The Longaberger Co. plans to begin making some of its pottery products in Buffalo under a partnership with Niagara Ceramics that is expected to create about 22 new jobs locally.
The partnership is an offshoot of Longaberger’s longer-term plan, first announced last summer, to have all of its pottery products made in the United States, rather than overseas.
The venture initially is expected to produce about 1 million pieces a year for Longaberger’s “Woven Traditions” pottery line. Longaberger officials said they expected the number of workers at the Niagara Ceramics plant devoted to the pottery line to increase as demand grows.
“It’s going to be a wonderful, wonderful celebration of our Made in America commitment, bringing jobs back in New York,” said Tami Longaberger, the company’s chief executive officer, in a video to the company’s sales consultants and customers.
Longaberger traditionally has made its signature baskets in the United States, but the company’s Woven Traditions pottery products, which were launched in 1992 and made by U.S. suppliers until 2005, have been produced overseas for the past eight years as the company’s suppliers shifted their factories overseas.
Pottery is Longaberger’s second-best selling product line, behind its baskets. Longaberger officials said having its pottery made in the United States, rather than China, will reduce the turnaround time on orders to about three weeks, compared with the current eight-to-10-week time frame.
Niagara Ceramics took over the cavernous former Buffalo China plant at 75 Hayes Place in Buffalo after Buffalo China fell into deep financial troubles.
As part of Longaberger’s “Project Eagle,” the company said it plans to bring all of its product manufacturing back to the United States over a period of several years. In all, the shift to American manufacturing is expected to create about 500 jobs.
“Bringing pottery to U.S.-made is a major milestone for the company,” Tami Longaberger said in a statement. “Consultants and customers want quality items that are made here in the U.S.A. By launching our own pottery works, we’re delivering on that promise.”
Tami Longaberger is expected to attend a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the Niagara Ceramics factory at 1 p.m. on May 20, followed by a public event at 5 p.m. at the Adam’s Mark Hotel.