The company instead moved to a new model: jewelry and decorative beads. So far, the foray is producing results, Fenton said.
"Our sales continue to increase," he said. "We're in a new category for us, not in a new category for the marketplace."
"Our progress is based on getting in front of new customers. We're pleased with the progress we're making, I think," he said.
Fenton said that along with foreign competition, the decorative glass industry suffered when major retailers started buying glassware, putting a strain on the mom-and-pop business that he usually sold to.
In other words, he said, people lost interest in collectibles manufactured from American glass companies. Natural gas prices rose too, which cut into the razor-thin profit margins.
Tripp said that Blenko receives most of its business from mom-and-pop stores. Considerations for the style of glass people want to buy are also challenges that face the industry, she said.
"Some things are bound to go out," she said.
Reach Zac Taylor at zachary.tay...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5189.