Milton, W.Va. (WOWK) – Small Business Saturday is an American shopping holiday where customers get to support local business and give back to the communities they live in, and one local business in Milton said for them the day is about celebrating uniqueness and family.
In the small town of Milton, the Blenko Glass Company has been in business for more than 100 years, and the small family business has made quite an impact on the local community and beyond over the years.
“One of our customers told us this morning that they have over 600 water bottles. 600. . .that is more than we have in this room (Blenko Glass Company showroom),” said Patti Blenko, owner of Blenko Glass Company.
The company has been family-owned and operated since 1893, and it has been in Milton since 1921. Mrs. Blenko said despite their success and longevity, they enjoy being a small business in West Virginia. It allows her family to create a bond with their employees and their customers.
“We want to keep it personal. We want to keep a small family, and we want to know all of our employees. We want to know our customers and they know us,” said Patti Blenko.
Mrs. Blenko even personally signs the art glass pieces for her customers. Her husband Walter J. Blenko, Jr., the grandson of the founder of Blenko Glass Company did it before he passed away this past August.
“People sometimes stand in line for hours for a Blenko signature,” said Patti Blenko.
Leslie Culp and her boyfriend Jonathan Sheffield, who are from Chicago and shop at Blenko’s when they are visiting friends and family in Huntington, said they almost always get their pieces signed.
“OMG…. it just makes the piece more memorable for sure,” said Culp.
The Blenko Glass Company has everything from unique glass blown lamps, and holiday ornaments, to limited edition poinsettia vases, and the great thing about being a small business is that no two pieces are alike.
Kristin Lane, Patti Blenko’s daughter, said, “No two pieces are identical because they are truly handcrafted. Every single piece of glass is touched by so many human hands, and nothing is touched by machine”.
“When someone walks into our home in Chicago and sees a Blenko piece they are going to recognize it . . . it won’t be like anything they have ever seen before,” said Sheffield.
On small business Saturday the family business offered a 15 percent discount and showcased their limited edition pieces, and the family said the day allows them to celebrate their success as a small business, from hiring local people to helping support local small businesses.
“It really is part of it. You can really see the difference in the community when the revenue stays here,” said Lane.
Mrs. Blenko said the majority of their customers ask for an engraved signature, and she said some request it because it raises the value of the piece.
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