Many people have asked us what it’s been like to take over a business that has been established for 38 years, and the answer is…it’s unbelievably exciting. It’s also terrifying, invigorating, overwhelming, and humbling. A few people have equated it to trying to “drink water from a fire hose”, and that feels very accurate. We have tackled a whirlwind of switching over accounts, updating all of the paperwork, working on marketing, getting to know all of our co-workers and customers, and doing plenty of overdo fix-it projects around the property. At the end of each day, we are so grateful and thrilled to be able to carry on this amazing company in Dave & Jennie's footsteps. The story of how we came to this place of purchasing The Coffee Pot and Mountain Arts Pottery from our parents is filled with ups and downs, but when we look back it is so clear to us all that this path was meant to be (it just took us a while to figure it out!). We are thankful to be surrounded by a team of talented and capable co-workers, who work hard every day to make The Coffee Pot and Mountain Arts Pottery the well-loved businesses that they are.
As many of you know, Josh is Dave & Jennie’s son. As such, he has seen Mountain Arts Pottery, and subsequently The Coffee Pot, grow from literally the ground up. Through major trials and major victories, he has seen his parents persevere and work very hard to build these Montana icons. Josh and I have been married for almost 8 years now, and up until this point we have run what has turned out to be (thankfully), a successful wedding photography business (Lockie Photography). We have worked hard to build a good name for ourselves in the Bozeman area, and over the past 4 years we have also spent half of the year down in Arizona photographing weddings throughout the winter. When we came to the point of purchasing The Coffee Pot and Mountain Arts Pottery, we decided to begin phasing out of photographing in Arizona, so we could be present in Montana and primarily focus our time on our new businesses. We will still photograph a handful of local Bozeman/Big Sky weddings each summer, but will keep it to a more manageable number on the side. Starting in December when we purchased the business, we were able to be on-site for two full months, which flew by very quickly! Right now we are in the middle of our last full Arizona wedding season, so we will be down in Arizona until early April; after that we will be back home in Montana full-time. Luckily between our amazing team members and Dave & Jennie (who offered to stand in for us while we finished up our last stint in Arizona), the place is in great hands.
The last two months have been a wild ride of course, but we’ve loved every minute! We have greatly enjoyed meeting many of our regular customers, and we are excited to continue meeting all of you over time. Along the way we have been asked many questions, but a few of them have repeated themselves quite often, so we thought we’d share those answers here.
• “You aren’t going to change anything are you??” One of the benefits of being related to Dave & Jennie is that we have seen these two companies grow over the years. We understand the value of the rich history and atmosphere that has made them so dear to all of our fellow team members and customers. Neither of us want to lose that legacy, and we certainly don’t want to wreck the atmosphere or the things that each of you have grown to love. Having said that, we would be remiss if we didn’t bring in some added vision and enthusiasm for where the place can go from here. Our goal is to build heavily on the past, cherish the history and the feel of both of these businesses, and also keep an eye toward building for the future.
• “…but you will be adding more seating, right?” This question usually follows closely on the heels of the first one, ironically enough! We do have plans down the road to provide a few more seats and update the parking lot, however, financially we probably won’t be able to get there for a bit until we get our feet back underneath us after the business purchase. We do realize this is a struggle for guests who want to come in and enjoy the cafe but can’t find a parking spot or a place to sit (just a reminder: we have quite a bit of extra parking in the back, so don't let that front lot scare you away!). It is a constant balance of room for seating, room for pottery, finances, not losing the cozy cabin atmosphere, the list is long…but we do hope to find some creative solutions in the future.
• “I can’t wait to see some new pottery styles!” Our pottery has been well-loved for almost 40 years; it is classic, elegant, and beautiful. Over those years it has changed with time, as many of you have seen. While we definitely want to keep our core legacy lines of pottery, we would also like to slowly develop some new things as well, so keep your eyes peeled if you’re one of those people who loves to see something new! If you prefer our classic styles, do not worry, they aren’t disappearing!
• “Will you begin offering pottery classes?” We would absolutely love to start offering classes and community events! Right now we are tight on space in our manufacturing studio, but we have some ideas for how to make this happen in the not-too-distant future.
• “You aren’t going to change the menu, right?” We have no plans to take away our amazing recipes (we both love them too)! Although, we did just update the design of our printed menus so they are easier to read through. You can see the updated menu design here.
If you have questions for us, we would love to hear from you! Just shoot us an email back. We can’t wait to meet you all, and we hope that we can earn your trust and justify the loyalty that you each have for this business. We know that we cannot fill Dave & Jennie’s shoes, no one can, but we hope that we will be able to honor what they have built here and continue it on in a way that is similar but also has a twist that reflects the two of us. One thing is certain, we are both really looking forward to the years ahead.
Josh & Kathy