It all started in the mid 60's with future Pot-Pourri owners, Andy and Julia, taking a pottery class together at Studio 1 City Recreation Center in Oakland, CA. What began as a hobby quickly became a passion for Andy. Over the next few years, Andy mastered the art of ceramics, joined the Mills College Ceramic Guild, and began teaching pottery to others.
Andy took the plunge in 1968 and opened a gallery where he and a number of local potters featured their work. He chose the name and spelling of "Pot-Pourri" to play on the ceramic focus of the store and for its original meaning: "a mixture of many things". The first store opened in the Oakland Hills in a small location complete with displays made of wooden planks stacked on top of cinder blocks and pottery wheels out front for demonstrations. It was a crude beginning but the focus has always remained the same: to raise awareness of the ceramic art form while nurturing the artist community.
Over the years, Pot-Pourri's inventory expanded beyond ceramics to include other forms of artwork: blown and stained glass, wood turnings, jewelry boxes, fountains, chimes, art jewelry, books and cards, a variety of lamps, wall art, and gifts for any occasion. As the inventory grew, so did the need for a larger space. Pot-Pourri moved three times within the same shopping center, finally settling in its present location of over 5000 square feet. Today, the store represents one of the largest collections of artwork in Northern California.
In 1991, Julia retired after twenty-seven years in corporate America. She joined the store full-time and quickly added her own style and flare. Currently, Julia oversees the jewelry and stationary sections and regularly attends various tradeshows to find new and unique artists.
After nearly 30 years in the business, Pot-Pourri was honored with the 1995 Outstanding Business Award for the best small retail business in Alameda County. It was a proud moment for us all.
In 1996, oldest son, Chris, followed in his father's footsteps and opened the second Pot-Pourri in Burlingame, CA. The Burlingame store introduced an entirely new facet of crafts from across the nation. As a result, both stores have learned from one another and now provide an eclectic mix of artwork and crafts for all to enjoy.
Three years ago, younger son, Max, began managing the Oakland location, pushing the store in new directions and creating a dynamic, fresh presence for the next generation to experience.
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