Steuben Glassworks Closing

Corning, NY - The Ohio owner of luxury and art glass maker Steuben Glass is ending production of handcrafted lead crystal in western New York after 108 years. Collector members of ARTKABINETT social network have enjoyed their masterful creations for decades. Schottenstein Stores Corp. of Columbus, Ohio, bought the business from longtime owner Corning Inc. in 2008. Schottenstein said Wednesday that declining sales in the choppy economy have been eroding Steuben Glass' profitability. Schottenstein spokesman Ron Sykes says the Steuben Glass store in New York City will remain open until its inventory, from wine glasses to ornamental art, is sold. A Corning Incorporated spokesman says they will re-purchase the brand name, but have no plans to produce the glass. The brand's only factory, which employs 60 people in Corning, is to close Nov. 29. Corning Inc., which makes glass for flat-panel displays, emission control systems, telecommunications and scientific applications, is buying back the Steuben Glass brand name for an undisclosed price. Steuben Glass closing the doors on its Corning factory and store in November means a loss of jobs and money for "The Crystal City". To collectors, the shutdown means the end of an era. Steuben has spent more than 100 years making glass. For 40 of those years, Thomas Dimitroff has been buying, selling and collecting the hand-made valuables. He owns several hundred pieces, proudly displayed across his Corning home. "It’s a symbol of quality. It says in many ways, Steuben Glass and everything associated with it has to do with brilliance and quality." Dimitroff says he is surprised to see the factory and store go. Dimitroff says the glass helped put Corning on the map The company announced it would close them both, as well as the New York City story, in November for economic reasons. The crystal has been used as an official gift for US dignitaries for years., And with 60 people losing their jobs, the city could suffer. "Probably not as much economically. But as I said, if we lose those talented people, they can't find jobs with Corning Inc, they will leave. We are going to lose some business and wonderful people." The Corning Museum of Glass has more than 2500 pieces of Steuben Glass on its shelves, and hundreds more tucked away in private libraries. But not to worry, the Corning Museum of Glass is completely separate from Steuben so operations will continue as normal. But for some collectors, the loss of Steuben Glass is more than just economic, it's a loss to tradition. "I have 8 grandchildren, and they all have one of the ornaments. I have one daughter who may have a baby, I don't know, but I don't want her to not have one Steuben piece just in case,” says Becky Petrusci of Arlington, Virginia.”