Liberty Tabletop

"Liberty Tabletop in Sherrill, NY is now the only Made in USA manufacturer of flatware. We’ve been admiring their charming Honey Bee pattern, but they have silverware patterns for everyone, whether your taste runs to classic or contemporary, or even Celtic, Nautical, Lodge, or Seasonal. The remarkable honeybee flatware design puts two disappearing species on your table: the Honey Bee and the 100% Made in the USA Product. You can buy American and help save our honey bees, each purchase supports the Pollinator Health Research Fund at Cornell University’s College of Agriculture and Sciences."
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Setting the Table: The Last Icon of 100% Pure American Made Flatware

One day, the head of tooling and design at Liberty Tabletop, Eric Lawrence, comes to the owners, Greg Owens and Matt Roberts, with a niche pattern idea for flatware. Eric’s a big guy, proud American, creative, eclectic, and pitches Greg and Matt on a “calavera” pattern. Calavera in Spanish means skull. It's something he and his friends would love to have on their personal tables.

Liberty already had strong traditional bestselling patterns, with names like Betsy Ross and Annapolis, found on tables from the hallowed wardrooms of the U.S. Navy, to cottages in Martha’s Vineyard. They also had some other niche modern flatware with wonderful monikers like American Garden, Celtic and Old Harbor.

Why not experiment and tap into a unique aspect of American culture, the idea of individual expression.

As owner Matt Roberts has made clear to his staff and customers, “We’re not afraid to try new things…and we can change direction quickly.” The owners decide to try it, telling Lawrence and his co-designer, Chris Roberts, “Tool-it-up!” 

“We’re going to continue to build the brand and continue to look for creative ways, or disruptive ways to participate in what is otherwise a very boring, stodgy marketplace for flatware,” emphasized Greg Owens.

The Calavera pattern was a big hit with folks whose favorite holiday is Halloween or the Day of the Dead, with millennial women, and with the Harley Davidson and tattoo crowd. 

Among the 35+ patterns carried by Liberty Tabletop, the Calavera pattern "continues to be a best seller years later," noted Owens. The flatware pattern was so successful, Liberty went on to create a set of hand painted Día de los Muertos dinnerware to go with it.

It wasn’t always like this. In 2005, it looked like the community of Sherrill, NY, would become another victim of the move to cheap overseas labor.

Oneida, which had been the cornerstone of a generation of workers, and a major producer of flatware since the 1800’s, decided to put profit over people, cheap products over community.

Oneida was closing its factory. Taking its manufacturing to China.

An American Icon is Born

That’s when Liberty Tabletop, a last of its kind Made in the USA brand, came to life. Literally rising from the ashes of Oneida into a signature and iconic American brand. Greg Owens and Matt Roberts had worked for Oneida and couldn’t bear to see the entire community of Sherrill, NY, lose its identity, an identity that defined the culture, character and economy of this corner of upstate New York. So, they bought the plant.

They re-hired the workers from the local community. Liberty Tabletop made the decision that Made in the USA quality, integrity, craftsmanship, paying locals a fair wage, and safe working environments, were going to be the cornerstone of their company.

"Doing the right thing" has helped this company grow from 10 people to more than 70. A hallmark of the products and care that go into their flatware and their work culture. 

Overnight, Liberty Tabletop became the last and only flatware company that is 100% Made in the USA. A company where everything they make and do supports and bolsters the local economy.

“This past year was our best ever and I think the sky is the limit for Sherrill Manufacturing and Liberty Tabletop. We haven’t even started to blossom yet,” observes Owens when thinking about the future. 

Mr. Owens Goes to Washington

When we spoke with Nichole Grant at Liberty, she related to us that the owners work with politicians in New York and Washington DC, and with executives at Amazon, among others, for consumer fairness. They note that you can find products labeled as manufactured in Italy, France, Germany, but on some platforms, such as Facebook, Made in the USA has apparently become a “politically divisive issue”. 

Two Unique Species, the Honey Bee, and a True Made in USA Product

We were introduced to Liberty Tabletop through the wonderful Honey Bee pattern we kept seeing on our customer’s table settings. We’re always on the lookout for other Made in the USA brands to introduce to our customers. Our customers are always excited to discover other Made in the USA brands. Of course, the Honey Bee story (and pattern) grabbed our attention.

As they say at Liberty, this flatware is “inspired by the sweetest things in your life, your friends and family will swarm to the dinner table.” Many of our Barnett Home Décor customers have paired our Made in the USA cushions with Liberty Tabletop’s high-quality tableware to complete their Made in the USA dining room ethical design choices. In fact, our cheerful Cotton Duck Yellow Dining Chair Cushions are a natural match for the pattern. 

Liberty Tabletop crafts their Honey Bee flatware from domestic sources for their superior quality 18/10 stainless (chromium/nickel) steel, which is why this flatware achieves instant heirloom status.  Proudly stamped with "Sherrill 18/10 USA," so you know this flatware is made to last.

Flatware from China is typically 18/0 by comparison. The cheaper, foreign made eighteen-zero flatware is prone to pitting, scratching, uneven finshes, discoloration, and rust.

But Liberty does more than just employ local craftsman and source local products, they give back.

Many native bees and honey bees are threatened by paralysis syndrome, monoculture, and pesticide use, so a portion of the proceeds from the sales goes to Cornell University’s Pollinator Health Research Fund. Direct help to these hardworking pollinators, and to the farmers dependent upon the health of bees to pollinate their crops. 

Touch it, Feel it, Get a Sample

During COVID when everyone was stuck at home and online shopping spiked, Liberty started a samples program. Feel the heft. Admire the cool designs in person. Eat with the samples, see if you like the look, weight and balance of Euro-sized or Standard American sized flatware, polished finish or flat finish. Since there’s no Liberty Tabletop brick and mortar, the “store” comes to anyone that takes pride in their table settings.

We have a similar “Try Before You Buy” program at Barnett Home Décor. We’ll send a sample so you can touch it, sit on it and feel the quality. See how the fabric looks and feels in your home and under your lighting conditions. We’ll send you a sample cushion and five fabric swatches. You just cover shipping and handling. We want to help the customer avoid the inconvenience of returning an order and it helps the company save on the costs of processing return orders. 

The Traditional and the Sublime

With more than 35 patterns, there’s something for every taste, holiday or season. Both owners have the Betsy Ross pattern in their homes and it’s a top seller for Liberty along with the Annapolis pattern, both of which have a more traditional appeal.

Even the pattern names evoke a sense of Americana —Lincoln, Martha Washington, Modern America and Liberty.

On the unique and niche side of their product catalogue, the Calavera and Honey Bee have strong cult followings, and you can find other patterns that reflect the whimsy and focus of the brand.

Some we love like, Holidays, American Outdoor, Woodstock (yep, like the music festival) and the Earth pattern, which, like the Honey Bee, gives back with one tree planted in a national park for every set sold. 

Constant Creativity that Speaks to our Customer’s Passions

The secret sauce behind the patterns developed by Liberty Tabletop, for both the traditional and “affinity patterns,” is that it “speaks directly to the passion of our customers,” explains Owens. 

Liberty identifies what kinds of things people are passionate about. They work up concepts — drawings and designs — then put it out on social media for crowd approval.

If the reaction is positive and the audiences are identified, they start making prototypes the old-fashioned way.

“There is no computer involved. Our tools are made by skilled craftsman named Eric, David, Kris and Toby,” Owens remarks with a touch of pride.

 

Why We Love Liberty Tabletop’s Traditional and Whimsical Designs

As a company, Liberty Tabletop has made the choice to keep their manufacturing and source their materials entirely from national and local producers (and they even hire local accountants and marketing firms). They employ local craftsmen and give them a safe work environment, maintain exceptional standards and value the skills of their workers. At a time when companies will ignore such social atrocities as child labor, worker abuse and unsafe work conditions often found in overseas manufacturing, to be able to trim their costs for the sheer sake of profit, Liberty Tabletop is unwilling to turn a blind eye. The result drives the local economy ethically and environmentally, and allows savvy customers the option of joining them, by purchasing their products, in making the world a better place.

And in this case, customers also get a table place setting they can be proud of for generations. 

In addition to a stunning array of flatware, Liberty Tabletop makes a variety of kitchen, patio and tabletop products, each of which also proudly touts the Made in the USA label.

To discover one of our favorite Made in USA brands, visit Liberty Tabletop at https://www.libertytabletop.com/.
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