Downsville pottery business fills niche
Downsville – For years, John Thomas’ functional pottery was a mainstay of the Creamery Restaurant and Inn.
With the recent reopening of the Creamery, the new owners opted not to continue operating an attached gift shop.
Thomas, who used to co-own the Creamery with his siblings, then decided to start a gift shop next door at his Dunn County Pottery shop.
Dunn County Pottery now has fair trade gifts, items from local artisans and nontoxic toys.
“We have three grandkids,” Thomas explained. “We started looking for toys. We wanted toys that were handmade or at the very least nontoxic.”
An open house is planned today and Sunday at the expanded shop, which eventually will move into a historical home nearby.
Gift shop items include cards and prints from watercolorist Jean Accola of Durand, hats by Traci Landis of Menomonie, prints and cards by Diana Witcher of Durand, and hand-turned wooden bowls and bottle stoppers by Yamabushi Workshop of Downsville.
Chuck Apel of Menomonie is selling wooden toy trucks and trains that include details such as mud flaps on the log trucks, said Kathy Ruggles, Thomas’ wife, who co-owns the pottery shop.
“I am still looking for more local items,” Ruggles said. “We’re filling a niche. The Creamery is sending people to us, and we plan to advertise and do events together.”
The gift shop is in the Dunn County Pottery showroom.
Eventually the pottery and gift shop will move into an eight-sided schoolhouse on the Thomas and Ruggles property, along Highway C at Creaser Street next to the Creamery.