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Buyer steps forward to save Canada's only mouth-blown, hand-cut crystal maker

HALIFAX – A unique crystal making company in Nova Scotia says it has found a buyer, weeks after the cash-strapped business unexpectedly announced it would have to close its doors.

NovaScotian Crystal said Thursday that one of its former general managers, Anne Campbell, has offered to buy the Halifax business.

The company is the only maker of mouth-blown, hand-cut crystal in Canada.

Campbell has a long history with the crystal maker and was among the original team that helped grow the production facility and showroom on the port city’s waterfront in the 1990s.

“I’ve always had a passion for the business and when I heard about what was happening I wondered if there might be a place for me here,” Campbell said in an interview.

“I think it’s a great brand and it’s a great business and I wanted to see it carry on.”

Details of the sale are confidential, but company president Rod McCulloch said the deal will close on April 2.

“My objective … was to create the opportunity that someone could come along and pick it up and run with it,” he said.

“I still believe in the dream and that what we were creating was something special.”

McCulloch said he would stay on with the company as long as he is needed by Campbell.

The crystal shop opened in 1996 in a former fishermen’s market, a few years after European producers began replacing their craftsmen with machines capable of producing more crystal at lower costs.

Renowned manufacturer Waterford Crystal of Ireland had laid off more than 1,000 workers when Denis Ryan, an Irishman living in Canada, lured a group of skilled craftsmen to Canada’s East Coast. A number of the men who made that trip still work at NovaScotian Crystal.

The company was placed in receivership in February after announcing it owed about $2 million to creditors and could no longer afford to carry on.

Word of its closure came as a shock to loyal customers, who lined up outside the shop hours before it opened in hopes of adding to their handcrafted crystal collection.

Campbell said she’s hopeful the company’s crystal makers will be producing the precious glass as early as April 3, adding that she doesn’t foresee any changes to staffing levels.

“Everyone’s enthusiastic,” she said. “We’re going to continue on making glass and I’m hoping that transition is as seamless as possible.”