Monday, October 05, 2009
At the southern edge of Amish country is the small town of Dresden, Ohio. This town is best known to crafters and basket collectors as the home of Longaberger Basket Company. This company has become well known across the nation as a quality handmade basket producer. It quickly grew into a very large company selling mostly thru a network of home sales consultants. At its peak in the early 2000’s it had over 8000 employees.
There is a self guided tour of the factory and an extensive gift shop area for those who just have to have one more basket or other related gift. There is also a section of the factory devoted to those who would like to make their own Longaberger basket. We enjoyed the factory tour and could not help but notice how few people seemed to be working there. We found out that since around 2002 there has been a steady drop off of demand. Currently the workforce is down to around 1500.
After visiting the gift shop, we decided to head to downtown Dresden. I guess not surprisingly, the shopping area is dedicated to the sale of baskets and other crafts. It seems to have suffered the same lack of demand that the factory has experienced and had a defeated feeling to it.
Hopefully, this made in America factory will see a rebound.