Oneida Company - From Society to Corporation
Oneida is currently the largest producer of stainless steel and silver plated flatware in the world, yet, it had far more humble beginnings. It started as a small community that had its own ideals and beliefs, which led to a certain way of life for them. They believed in survival through work and craftsmanship, which has led them into success through business in the modern times. They now produce various types of kitchenware, including dinnerware, cookware, drink ware, kitchen tools, and cutlery products.
The Oneida community was founded by John Humphrey Noyes in 1848, located in New York. He had a vision of a new religion rooted in what he called perfectionism. Perfectionism had strong Christian influences and was based communalism and on self-perfection. He abolished private property, which required the entire community to work for everyone's benefit and not personal gain. The community children were raised by the whole community, not just their parents, and the men became excellent craftsman. They survived on their export of wares such as forks, spoons, knives, and other tools. Eventually the community had its differences and split into two, separating its businesses.
The Oneida company settled their differences and abolished the community; they came back together only for the purpose of business in 1880. At that time the Oneida Community changed its name to the Oneida Company, and was incorporated. The Oneida Company was near financial collapse in the 1890's and was in need good leadership and broadened horizons, if they were going to succeed. This was just the case, as the son of John Noyes, Pierrepont Noyes, overtook his uncles' seat on the board after some time in the outside world. His views and experience from the outside world gave him the knowledge to correct the mistakes the Oneida Company was making in their business endeavors. By 1899 he turned profits never before seen by the company, and even paid shareholders 7% dividends that year.
By 1904 the Oneida Company wanted to grow larger, and became dedicated to advertising their product on a larger scale. Through advertisement, they achieved a higher level of brand recognition. They continued to grow over time, and in 1998 they purchased many other tableware companies to add to their existing products. Their market today is international, and includes the United States, Italy, Canada, Mexico, and the UK. They run more than 60 factory stores, all dedicated to a reputation of quality earned by their utopian community origins.
- The current CEO and president is James E. Joseph
- The company closed 20 stores throughout North America in 2009, holding closeout sales to boost company funds. They plan to re-open 2 stores in 2010.
- Oneida Company is the largest retailer of silver plated and stainless steel flatware.
- The Oneida Company started as a utopian religious and social community before it was a company. This location still exists to this day and activities are still held at this historic site.