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The crocks, jugs and dinnerware produced before 1967 are still sought by an ardent international network of collectors. Steven Brown, historian for the Red Wing Collectors Society Inc., started gathering unusual pieces with his dad as a boy in Red Wing. Many are in the pottery museum just down Highway 61 from Gillmer’s business. “It was almost a ritual that girls who were to be married would make the trip to Red Wing to pick out wedding china,” he said.
He collects handmade pieces such as a plate inscribed with the name of a Lutheran minister and gifted to his family as they were moving away. Even without the production, Brown said, Red Wing Pottery is “part of our civic pride that visitors will stop in there as part of leaf season.”
Like Steven Brown, Red Wing Chamber of Commerce President Patty Brown is saddened by the news. “When you’ve had a business in your community for that long, everybody will feel the pain,” she said.
Gillmer, who has an MBA, said running the business has required an entrepreneurial spirit. “Part of that, too, is knowing when to be done. For us, it’s time to be done.”
Rochelle Olson • 612-673-1747 @rochelleolson