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Van Briggle sale now set for 2013

By: RICH LADEN
December 27, 2012
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photo - The Van Briggle Pottery retail store on South Tejon Street has been closed for several months. The current owners plan to put the famed Colorado Springs pottery business up for sale in January; a handful of buyers already has shown interest.  Photo by RICH LADEN, THE GAZETTE
The Van Briggle Pottery retail store on South Tejon Street has been closed for several months. The current owners plan to put the famed Colorado Springs pottery business up for sale in January; a handful of buyers already has shown interest. Photo by RICH LADEN, THE GAZETTE 

The famed Van Briggle Pottery in Colorado Springs likely will be put up for sale in late January after the company was never placed on the market this year as planned, president Craig Stevenson said Thursday.

In December 2011, Stevenson said the company was going up for sale and a deal was expected within two to three months. There’s no specific reason why the sale was delayed, he said, but “time has a way of getting way from you.”

“We do have some interested parties, and they’re kind of waiting on us,” Stevenson said. “We’re kind of waiting to get some financial information together and to talk to the right person to sell the business.”

A handful of interested buyers, most from the Colorado Springs area, has expressed interest, Stevenson said. He declined to identify them or to be more specific on the number of potential buyers.

Stevenson said he expects the sale “would happen pretty quickly.”

The company had operated a retail location on South Tejon Street, but it’s been closed since spring and there’s been no recent production of Van Briggle items, Stevenson said. Pottery — some with minor and major imperfections — can be seen through the store’s front window but are being stored there, he said. It will be up to a new owner whether to keep the Tejon Street location.

“We’re confident that people who have collected Van Briggle over the years and who love Van Briggle will return once the change of ownership happens,”  Stevenson said.

Van Briggle is one of the Springs’ oldest businesses, and its art nouveau pottery has been popular for decades.

The company is owned by the estate of Bertha Stevenson, Craig’s mother, who died in 2011. Bertha Stevenson’s late husband, Kenneth, was a bookkeeper with Van Briggle who later became a manager and bought the company in 1969. He ran the business until he died in 1990.

Artus Van Briggle started the company in 1899 but died five years later. The company went through several owners, bankruptcy, a war-imposed closure and other problems over the next half-century before emerging prosperous in the 1950s.

But when he first discussed the company’s sale last year, Stevenson acknowledged that business had suffered because of the poor economy.

Contact Rich Laden: 636-0228 Twitter @richladen

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