Thursday, December 30, 2010

Sign Of The Times

It's been five years now since a City Of Warsaw snow plow took out my road sign. At the time I didn't worry too much about it. It had been quite a while since I'd intended to do retail out of this shop. The plow-wrecked sign was but a vestige of the past Bauman Stoneware gallery on Zimmer Rd.

Back twenty years ago I had a local mailing list of about 1,000 folks interested in my pottery. It seemed the logical thing to do to open up a local retail gallery. So we sold our little bungalow in town and moved out here to the edge of town. Here we could not only have our gallery (with a zoning variance), but we were also zoned "I3" (heavy industrial). We were finally comfortable with our kilns -- not worried about whether disgruntled neighbors would demand that we take down that fire-hazard of a kiln.

But within a short year or so of opening up that gallery, art fair sales just exploded for us. Suddenly we were selling out -- or nearly so -- at most of our summer shows. And preparing for the next show was a more efficient use of our already short time. Certainly it was more efficient than keeping store hours and trying to stay ahead of the next-new-thing demands of a local customer base. It was simple numbers. Hundreds of thousands of potential customers at the art fairs vs. hundreds of local customers.

Still, those locals were faithful customers before I finally shut my gallery doors a dozen or so years back.

Enter the internet!

Suddenly, through the magic of the internet -- and the visibility of a sign -- the local pottery collector/devotee can peruse my virtual gallery, order online, and driveby pick-up.

And so it was that I ordered up the new shingle that I hung out by the road yesterday afternoon. Welcome, Warsonians, Fortwaynians, Southbendians, Goshenians, et al! Maybe it's time we got re-acquainted?


  1. For a minute I thought your home was for sale or that you had gone into real estate as a second job Ha.

    When we lived in the mountains, after our driveway was freshly paved, we put a t-post in the ground at the edge of our driveway at each corner and slipped a length of pvc pipe over the top of it, we put reflector tape on the pvc pipe, as the snow got deeper, we just pulled up the pvc pipe a little more. The snowplow never hit our driveway. We talked to the driver early one morning and he said he really like our poles; said he used them as a guide to go down the street, easily enabling him to know where the road ended and the driveways began.

  2. Thanks, TropiClay!

    Linda, "second job"?! Bite your tongue, woman.

  3. My Gary keeps telling me I need a job and I say I have one, was my circumstances coming through my words, not yours and I meant no offense.