Indiana kitchen products company doesn’t plan to reopen

A company that made kitchen products in Indiana for 117 years has failed to find a buyer and won’t resume local production.

Production stopped in December at Columbian Home Products in Terre Haute. Plant manager Mike Vastag told employees this week that it won’t resume operations.

Columbian, which is known for producing pots and pans from a speckled, enameled metal product called Graniteware, was founded in Bellaire, Ohio, in 1871, moved to West Harvey, Illinois, in 1891, and then relocated to Terre Haute in 1902 after its Harvey plant was destroyed in a fire.

The Tribune-Star, citing a letter to workers from Vastag, reported that chief executive Dick Ryan is trying to sell the Graniteware and Joyce Chen trademarks, but any deal wouldn’t revive production or distribution of cookware in Terre Haute.

There were more than 80 employees, the newspaper reported. The company filed a layoff notice in September, saying 82 employees would lose their jobs.

“People are going to the non-stick stuff, but I feel there will be people out there who will miss it,” former employee Ken Stanford told WTHI-TV. “Not just in Terre Haute, but other people use that type of cookware in general.”

Columbian was owned by General Housewares Corp. from 1968 to 1998 before being acquired by its current ownership group, which is based in North Barrington, Illinois.

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