Columbian to close

Tribune-Star file photo /Joseph C. Garza

Columbian to close: No buyer has emerged for Columbian Home Products, and the long-running Terre Haute business plans to shut its doors in the spring. 

Efforts to sell the company have fallen through, and Columbian Home Products -- one of Terre Haute's longest-running businesses -- will close its doors in the spring.

In a Dec. 30 letter obtained by the Tribune-Star, plant manager Mike Vastag told employees that owner and CEO Dick Ryan had informed him sale of Columbian was no longer a possibility.

Vastag told the 80-plus employees that production, which had ceased in December, will not be resumed. The business will sell the rest of its inventory in the coming months and shutter the plant for good in March or April.

Vastag wrote that Ryan is still trying sell the Graniteware and Joyce Chen trademarks, but doing so would not result in production or distribution from Terre Haute.

Columbian Home Products produces home goods and kitchenware such as pots, pans and its popular “Graniteware” pattern of enameled steel cookware, according to the company's website.

Layoffs began Tuesday, according to the letter, with about 15-seasonal employees being the first let go. The remainder of the staff will be cut in the coming weeks.

Vastag said that WorkOne has been notified of the layoffs and will assist the affected with resume preparation, signing up for unemployment benefits and searching for new jobs.

This week's announcement comes on the heels of a WARN notice sent to the Indiana Department of Workforce Development on Sept. 30, 2019.

At that time Ryan said he'd hoped to sell the business and his assets to a larger corporation, saying that while the company has been very successful with its products over the years, a number of economic factors have made operating a standalone home-goods business difficult.

Ryan has not returned the Tribune-Star's calls seeking comment.

Reporter Alex Modesitt can be reached at 812-231-4232 or at Follow him on Twitter @TribStarAlex.

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