PRESS RELEASES and other Important Information
Kokomo Opalescent Glass has new owner
October 4, 2017
The nation’s oldest art glass factory, Kokomo Opalescent Glass, has changed hands.
New owner Jeff Shaw stands Wednesday at Kokomo Opalescent Glass, which he purchased last month.
New owner Jeff Shaw, who purchased the business on Sept. 18, said in an interview with the Tribune that he has an engineering background and has worked in manufacturing management his entire career, adding that he is excited to continue production in Kokomo and explore new growth.
“My plans for the future are to continue producing the products right here," said Shaw, who added that he lives just west of Indianapolis. "I think there’s a lot of value in the heritage of the company. They’ve been here since 1888, being on the original site, the original building, the original manufacturing processes. I think there’s a lot of value, I think the marketplace respects that, I think our customers appreciate that about us, so I would not want to do anything that disrupts that."
Departing the company is Kokomo Opalescent Glass CEO John O’Donnell.
“As for myself, I will be leaving the company to pursue other business interests," O'Donnell said in a statement emailed to the Tribune. "KOG President Dick Elliott will be staying on to assist Jeff with production operations. I wish Jeff and the entire Kokomo Opalescent family the very best. Thank you everyone for the friendship and support you have given us over the years. I hope that you will continue your support of KOG into the future."
O'Donnell also said that he and Elliott have been looking for a new owner for the past year and a half, and expressed confidence that Shaw is the right fit for the company. Elliott said they have been looking for a new owner as a means to secure its future leadership, and said they were “delighted” to have Shaw on board.
“I think we’ve got a clear path going forward for the company at this point,” he said.
Although he has abundant experience in manufacturing, Shaw said he’s new to the art glass industry, calling his time in the company “an ongoing educational experience.”
He’s talked with other employees about new areas to explore with their production, including houseware and architectural products, he said.
“There’s a lot of these ideas that are kind of organic to the organization … there are so many potential ways to grow that the real challenge is just picking one and seeing it through before going on to the next,” said Shaw.
Kokomo Opalescent Glass produces more than 22,000 varieties and colors of opalescent glass, a non-transparent glass in which colors are presented by reflected light. Customers can purchase KOG’s paperweights, glass bowls, serving trays, suncatchers, glass vases, and many other items.
It has been in continuous operation at its current 1310 S. Market St. location since 1888.
Oceanside Glasstile Welcomes Uroboros Glass with Open Arms
December 27, 2016
In September of 2016, Oceanside Glasstile had the amazing opportunity to acquire art glass manufacturing equipment, formulas and intellectual property from world-renowned company Spectrum ® Glass. Shortly after the acquisition, Uroboros Glass, another major player in the art glass industry, announced they too would be looking for a company to take on their production processes. After great deliberation, Eric Lovell, Founder and President of Uroboros Glass came to the conclusion " there were other credible candidates who sought to acquire Uroboros and its technology in recent months, it was the OGT people and culture that put them in the winning seat for me. " And so Oceanside Glasstile welcomes Uroboros Glass products with open arms.
2017 is going to be a year Oceanside Glasstile never forgets. " The opportunity to continue the legacies of Spectrum and Uroboros on the eve of OGT´s 25th year is an absolute honor! We are so excited to return to the art glass roots we were founded on, " expresses Vincent Moiso, VP of Business Development. So the preparation continues on. In late November, OGT received the first of many equipment transfers from Spectrum and now the factory waits excitedly to welcome the Uroboros equipment.
Over the next few months, Uroboros plans to wind down production so they can start to facilitate the move to OGT. Along with the equipment comes some of Uroboros´ best players who, like Spectrum, will be OGT´s guiding light during the transition. They will help with set-up and training of the OGT engineers, furnace handlers and chemist. From this collaboration, the art glass industry can anticipate a ramp up of Uroboros product that includes, but is not limited to, System 96®sheet and frit, FX90 fusible products and their iconic stained glass sheets. Oceanside Glasstile hopes to get sheet glass back on track in late May with frit, stringer, noodle, rods, etc., following in June.
Previously, Spectrum Glass and Uroboros worked closely together to create some of the best quality fusible glass the art glass industry had to offer known as System 96. Oceanside Glasstile looks forward to carrying on this amazing offering. Everyone at OGT continues to feel incredibly honored to be entrusted with such an adored product. There is sincere admiration for Uroboros and all they have provided to the art glass industry over the last 44 years, and OGT is excited to continue that legacy.
Oceanside Glasstile is committed to the same level of quality and service the art glass industry is accustomed to from these two beloved companies. There is an amazing team of people in place who put their heart and soul into the work they do and can not wait to start working with the incredible people of the Art Glass community.
September 29, 2016
Dear customers, fans and friends,
It will be yet another shock in a tumultuous year in the glass industry, but it has become unavoidable. After 43 ½ years of continual operations in Portland, Uroboros will discontinue operations in early 2017. Our closure will be with pride in a job well done, and in an orderly step-by-step fashion over the next 9-12 months. While we certainly hope to negotiate a deal with a new owner to move Uroboros and restart production of its products in a new location, nothing is certain at this time.
First, A Big THANK YOU!
Along with many hundreds of employees over our 43 years, each and everyone one of you, whether in distributorship, retailing, production studios, or as individual artists have played a part making Uroboros the legacy art glass brand that it has become. We have worked closely with many of you for decades, have enjoyed your artistic and business successes, and sympathized with your difficulties. Thank you for your efforts and support over the years. All of us at Uroboros and I truly appreciate it!
Times have changed, and the fact is that the Uroboros business model and location has lost viability for the long term. This situation has developed partly due to the very high costs of meeting many new environmental, fire safety, and seismic regulations now required by our city and state. Also because of market factors, the urbanization and gentrification of our location, and by my impending retirement age. It is not any one of these factors, but a combination of all of them.
You will ask whether the business could be sold, and thereby continued so that you and others could continue their work, and our skilled staff could keep their jobs. This of course is my preferred outcome. I am already in active discussions with credible interested parties. My goal is to find a way to provide a continuation of jobs for our staff if at all possible, continuation of your supply of Uroboros’ unique products, and a continuation of the brand itself. If and when a change in ownership becomes settled, I will of course announce it publicly immediately. The individuals from our staff and I will personally assist the new owners to get up to speed on both the technical and visual attributes of our products.
Timetable (as forecast now):
Also, effective immediately:
In the remaining months, we will continue to provide you the same great service and outstanding products as we always have, and possibly a few new ones as we wind things up. And importantly, we will continue to actively work to find a new owner with the resources, technical expertise and product awareness to carry on the Uroboros brand for another 40 years!
Thanks again to all!
Eric Lovell, President and Founder
September 22, 2016
Dear Spectrum Glass Customer;
At long last we have some wonderful and exciting news to share with you about Spectrum Glass products! We have finalized the sale of Spectrum® Glass and our System 96® brands, equipment, and formulas to world-renowned glass manufacturer Oceanside Glasstile (OGT) in Carlsbad, CA. A long-time Spectrum customer, Oceanside Glasstile manufactures high-end cast glass tile for residential, commercial and pool applications. For almost twenty-five years OGT has led their segment of the art glass industry with innovation and design. Upon receiving the announcement about Spectrum's closing, the opportunity to become the new manufacturer of Spectrum Glass products was evident - not only for the benefit of securing material for their own product lines, but a chance to serve the global art glass industry as a whole.
As an industry-leading glass tile manufacturer, Oceanside Glasstile is already experienced in colored glass production. With the acquisition of Spectrum Glass'equipment and color formulas, as well as receiving extensive in-person training by Spectrum's key manufacturing experts, Oceanside Glasstile will have the knowledge and tools necessary to continue the legacy of unique and popular Spectrum sheet glass that customers have relied upon for forty years.
Spectrum Glass products will now be manufactured at OGT's state-of-the-art facility located in Tijuana, Mexico. With their long-standing commitment to being an environmentally concerned manufacturer, they will be utilizing the same baghouse emission controls that Spectrum Glass has used for over twenty years.
We couldn't be more pleased to have Oceanside Glasstile assume the manufacturing of Spectrum's glass products. We are confident that their commitment to maintaining the brand's attributes will assure that future generations will be able to source the same beautiful, consistent and high quality art sheet glass.
The owners and employees are passionate, dedicated, and ready to take on the task at hand - in fact the transition is already under way. We will provide additional details and updates regarding our collective progress throughout the months ahead.
CEO, Spectrum Glass Company, Inc.
President, Spectrum Glass Company, Inc.
Spectrum 5-11-16 Announcement
Additionally, the entire U.S. art glass industry is now being evaluated by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) with respect to potential new regulations. Long-standing interpretations of air quality regulations are being reevaluated, and if new regulations were applied to our facility, it would require substantial capital expenses. Spectrum Glass Company has operated well within existing environmental guidelines and has been the only stained glass manufacturer to employ baghouse technology on furnace exhaust. Still, we have already accrued extraordinary, unanticipated expenses since the start of the EPA evaluation and cannot withstand additional investments of an unknown scale for an already faltering business. Due to all these factors, it's no longer financially feasible for Spectrum Glass to continue to operate.
Our plan is to produce glass for another 60-75 days. We will begin looking for other manufacturers to whom we can transition our product lines. We will simultaneously begin the process of selling the remainder of our existing inventory. Our sales staff will work with our distributors to make the process flow as smoothly as possible.
We wish to sincerely thank each of you for your years of support for Spectrum Glass products, and deeply apologize for any hardship this change brings about for you, and your customers.
CEO, Spectrum Glass Company, Inc
President, Spectrum Glass Company, Inc.