History of Potter and Mellen, Inc.

Historical sketch courtesy of the Encyclopedia of Cleveland History Potter and Mellen, Inc., was a prominent Cleveland, Ohio, jewelry store. It was founded in 1900 (sometimes given as 1899) by Horace Potter, a noted jeweler, teacher, designer, and master craftsman. Potter, a graduate of the Cleveland School of Art, designed and created jewelry, silverware, and other artwork in the Potter Studio, located at East 115th Street and Superior Avenue, and subsequently in various other buildings during its early years. In 1921, he employed Louis Mellen in his shop, and incorporated the Potter Studio three years later in 1924.

In 1928, Potter's partnership with Guerdon W. Bently, a creator of prints and bronzes, led the establishment of the Potter Bently Studios, Inc. The expanded business moved into a new building at 10405 Carnegie Avenue near East 105th Street later that year. The new store, managed by Mellen, displayed the works of both artists until Bently withdrew his partnership with the firm in 1933, after which, the store became known as Potter and Mellen, Inc. The partners added fine china and glassware to their product line and a garden-and-flower shop operated at the Carnegie Avenue location for a short time. Potter and Mellen enlarged the facilities some time later to provide more space for creative work, restoration and repairing of silverware, and redesigning of old jewelry.

Potter died in 1948, and in 1967, Mellen sold the firm to designer and silversmith Frederick Miller and his partner Jack Schlundt. In keeping with previous management, Potter and Mellen remained small, averaging around ten artisans and clerks in its store, but the firm won many national and international awards for its craftsmanship. In 1989, Potter and Mellen was purchased by Ellen Stirn, who as director expanded and renovated the facility, adding antiques and giftware to the firm's line. By 2004, Potter and Mellen, one of Cleveland's finest glassware, jewelry, and artwork stores, continued to operate at 10405 Carnegie Avenue. The Cleveland Plain Dealer reported in December of 2008 that Potter and Mellen planned to close its store but "continue its online business and corporate sales," after their renowned goldsmith, Jim Mazurkewicz, retired.

click here to view the Encyclopedia of Cleveland History entry for Potter & Mellen, Inc.