US & Canada

Big basket building in Ohio to be sold

Longaberger basket Image copyright Derek Jensen/Wikimedia Commons
Image caption The company housed inside the basket makes baskets and other home goods

An iconic building shaped like a basket in Newark, Ohio, home to a basket-making company, is to be sold.

Nicknamed the "Big Basket," and belonging to the home decor Longaberger Company, the building is looking for a buyer.

Employees who work inside the seven-storey basket building are being moved to another location in Ohio.

It opened in 1997 and once housed 500 employees of the company, the Columbus Dispatch reports.

Now, the company is facing hard economic times. The last employees working in the building are moving out this week.

"The Big Basket is like the St Louis Arch," Jim Klein, a former Longaberger president, told the newspaper.

He wants to get the building on the National Register of Historic Places.

"It's a really important part of south-eastern Ohio history."

The building's shape was the company's founder's idea, the Dispatch reports. It cost $30 million (£22.5 million) to build.

Dave Longaberger had a very specific idea for the building, the Dispatch reports, and would not settle on a design until architects agreed to make it look exactly like one of the company's baskets.

Image copyright Instagram
Image caption People take to social media to display photos of themselves with the basket

A Facebook group titled "Preserving the Longaberger 'Big Basket' as a National Treasure" has 1,683 members. Mr Klein keeps members updated on his mission to get the building on the National Register in the group.

"Wish we could all donate enough $ to buy the big basket and turn it into a museum. I realise this isn't feasible at all, but wishful thinking," one member writes.

Another writes, "It isn't fair. It's a landmark Dave built. What happened to this [company]. So sad."

Not everyone at Longaberger is sad to be leaving the basket, though.

Brenton Baker, director of marketing and communications for the company, told the Ohio Advocate that the office they are moving to is more convenient and they look forward to being closer to their colleagues.

"It is not a sad thing we are leaving," Mr Baker told the newspaper.

"People keep saying they feel sad for the employees. Don't feel sad for us. I cannot wait for next week. For me, next week can't come fast enough. For the people on the outside, it's probably not that way."

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