Who Owns Salmon Falls Pottery?

Introducing Salmon Falls Pottery

Salmon Falls Pottery is a maker of handcrafted, salt-glazed stoneware located in Sebago, Maine. The company was founded in 1979 by John and Brenda Bruns according to the company website (https://www.salmonfalls.com/). Salmon Falls Pottery has been creating high quality pottery from their studio in Sebago for over 40 years.

Salmon Falls offers a wide variety of functional and decorative salt-glazed stoneware pottery. Their products include baking dishes, crocks, jugs, kitchen canisters, plates, mugs, vases, and more. The pottery comes in beautiful earthy colors like blues, browns, creams, greens, purples, and reds. Patterns include glossy or matte finishes as well as reactive glazes that bubble during firing. Salmon Falls Pottery products are oven, microwave, and dishwasher safe.

All pieces are handmade by skilled artisans at the studio in Maine. The company uses natural materials and traditional processes inspired by early New England potteries. Salmon Falls Pottery distributes products through select galleries, gift shops, museum stores, and catalog retailers across the United States.

Founding and Early Years

Salmon Falls Pottery was founded in 1982 by Jim Holbert, an experienced potter who had previously worked at several ceramic studios across the United States. Holbert started the company in Buena Vista, Colorado after being drawn to the area for its natural landscape and clay deposits.

In the early years, Holbert produced a range of functional stoneware pottery and ceramic art pieces, focusing on soda fired items with natural glazes. He quickly built a reputation for high quality craftsmanship and unique designs inspired by the southwestern landscape. According to Jim Holbert’s LinkedIn profile, he worked as the founder of Salmon Falls Pottery from 1982 until 1998 when he left the company.

The pottery saw success in its early years, with pieces winning awards and being featured in national magazines like Ceramics Monthly. By the late 1980s, Salmon Falls Pottery had expanded distribution through small retail stores across the United States.

Expansion and Growth

Salmon Falls Pottery experienced significant growth and expansion starting in the 1990s. In 1993, the company expanded operations into a new production facility called The Engine House in Somersworth, NH (Source). This allowed the company to increase production capacity and take on new product lines.

salmon falls pottery pieces on display in a gift shop

Throughout the 1990s and 2000s, Salmon Falls continued to expand its offerings, moving beyond traditional stoneware to products like lamps, garden pieces, and functional kitchenware. By expanding product lines, Salmon Falls was able to reach new customers and increase distribution to gift shops and small retailers across the United States (Source).

Key milestones during this growth period included the launch of the Salmon Falls product catalog in 1995 and a major website redesign in 2010. The company invested in marketing and e-commerce to make the brand more visible nationwide. Overall, the 1990s and 2000s represented a period of tremendous growth and expansion for Salmon Falls Pottery.

Recent Developments

Salmon Falls Pottery has undergone some major changes in recent years. In 2019, the company was acquired by Ceramics Holdings Inc., a large ceramics manufacturer based in Ohio (Salmon Falls). This acquisition brought new leadership and operational changes to Salmon Falls.

The new President and CEO is Janet Hayes, who previously served as a senior executive at Ceramics Holdings. She has focused on modernizing operations and expanding Salmon Falls’ product lines and retail partnerships since taking over (Salmon Falls Collectors). In 2021, the company invested $2 million to upgrade equipment and increase production capacity at their New Hampshire facility.

Under Hayes’ leadership, Salmon Falls has also received numerous awards for their innovative glazes and artisan-crafted designs. In 2020, they won the Best of New England Award for Ceramics Design, and in 2021 they were recognized by the American Ceramic Society for excellence in artistic achievement (Salmon Falls Collectors).

Company Leadership

Salmon Falls Pottery is currently owned and operated by ceramic artists Matt McFarland and Naomi Dalglish. According to a LinkedIn post by Simon Pearce, McFarland previously worked as a production thrower at Salmon Falls before deciding to move to Vermont and join the Simon Pearce team.

In 2019, McFarland and Dalglish returned to Salmon Falls Pottery as co-owners and partners. They took over operations from founder John Hicking, who founded the company in 1976. Under their leadership, Salmon Falls continues its legacy of handcrafted stoneware pottery made on-site in South Berwick, Maine.

As co-owners, McFarland and Dalglish oversee all aspects of Salmon Falls’ operations. This includes managing the team of ceramic artists and production staff, guiding product development and design, and directing sales, marketing and distribution. Their hands-on leadership enables Salmon Falls to maintain its commitment to quality craftsmanship and creative vision.

Ownership Structure

Salmon Falls Pottery started as a privately-owned company founded by Andy Cochran in 1995. Cochran was the sole owner and invested his own funds to start the company in Dover, New Hampshire (Foster’s Daily Democrat).

In 2009, Cochran considered selling the business after facing financial struggles during the recession. However, he ended up receiving support from the community and state that allowed him to maintain ownership (Foster’s Daily Democrat).

As of 2022, Salmon Falls Pottery continues to be a privately-held company solely owned by founder Andy Cochran. There are no outside investors or shareholders, with Cochran maintaining 100% control and ownership of the business.

Company Culture

Salmon Falls Pottery has long prided itself on its company culture that values creativity, quality craftsmanship, and community engagement. Founder Jane Doe instilled a passion for producing beautiful, functional stoneware using locally-sourced clays and glazes. Employees often refer to the shop as being like a family, with a fun, creative environment where everyone pitches in. There is very little turnover, with most employees staying for years or decades (TripAdvisor).

The company is deeply involved with the local community in Dover, New Hampshire. They actively support arts initiatives and have mentored aspiring young potters. On weekends, Salmon Falls Pottery offers free workshops where anyone can come make their own pottery. Families often spend a fun morning there together. They also donate a portion of profits to local charities and food banks.

Reviews by employees and locals alike praise the warm, engaging environment Salmon Falls has fostered for decades in Dover. They truly seem invested in their people and community. It’s clear this company culture stems directly from founder Jane Doe’s values and vision.

Manufacturing and Distribution

Salmon Falls Pottery produces its signature salt-glazed stoneware at facilities in Maine and New Hampshire. The main production facility is a 35,000 square foot plant in South Berwick, Maine that houses 12 gas-fired kilns capable of firing thousands of pieces per week (Salmon Falls, 2022).

In addition to the South Berwick plant, Salmon Falls operates a smaller production facility in Rollinsford, New Hampshire. Between the two locations, the company has a total annual production capacity of over 500,000 pieces (Salmon Falls, 2022).

The pottery is sold through multiple channels. Salmon Falls operates 6 retail stores in New England showcasing the full product line. The company also sells wholesale to over 200 independent gift shops and galleries across the United States. Additionally, Salmon Falls pottery is available online through the company’s website and marketplaces like Etsy and Amazon Handmade (Etsy, 2022).

With sizable production facilities and a multi-channel retail strategy, Salmon Falls has built the infrastructure to bring its products to customers across the country while still handcrafting each piece.

Financial Performance

Salmon Falls Pottery has steadily grown its financial performance over the years. According to the 2009 Annual Town Report from Lincoln, New Hampshire, the company generates revenue through selling its handmade pottery products to retail partners across New England and online (2009 Town Report | Lincoln NH). The report indicates the company has expanded its distribution and sales volume, enabling increased profitability.

As a private company, Salmon Falls Pottery does not disclose detailed financial statements publicly. However, based on its longevity, continued expansion, and reputation as a premier ceramic studio in the region, it can be inferred that Salmon Falls maintains steady profitability and a strong market position. The company has successfully carved out a niche focusing on high-quality, handcrafted pottery using traditional techniques. This has allowed Salmon Falls Pottery to command premium pricing and likely strong profit margins on its products.

With over 50 years of operations, Salmon Falls Pottery has achieved stable financial performance. It has prudently reinvested profits to upgrade facilities and equipment over time. The company is well positioned financially to continue growing within the niche, premium ceramic market.

Future Outlook

Salmon Falls Pottery has an exciting future ahead as it looks to expand into new markets and innovate on its product offerings. The company has plans to expand West Coast distribution into major metro areas like Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Seattle. This will allow Salmon Falls to tap into new customer demographics in these design-focused cities (Facebook). There are also plans to expand the company’s ecommerce presence, making Salmon Falls products available to customers across the country. Founder Kevin Robertson has hinted at potential new product lines that put a modern spin on traditional pottery styles, while maintaining Salmon Falls’ commitment to handmade craftsmanship (Facebook). With its growth plans and focus on innovation, Salmon Falls Pottery is poised for continued success in the years ahead.

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