The Longaberger Company
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Longaberger's old headquarters building, modeled on a giant Longaberger Medium Market Basket.
|Headquarters||Newark, Ohio, United States|
|Products||Baskets, vitrified pottery, wrought iron, wood crafts and other products for the home.|
The Longaberger Company is an American manufacturer and distributor of handcrafted maple wood baskets and other home and lifestyle products. It was one of the primary employers in the area near Dresden, Ohio with more than 8,200 employees and 1 billion dollars in sales. 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 in 1973, and was taken over in 2013 by CVSL, Inc. It is currently led by John Rochon Jr, the son of the John P. Rochon, founder and chairman of JRJR Networks and Richmont Holdings. There are currently fewer than 75 full-time and part-time employees. Approximately 30 of those still make baskets. A combination of a recession and changing tastes in home decor combined to send sales, which peaked in 2000 at $1 billion, to about $100 million in 2012.
Longaberger used direct marketing to sell products. The company had approximately 45,000 independent distributors (called Home Consultants) in the United States who sold Longaberger products directly to customers.
The old 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 the company's biggest seller, the "Medium Market Basket". The seven-story, 180,000-square-foot building was designed by The Longaberger Company, and executed by NBBJ and Korda Nemeth Engineering. The building opened in 1997. 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. The company stopped paying property taxes on the building at the end of 2014, and as of July 2016 intended to relocate all remaining employees to offices in nearby Frazeysburg.
Tami Longaberger, who led The Longaberger Co. to its demise after her father died in 1999, resigned as chief executive officer and director of the company on May 5, 2015. 
In 1919, J.W. Longaberger accepted an apprenticeship with The Dresden Basket Factory. Although 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.
One of J.W. and Bonnie's children, Dave, opened J.W.'s Handwoven Baskets in 1973. Starting in 1978, the company began selling Longaberger baskets through home shows using a direct marketing model. Each basket is handmade, signed and dated by the maker.
It was announced in February 2016 that the Basket Building would be closed, and remaining employees would relocate to Longaberger's manufacturing plant in Frayzesburg, Ohio.
- Tim, Feran (April 25, 2013). (April 25, 2013). The Columbus Dispatch http://www.dispatch.com/content/stories/business/2013/04/25/longaberger-new-owner-seeking-more-direct-sales-companies.html. Missing or empty
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- The Longaberger Company. "The History of The Longaberger Company". Retrieved 2008-01-08.
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2016-02-28. Retrieved 2016-02-27.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to The Longaberger Company.|
- Official website
- The Travel Channel "John Ratzenberger's Made In America".
- World Collectors Net Longaberger Information and Message Board