a ton of opportunities on how we’re going to expand the partnership going forward,” said Coldren, who joined the company earlier this year.

London-based Finch & Partners approached the PGA Tour about a potential partnership in late 2015, said Rob Ohno, PGA Tour senior vice president of business development. Charles Finch, founder of the brand/entertainment consultancy, sits on the Dean & DeLuca board.

“They reached out to inquire about opportunities available for their client. We started with them, which led to a meeting with the CEO of Pace Development.”

The Tour may explore corporate gifting opportunities for the retailer with other PGA Tour partners, he added.

Lagardere Sports and Entertainment handles on-site execution.