|THE PFALTZGRAFF FLEMINGTON OUTLET RETAIL STORE ~ NOW CLOSED|
It is so sad in these days of "outsourcing" and loss of American manufacturing that yet another American standby is no more. Pfaltzgraff, at one time America’s oldest pottery and family-owned since 1811, has closed - even the popular retail outlets are now gone - only the 'Pfaltzgraff' name remains as part of the large consortium 'Lifetime Brands'. All United States manufacturing has ceased; Pfaltzgraff’s Thomasville, PA factory was liquidated and equipment sold and disbursed in November 2005.
The historic Pfaltzgraff building has been a prominent landmark at the
corner of Mine Street and Stangl Road in Flemington NJ since its construction by
Fulper Pottery as
a factory in 1924. It has served as a popular tourist destination
and retail outlet, famous for dinnerware and ceramics bargains since the early
1930s. When Stangl Pottery closed in 1978, family-owned Pfaltzgraff
Pottery of York, PA quickly snapped up this popular shoppers' Mecca to use as
another outlet for their own factory seconds, overruns and discontinued items.
However, when Lifetime Brands purchased the Pfaltzgraff brand name and chain of
retail stores in 2005, change was imminent. By October 2005, Lifetime
Brands closed the Pfaltzgraff factory in Thomasville (York), PA, and transferred all
manufacturing to China and Thailand. Regarding
the October 2005 closure of the Pfaltzgraff Thomasville plant,
Lifetime Brands CEO Jeffrey Siegel stated this in 2005: "There's no
question that the people in the factory in York made a terrific product, but
there are literally thousands of dinnerware factories in the world capable of
making a terrific product."
Perhaps moving production overseas in 2005 was a poorly thought-out decision, or simply short-sighted... With production no longer in the United States, factory seconds and overruns were no longer available at the retail outlets ~ and it was these items -offered at bargain prices- that drew crowds of shoppers to Pfaltzgraff's outlets. With fewer bargains at the outlets, there are fewer shoppers as well, and then no need for retail outlets....
Also, it is much more difficult to monitor overseas manufacturing with regard to health and safety, as evidenced by the poisoned pet food, lead-laced children's toys and other dangerous products recently discovered coming from China. Even Lifetime Brands has issued a recall of Pfaltzgraff and Nautica dinnerware containing too much lead and cadmium ~ two extremely toxic heavy metals we certainly don't want near our food. More regarding this recall can be found here at the FDA website. Dinnerware manufactured in the United States has been required to adhere to strictly-monitored regulations regarding the use of lead and other restricted substances since the 1890s, ensuring a perfectly safe dinnerware product. As recent news headlines attest, however, it is very difficult to nearly impossible to properly monitor imported items....
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Some recent news articles regarding the closing of Pfaltzgraff stores:
Pfaltzgraff Will Close Outlet Around Holiday
by Matt DeBlass / Hunterdon County Democrat
FLEMINGTON -- The Pfaltzgraff outlet in Liberty Village is going out of business and will close sometime around Christmas. The shop, which has been in the old Stangl Pottery building since 1978, is one of 39 Pfaltzgraff stores nationwide that will close their doors this winter.
Pfaltzgraff's parent company, Lifetime Brands, is closing retail outlets for all of its brands, and will shift its focus to wholesale, internet and catalog sales. According to company spokesman Chris Kasper, the outlet stores have not been doing well financially in the last several years, especially with rising gas prices, which he said make people less inclined to make a trip to an outlet center.
Store manager Sherry Pursell said that the store should be open until around Christmas, and will be selling stock at 40% to 70% discounts until then. After that, she said, she has no idea what will happen to the building, or to the shop's 15 current employees.
The Pfaltzgraff building was originally Fulper Pottery Plant No. 2, and along with another plant on Mine Street produced the stoneware and art pottery that was one of Flemington's major industrial products from around 1805 to 1935. Fulper Pottery produced everything from architectural tile to art pottery, and one of the company's creations, a stoneware water dispenser that passed water from an upper jug through a filter into a chilled lower jug with a spigot, was the forerunner of the familiar modern water cooler.
In September of 1929 an early-morning fire destroyed the main pottery plant, and Plant No. 2 was subsequently expanded to become the main production center of the company's high-end pottery. The plant originally had only one kiln, but two more were added and the three round chimneys are still the building's most recognizable feature. By the time of the fire, only the finer work was still done in Flemington; the mass-production pieces were made at a factory in Trenton.
Shortly after the fire, the company changed its name to Stangl Pottery after Martin Stangl, a ceramic engineer who had taken over the business from the Fulper family in the 1920s. By 1935 the actual production work had all moved to Trenton. The company used the building as a showroom to sell fine pottery and factory seconds, making the old pottery plant one of Flemington's first factory outlets.
Star Ledger, County News Briefs
Friday, November 14, 2008
FLEMINGTON: Pfaltzgraff outlet stores, like the one in Liberty Village here, have become casualties of shifts in commerce and technology.
Their parent company, Lifetime Brands of Garden City, N.Y., will close the stores by the end of the year as it continues a shift from retail to internet, wholesale and catalogue sales.
The pending disappearance of the Pfaltzgraff stores marks a precipitous decline for a company started in 1811 in York County, Pa., and was not acquired by Lifetime Brands until 2005. The company reported $148 million in sales in 2004.
At the time, executives of Lifetime, a well-known kitchen supplier, called the acquisition "a great fit," predicting the combination would extend its reach and improve the marketing of Pfaltzgraff's flatware and other products.
But Lifetime has struggled with recalls of a few Pfaltzgraff and Nautica patterns because of lead or cadmium content. Last week, it reported a third-quarter loss of $700,000, although that was due to a $4.6 million charge for the costs of closing Pfaltzgraff and Farberware stores.
The local Pfaltzgraff outlet began life as part of the Fulper Pottery complex, becoming its production center after a 1929 fire destroyed the main plant. Martin Stangl acquired the business and moved production to Trenton in the 1930s, turning the plant into a showroom.
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New Owners and a NEW FUTURE for the old Stangl Factory Outlet Showroom!! Read the Hunterdon County Democrat article here:
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