Inside the Le Creuset Factory to Table sale

As promised, I am reporting on the Le Creuset Factory to Table (FTT) sale held in Minneapolis this weekend. The event sold out so fast that I was unable to get the coveted VIP tickets for Thursday evening that included an opportunity to buy a ‘mystery box’ of items for $50. I was relegated to a regular admittance ticket that came with a one and a half hour window to shop. Mine was Friday from 2:00 – 3:30 p.m., the earliest time slot I could snag.

The sale was located in a single hall of the Minneapolis Convention Center, tucked away in a far corner of the building. There weren’t any signs for the sale and I started to worry that I was in the wrong location as I trudged past halls and reception areas being set up for the Aveda Congress 2023 (which incidentally looked like a fascinating event). At the very last hall I spotted a banner slung across a folding table announcing the FTT. An apron-clad greeter scanned my ticket barcode and I was free to enter the sale.

What I saw as I grabbed a giant shopping cart set just inside the door was on par with what I had envisioned: folding tables piled with boxes of Le Creuset stretched across the sprawling room, each bearing a sign indicating the discount for items on that table. Despite having a limited time slot (which did not appear to be enforced), no one seemed to be in a hurry. People moseyed and meandered, zig-zagging their way around the room, which was only loosely organized by item type. The relaxed pace might have had something to do with the cash bar located on one side of the room; I saw plenty of people sipping wine and cocktails as they browsed.

Closeup of Flame colored Le Creuset Doufou pot sitting atop more boxes of Le Creuset pots.

Most tables were manned by one or two workers who restocked and rearranged items as supplies ran low. Mellow music played in the background, occasionally interrupted by a salesperson touting that day’s special deals. Floor workers struck up conversations with shoppers but managed to stay on the good side of pushy. The congenial atmosphere reminded me of an indoor flea market, albeit one with pricey merchandise.

While there was a mind-boggling amount of cookware and accessories displayed, it was not evenly distributed by color or function. Cerise, Flame, and Marseille dominated the scene, while other colors were conspicuously absent, including my preferred hue, Sea Salt. C’est la vie. However, I encountered colors I had not seen before such as Cool Mint and Sugar Pink, and I spied a piece or two of the latest color, Rhone (factory seconds). There were plenty of Dutch ovens, of course, plus a smattering of less common cast iron pieces like doufeu and tarte Tatin pans and a fair amount of Eiffel Tower items. Stoneware, bakeware, and accessories rounded out the selection, which was heavy on 9-inch skillets (the “deal of the day” at $87.50), tea kettles, and small Dutch ovens.

Even though smaller sizes were more plentiful, you could buy the largest pan Le Creuset makes, a 15.5 quart oval Dutch oven nicknamed “the Goose”. At 40% off the $750 retail price, it was a good deal, if not a fantastic one. Most items were discounted 40% to 50% off the sticker price, many of them factory seconds. While I briefly flirted with the doufeu pots, pink Dutch ovens, and one adorable Fleur pan, I sensibly brought home only one piece of enameled cast iron, a 3 quart oval baker that replaced a stoneware pan that developed a fatal crack. I also grabbed some silicone trivets and pinch bowls that coordinate with my kitchen cabinets.

Sugar Pink Le Creuset Dutch oven

As you might expect, the demographic of shoppers skewed toward older and female, but there were plenty of men and Gen Z browsing the aisles too. I asked a few of the shoppers what had brought them to the sale. Surprisingly enough, several said they did not own any Le Creuset prior to coming to the sale, with one woman buying her ticket solely after seeing the “mystery box” posted on TikTok. Others already had a few Le Creuset items and were trying to find a deal on a particular color or piece, and the rest were just browsing. Several people had completely filled their shopping cart while others, including me, only had one or two rather lonely-looking pieces.

Le Creuset made it easy to buy large quantities of items, as you could drive right up to the loading dock to collect your haul after you paid. My purchase was small enough for me to tote back to the parking garage, which, being attached to a convention center, was not cheap. The amount I saved on the pan was offset by the cost of parking and the entry ticket. Still, the savings were better than most online sales I’ve seen. I also discovered that there is a Le Creuset outlet just south of Minneapolis, a dangerous thing for me to learn.

The final FTT sale of the year happens next month in Philadelphia, but it too is sold out. One of the workers at the checkout thought there would be four FTT sales next year but was mum on the locations. If you do go to one of these sales, my advice would be to get a VIP ticket because popular specialty items like the fruit-shaped pans were sold out by the time I arrived. Don’t expect any earth-shattering deals – nothing was more than 50% off retail at this sale (except for mystery boxes, which you can only get with a VIP ticket). If you live near an outlet, the deals from the FTT might not be any better than what you would find there. But if you enjoy Le Creuset, the $10 admission is probably worth the cost.

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  • KatieK1  on  September 23, 2023

    Maybe it’s the lighting or the fact that its up against orange, but that pink Dutch oven is a turn-off color. Pastels just don’t work with bakeware.

  • Indio32  on  September 24, 2023

    Interesting, thanks for the report!

    Surprised to read of the smallish discounts combined with ‘seconds’ stock.

    For those that don’t mind using Amazon keeping an eye on prices regularly gets offers of 30% to 50% off original 1st quality prices with free next day delivery so no humping stuff home. Wonder why LC allow Amazon to offer discounts.

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