EAST LIVERPOOL, Ohio (WYTV) – A fire at the Hall China Company on Monday night is not the first fire at a pottery business in East Liverpool.
In November, a fire destroyed the W.C. Bunting Co. The pottery decal operation had to shut down after the Nov. 7 blaze. Our station wanted to know what has happened since then.
Sales manager Patrick O’Hara said Tuesday that his father started the company in their family’s basement in 1946. W.C. Bunting started on Globe Street in East Liverpool but it now has a new home.
It merged with Cirm Custom Decorating out of East Palestine and moved into its State Route 14 building in Unity Township on March 6. Before that merger, O’Hara said they stayed afloat by contract decorating all orders out to friendly competitors.
And he outlined a few of the driving forces behind the decision to merge, including the fact that the original building was beyond repair and the lot was too small. O’Hara also said buying or building new would mean another nine to 12 months before reopening and his customer base would not have waited that long.
Employees only received six months of unemployment, so those benefits were quickly running out, O’Hara said.
He said they offered jobs to all of his 30 or so employees after the merger. Only about a third of them accepted, for various reasons, including the commute.
“Although in a completely different market than we were, they did primarily dinnerware, they still did the same thing we did which was apply and fire imprints onto ceramics. So all the equipment we needed was already there,” O’Hara said.
And O’Hara said production is expanding.
“They’ve got some equipment there that we did not have that enables us to do some things that we could not have done before. So it has entered us into some new areas of some markets that we already were in and into some markets that we were not in,” he said.
And O’Hara said the W.C. Bunting name is sticking around because it is too well known in the marketplace to throw away. W.C. Bunting Co. has been in business since 1880 and has been a ceramic decorating firm since 1946.