COLUMBUS, Ohio, July 27, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- The Longaberger Company, maker of hand-crafted baskets and an icon of American craftsmanship for nearly 40 years, announced today that it has begun the process of transitioning its full line to U.S.-made products.
CEO and President Tami Longaberger made the announcement at the company's annual national sales convention in Columbus today.
"We're coming home. I've directed our team to begin the process of making us a completely American-made company again," declared Ms. Longaberger in her keynote speech before more than 3,000 members of the independent sales field from around the country who gathered for the three-day event.
Ms. Longaberger noted that, along with its trademark baskets, the company has been offering an extensive line of pottery, serving pieces and tabletop merchandise for many years. She recounted how, in the early 2000s, Longaberger's source of American-made pottery moved its manufacturing overseas. Beginning in 2005, the company was forced to import pottery in order to meet its customers' needs. She then explained how she had reached the decision announced today.
"As I've talked with you and others in the sales field, as I've thought long and hard about who we are and what makes us special, I keep coming back to something fundamental," said Ms. Longaberger. "Our company was founded in America's Heartland. We stand for American values. We want to create more American jobs. We want to help rebuild our country."
The company estimates that its transition to U.S. sourcing for the entire line will create at least 500 American jobs, and could create more, as sales volumes grow.
She said that the transition will take place over a period of several years and that an internal team has already begun work on a plan for converting the product line to U.S.-made, an effort the company has named Project Eagle. She noted that Longaberger has enough space at its basket making campus to house a pottery-making operation, and that partnerships with existing vendors may help speed the process.
"We're a company that can set an example for the country to follow. I believe Longaberger can be a beacon," Ms. Longaberger declared. "We have 30,000 entrepreneurs in thousands of communities. Through them, we'll help rebuild America one community at a time."
The Longaberger Company's headquarters is located in Newark, Ohio and its manufacturing campus is in Dresden, Ohio. The company is privately-held. Its independent sales force is located throughout the U.S.
SOURCE The Longaberger Company