12/15/1997 at 01:00 AM EST
ARCHITECTS MIGHT CALL HIM A BASKET case, but Dave Longaberger, 62, knows what he likes. So two years ago, as chairman of his family's Dresden, Ohio, basket-making business, he marched into a meeting planning the construction of the Longaberger Company's new $30 million headquarters building, plunked a medium-size market basket down on the table and announced to his stunned design team, "This is what I want."
And that is what he got: a seven-story, concrete-and-stucco, basket-shaped building, due to open in Newark, Ohio, in December, with office space for 500, a grand staircase and a pair of 75-ton steel handles that a Gulliver could grab on his way to a really big picnic. "This kind of marketing you can't buy," says Longaberger. He, on the other hand, can.