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Tradition will Continue with New Owners of Red Wing Pottery

Posted at: 12/28/2013 10:53 PM
By: Jenna Lohse

Red Wing Pottery continues with new owners
Red Wing Pottery continues with new owners

(ABC 6 News) -- Red Wing Pottery has been owned by the Gillmer family for three generations. Recently faced with possibility of closing up shop, they are thrilled to have just sold the iconic brand to another local family. We talked with former owner Scott Gillmer, who calls his last weekend at Red Wing Pottery "bittersweet."

Scott Gillmer is the last of his family to take over Red Wing Pottery. An iconic brand that has been around for more than a century.

"We couldn't keep up with the demand for that product because we were essentially a retailer with a little bit of pottery making,” said Scott Gillmer, Former Owner of Red Wing Pottery.

Scott says two potters hand turning 400 pots a month just wasn't enough. So the idea of Bruce and Irene Johnson taking over ownership is a relief, "We've laid some foundation work and the Johnson’s are going to take this over and really do something fantastic with the brand,” said Gillmer.

The Johnson’s also recently purchased Red Wing Stoneware. Scott says the pair plans to combine both brands to have the ability to mass produce. Which is a good considering the demand seems endless. We were there just months before the Gillmer’s were interested in selling the brand and the shelves were packed. Now only two salt glazed mugs remain. They tell us within five days of the announcement customers bought up the entire show room.

"We better grab it while we still can,” said shopper Terry Brinkman.

Many worried that the iconic brand wouldn’t stay intact after switching hands, "It's a changing of the guard, hopefully not a changing of the product,” said Brinkman.

But there's now reassurance, the tradition will remain, “it definitely will include authentic handmade products still here in Red Wing,” said Gillmer.

"We're not only preserving jobs, but we're preserving cultural heritage of our community,” said Dan Bender, Mayor of Red Wing.

The Gillmer's can rest easy knowing the authentic brand they took under their wing, will live on, "We as consumers now get to look forward to what it is. So I personally am really excited about it, I’ll be a great thing for the town,” said Gillmer.

Red Wing Pottery will close Monday, while the new owners remodel the store before reopening early next year.