Fenton announced the details of the production shutdown at the Williamstown plant during meetings with employees on Friday.
A published report in 2005 said Fenton Art Glass is the largest manufacturer of handmade colored art glass in the United States and had 450 employees. Its products were available in more than 4,500 retail shops across the nation.
The company’s decision announced Friday was a matter of necessity.
“It’s not something we want to do, but it’s something we have to do in order to avoid overproduction,” Fenton said in a public statement issued on Friday afternoon. “Most of our employees will be off work for three consecutive weeks sometime between now and Feb. 28.”
He explained that the company was able to ship Valentine and Easter orders early, and is currently facing a low backlog of orders with business expected to pick up when Fenton’s new catalog is published and the business’ next appearance on the shopping TV channel QVC.
The Fenton gift shop off Henderson Avenue next to the factory will remain open for business during the shutdown. Regular hours run from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and from noon to 5 p.m. Sunday, said Jennifer Minehart, gift shop customer service.
“There will be no tours during those weeks, but a 20-minute video will be shown in the museum for visitors,” she said.
Fenton noted that the company is working on sales initiatives, ranging from the recent launch of its new Artware Division to a series of meetings with department store buyers and others who could become new Fenton Art Glass customers.
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