Cherie McPherson learned about the custom pottery painting business while visiting family in California. Her family stopped in to a small shop to try their hand at this fun pastime – and it was love at first glaze.
The concept is quite simple: Customers paint a unique design on a piece of pottery available at the storefront, and then the store fires and finishes the piece for the customer to take home. The end result is a custom, homemade craft from the heart. However, the product is only half of the fun; the other is in the experience of painting. “It’s just a fun, relaxing atmosphere,” McPherson adds. “It’s good for families. It’s good for dates. It’s good for ladies’ day out. It’s very versatile.”
Upon returning to Montrose, she quickly discovered the same experience was available in her hometown through Amazing Glaze. “Pretty quickly, I became a regular customer, and I was in here painting all of the time,” McPherson comments.
For five years, Dave and Mary Hill – the original owners of Amazing Glaze – were using the space for a multitude of operations, including an art school and glass-fusion studio. The balance between all of these entities became precarious, and Cherie offered her services to provide support.
“Next thing you know, I am part-time, then full-time, and then – after some time – [Mary] offered to sell me the business,” says McPherson. Although nervous about becoming a business owner, she “jumped in with both feet” with the support of her family. McPherson has owned Amazing Glaze for four years. And she couldn’t be any happier, calling it the best decision she has ever made.
“It was basically an answer to my prayers… I don’t know where I could have got better terms.”
After a few years, the time had come to change things up a little bit. In her effort to stay fresh and innovative, McPherson considered moving her operations into a space that was more appealing to her unique sensibilities and personality. Fortunately for her, such a space opened right next door to the building where she resided. The new space offered her the opportunity to create a large private room for parties and an outdoor patio for special events during the warmer times of the year. Though the task seemed daunting, McPherson’s shared her personal mantra: “If your dreams don’t scare you, they are not big enough.”
While on the hunt for resources to achieve her vision, she met with Linda Riba (Assistant Director of Region 10’s Small Business Resource Center) and Lance Michaels (Executive Director of the Montrose Downtown Development Authority) during a West Main downtown event at Two Rascals Brewing. McPherson learned quickly that Region 10 and the DDA had access to financing to make her dream a reality.
“The three of us worked great as a team,” adds McPherson.
The DDA’s financing program targets property improvements and Region 10’s loan fund could support her inventory needs. Based on the proposal put forward by McPherson, both entities were able to go in 50/50 on the deal. “It was a serendipitous coming together of opportunities,” Linda Riba states.
“It was basically an answer to my prayers,” says McPherson. She described the process of accessing the financing as “ideal.” “I don’t know where I could have got better terms,” McPherson scoffs. “Seriously… I don’t know.” Not only did the financing meet within her tight budget, but also her even tighter timeframe: About a month transpired between the first meet and the closing.
McPherson is settling into her new space, and the final touches – from custom wall art to custom shelves with repurposed materials – are being finished with each new day. As a sign of true entrepreneur, McPherson is already scheming for the future after the move is complete. Be on the lookout for new workshops offering instruction in specialized creative artistic mediums (glass blowing, canvus painting, etc.) and fun-filled events complete with winery/brewery samplings on her soon-to-be-completed patio.
Stop by Amazing Glaze’s new space, and try your hand at pottery painting. You just might be amazed.