November 23, 2004: Headlines: COS - Peru: Pottery: Business: Maine Today: Peru RPCV Ron Garfinkle started Monroe Salt Works in a Waldo County barn more than 30 years ago

Peace Corps Online: Directory: Peru: Peace Corps Peru: The Peace Corps in Peru: November 23, 2004: Headlines: COS - Peru: Pottery: Business: Maine Today: Peru RPCV Ron Garfinkle started Monroe Salt Works in a Waldo County barn more than 30 years ago

By Admin1 (admin) (pool-151-196-36-89.balt.east.verizon.net - 151.196.36.89) on Saturday, November 27, 2004 - 7:18 pm: Edit Post

Peru RPCV Ron Garfinkle started Monroe Salt Works in a Waldo County barn more than 30 years ago

Peru RPCV Ron Garfinkle started Monroe Salt Works in a Waldo County barn more than 30 years ago

Peru RPCV Ron Garfinkle started Monroe Salt Works in a Waldo County barn more than 30 years ago

Monroe Salt Works being sold to N.H. company

Associated Press

©Copyright 2004 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

MONROE, Maine Monroe Salt Works, a ceramics maker that includes a chain of retail stores from Bangor to Boston, is being sold to a specialty housewares company in New Hampshire.

Ron Garfinkle of Brooks, who started Monroe Salt Works in a Waldo County barn more than 30 years ago, said the sale to Tawinbi Co. Inc. of Keene, N.H., is expected to be completed in January. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Monroe Salt Works, known for its distinctive salt-glazed pottery, grew to include 50 employees. About 40 of them work in the stores, which are expected to remain open.

Tawinbi partner Tom Abert said the purchase offer does not include the production facility in Monroe. Abert said his company plans to shift production to Thailand, but some of the 11 production workers in Monroe may be offered jobs with Tawinbi.

"Thailand has a centuries-old ceramic industry," he said, and with the rise of nearby China as a manufacturer of inexpensive goods, the country has worked to create high-quality production facilities to fill a niche.

The couple who started Tawinbi, Jesper and Sitda Bisballe, live in Thailand, Abert said, and they can use local connections to ensure high-quality production.

Garfinkle, 61, moved to Maine in 1971 after completing a three-year residency in pottery making in North Carolina and spending two years in the Peace Corps in Peru.

In 1972, Garfinkle launched the business in Monroe, keeping it a two-person operation until the mid-1980s.

A state-run business initiative that brought Maine crafters to the New York Gift Show in 1986 connected Monroe Salt Works to a national and international market.

"My business really took off after that," he said Monday.

Garfinkle opened his first retail store in Searsport in 1990. He has since opened stores in Belfast, Ellsworth, Lincolnville, Boothbay Harbor, at the Bangor Mall during part of the year, and in Boston and Arlington, Mass.

Salt glazing, a technique Garfinkle learned during his North Carolina residency, relies on salt being introduced into the kiln during the firing process, producing a distinctive but unpredictable look.

"It´s got a great look to it," Garfinkle said. "The results are always a surprise."

Garfinkle said he is confident he is leaving his lines with an energetic firm that will do justice to the pottery.

"We´ve had a good run here," he said.





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Story Source: Maine Today

This story has been posted in the following forums: : Headlines; COS - Peru; Pottery; Business

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