Field Trip!: Serving Up Style at the Fiesta Outlet

I had no idea it was so close. Yes, word on the street was-- or rather word from a fellow Fiesta fan was (because there's not as much discussion on the street about vintage style pottery as you might think)-- the Fiesta Retail Outlet was practically in my own backyard.

And sure enough, it turns out Newell, West Virginia-- home of the Homer Laughlin factory and birthplace of Fiestaware-- was just a hop, skip and a jump away from me. A jump and/or skip of around an hour.

Well, that's all I needed to hear. I've never had the chance to visit a place where things I actively collect are made. And Fiesta ware has enjoyed a long history of nifty art deco style.

So I called up my buddy Scoobie and asked her if she was up for a mini-roadtrip. I knew she'd had her eye on a couple of pieces of Fiesta in Tangerine to go along with some Grand Canyon printed dinnerware she already had. And my Fiesta information source had mentioned that not only was there a Fiesta Outlet there, but a "seconds" outlet. Where you could get pieces with minor flaws at discount...
It was music to the ears.

(Probably involving mariachis and maracas. We like to keep it themic.)

While Fiesta Drive, the location of the outlet, might not come up on Rand McNally directions, you really can't miss it in Newell, off Route 2...

Just head down the long driveway, past the warehouses, and along the river, in back...
There you'll find the outlet entrance...
A peek through the windows gives just a taste of the vibrant color that awaits you. Even on a grey, rainy day, it looks bright and cheerful...
Head to the front doors and pause at the "Brokenware Garden"...
Look, but don't touch! I was happy the snow we'd had piled up for weeks had melted away and I was able to see this little pottery patch...
Inside, there are two rooms. One, with brand new flaw-free pieces, factory-fresh. It's a mind-boggling variety of colors and styles to choose from. Pieces come in boxed sets and as individuals. And the prices are comparable to the rates department stores seemed to be charging for the same items.

Then, on the left-hand side of the shop is the Seconds Outlet. There, pallettes are simply stacked with the Fiesta pieces that the Homer Laughlin folks felt didn't quite measure up.

Some have minor run flaws... Some, the glaze might not be as thick as expected... Some may have chips or color issues or dimples. If you're not looking to collect Fiesta for it's resale value, you can find many pieces which are perfectly servicable and still have great looks.

The Fiesta folks supply sturdy milk crates in which to stack your selected pieces. And while the choice is limited to whatever pieces have been sent to Seconds with flaws, there really is a wide selection. Scoobie did, indeed, get her dream of Tangerine fulfilled with a lidded canister, some big coffee cups, a pitcher and a few other goodies.

I snagged some choice pieces myself-- largely things I knew I couldn't get in the stores around me.
If you visit the outlet and still have some energy, I'd suggest crossing the Newell Toll Bridge ($0.75 gets you there) and heading on over the bridge to East Liverpool, Ohio...
Just five minutes from Newell, East Liverpool is home to the Pottery City Antique Mall...

And there, you have four floors of treasures to peruse-- both pottery and non-pottery alike. My brain was still rather in Fiesta mode, so I picked up a few pieces of Fiesta that aren't a part of their current line...

Like these three fun and very art deco coffee mugs here at left...
From there, you're also not far from BeaverFalls/Chippewa, PA, which is home to Antiques Emporium, or-- northward-- Columbiana, Ohio, which has three different antique shops.

With this kind of grouping, it's more than worth the trip!

Well, I hope you all enjoyed our field trip today and that your virtual feet aren't too sore!


And if you have to be heading off, I hope you have a colorful and cheery week ahead of you.

7 comments:

Colleen said...

Oh my gooooooodnesssss! Jenn, I absolutely love this post! I really had NO idea (being a recent resident to these parts) that the factory was so close to me! Your pictoral field trip was so inspiring, I can't wait to venture out and hit Route 2! Thanks so much for "introducing" me to my own backyard!!

Jenn Thorson said...

Deeeelighted, Colleen! I hope you have a blast. I'd love to hear YOUR story from it.

Alex M said...

That is one big OMG! What a great trip. How will you restrain yourself from not going back for more?

I used to live near a Syracuse China outlet and got great stuff there -- but this looks even better!

I think one of the reason I snagged my man was that I used to have a full set of dishes that were seconds/overruns from the Olympic Club -- a very important golf tournament is played there.

Jenn Thorson said...

Alex- Well, I will have to force myself to pace it out. But I AM going to need a bread plate or two. :) I think it's both funny and lovely you partially snagged The Big Guy because of discount Golf-related dishware. Somehow that just seems so... right. And poetic. :)

Debbie@Debbie-Dabble said...

Wow! You bought some great items! I have a few pieces of vintage fiesta ware that I have in my kitchen! I love them!
Debbie

Jenn Thorson said...

Debbie- They really are a lot of fun!

Ann said...

I loved coming along on the visit with you! I have a collection of old fiesta ware that I just love. Looking forward to checking out your blog further.