RED WING, Minn. (AP) – Red Wing Pottery, a 150-year institution in the Mississippi River town of Red Wing, Minnesota, has found a buyer.
Red Wing Stoneware Co. closed on a deal Friday to purchase Red Wing Pottery, Minnesota Public Radio News reported.
Bruce Johnson and his wife, Irene, bought the iconic stoneware company from third-generation owner Scott Gillmer. The couple also recently bought Red Wing Stoneware.
Now that they own both businesses, Bruce Johnson said he and his wife plan to have Red Wing Pottery take up large-scale manufacturing again, something that hasn’t happened since the 1960s. He also plans to use part of the facility as a classroom for community art classes.
Red Wing Pottery went up for sale just after Johnson bought Red Wing Stoneware. The two companies have a shared history, but since the 1960s have functioned as separate businesses. Johnson said he didn’t expect to buy Red Wing Pottery but the more he and his wife thought about it, “the more it made sense.”
Last month, the owner of Red Wing Pottery said competition from bigger retailers and foreign manufacturers had taken its toll and the store would have to close by the end of the year if they didn’t find a buyer.
The company operates a 32,000-square-foot facility that’s popular with tourists. The business got its start by selling farmers salt-glaze storage crocks in the 1860s.
The new owners plan to take a few months to re-brand the pottery store before reopening early next year. The company’s 13 full-time and 20 part-time workers will have to reapply for their jobs when the store reopens in the spring.
Johnson said he wants to position the company as a producer of premium products, not discount ware.
Information from: Minnesota Public Radio News, http://www.mprnews.org
# # #
Copyright 2013 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
ADDITIONAL IMAGE OF NOTE