Monday, October 1, 2012

The Longaberger Company aka The basket Building USA

The Longaberger Company is an American manufacturer of handcrafted maple wood baskets and offers other home and lifestyle products, including pottery, wrought iron, fabric accessories and specialty foods. It is one of the primary employers in the southeastern Ohio area near Dresden, Ohio. Started in Dresden, the company is now headquartered in Newark, Ohio. 

A family-owned and operated business, the Longaberger Company was started by Dave Longaberger, and after his death is owned by daughters Tami Longaberger and Rachel Longaberger. Although Longaberger is a family-owned business, there are approximately 45,000 independent home consultants located throughout the U.S. who sell Longaberger products directly to customers, a method of direct marketing similar to Tupperware parties. Each basket is signed and dated by the maker and the company's stamp is placed on the bottom. 

The Longaberger corporate headquarters on State Route 16 is a local landmark and a well-known example of novelty architecture, since it takes the shape of their biggest seller, the "Medium Market Basket".The basket handles weigh almost 150 tons and can be heated during cold weather to prevent ice damage. Originally, Dave Longaberger wanted all of the Longaberger buildings to be shaped like baskets, but only the headquarters was completed at the time of his death. After his death, further basket-shaped buildings were vetoed by his daughters. Basket-making started with Dave's father J.W. Longaberger in 1919 when he took an apprenticeship with The Dresden Basket Factory. Eventually J.W. came to love and perfect the art of basket making. 

Even when The Dresden Basket Factory closed as a result of The Great Depression, he still made baskets on the weekends. He and his wife Bonnie Jean Longaberger (Gist) eventually raised enough money to purchase the closed basket factory and start a business of their own.


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