Red Wing Pottery on precipice of shuttering final vestige of 140-year-old business Article by: ROCHELLE OLSON, StarTribune.com Red Wing Pottery, a storied Mississippi River institution that began selling farmers salt-glaze storage crocks in the 1860s, will either be sold or closed. Scott Gillmer, owner and grandson of former president R.A. Gillmer, said he will have to shut down at the end of the year if a buyer doesn’t emerge. Crushed by bigger retailers, Gillmer said he can no longer operate the 32,000-square-foot retail-restaurant-pottery production facility on West Main Street. The overhead has become too much for even the venerable Red Wing Pottery name. “People have less discretionary income and I’m in the same boat,” Gillmer said. “I”m spending more and more on health care and my children’s education as a percentage of my income than ever before.” Third-generation owner Gillmer said he’s had interest from a couple of possible buyers, but that whoever takes over will need to find a new means of profit. The company hasn’t mass-produced pottery since 1967 when Gillmer’s grandfather bought and shifted the business to showroom sales. Gillmer’s aunt kept Red Wing Pottery in business by selling collectibles to tourists at the mall. “We grew quite large when retail was good. Now that has ended,” Scott Gillmer said. “I have this very large overhead and it’s just not sustainable.” When his grandfather started working for the pottery company, he sold the wares to national accounts of the Merchandise Mart in Chicago. But the production of dinnerware shifted from the United States to Japan in the 1950s. In 1967, Red Wing Potteries liquidated and R.A. Gillmer took over as the owner and president. He shifted the business into the sales [...]
We are very excited to announce that the 2014 AAPA Convention, Show & Sale will be held in Cincinnati at the Embassy Suites Blue Ash. The dates are April 10th-13th so save the date and let us know if you are interested in attending either as a dealer or attendee.