Longaberger Begins Making Pottery In America For First Time As Longaberger® Pottery Works Opens
For the first time in its 40-year history, The Longaberger Company is making its own pottery in the United States. As a major step in its "Project Eagle” effort to move to an all-U.S.-made line, Longaberger has now begun making its pottery in a 300,000 square-foot facility – Longaberger® Pottery Works – located at Niagara Ceramics in Buffalo, New York.
A ribbon cutting ceremony was held May 20. In attendance was CEO Tami Longaberger, President Mike Trempe, Niagara President Bob Lupica, a number of Buffalo area officials, Longaberger employees and a large contingent of Longaberger sales field representatives from throughout the U.S. "This is a historic and exciting step forward in our mission to create more American jobs and to support American craftsmanship,” said Ms. Longaberger. "While Longaberger baskets have always been made in America, bringing pottery to U.S.-made is a major milestone for the company.
"Our Home Consultants and customers want quality items that are made here in the USA. By launching our own pottery works, we’re delivering on our promise.”
The partnership between Longaberger and Niagara Ceramics means that the vast knowledge of potterymaking at Niagara is available to Longaberger’s pottery makers, who will be crafting the company’s beloved Woven Traditions® pottery.
Longaberger Woven Traditions Pottery was originally launched in 1992 and was made by suppliers in the USA until 2005, when pottery-making was moved overseas because of supplier factory relocations.
Ms. Longaberger announced her company’s Project Eagle initiative last July at Longaberger’s national sales convention. The purpose is to make the company’s entire product line American made.
”When Tami challenged us to bring everything in our line back to Made in America, we knew we needed to start with pottery,” said Trempe, Longaberger President and COO. "What we didn’t know was whether we could find the right domestic partner to make it possible for us to become our own pottery maker. We’re thrilled to have found the skills we need here in Buffalo.”
Pottery has been crafted on the site in Buffalo since 1901. Trempe said that, initially, 22 people will be working on Longaberger pottery making in Buffalo, and that the number will rise as needed to fill customer demand. Longaberger initially expects to make about a million pottery pieces a year.
Pottery and baskets are linked in Longaberger’s history.
"Our family’s basket making heritage actually began when my grandfather, J.W. Longaberger, made baskets for Ohio’s pottery industry. They were used to move the green-ware to and from the kiln,” said Ms. Longaberger. "From there, he started making other kinds of baskets that found their way into homes around town. So by crafting our own pottery now, we’re coming back home to our roots.”
Founded in 1973, The Longaberger Company (www.longaberger.com) is America’s premier maker of handcrafted baskets and offers a variety of other home and lifestyle products, including pottery and other tableware, wrought iron, fabric accessories, handbags and specialty foods. There are approximately 25,000 independent Home Consultants located in the U.S. and Canada who sell Longaberger products directly to customers.
Click for Tami's thoughts on this historic occasion.
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