History

Depression Era Roots

It all began in 1938 when a young man not long out of high school purchased a half-acre of land about five miles west of historic Colonial Williamsburg, Virginia. James (Jimmy) E. Maloney established his small pottery kiln on Route 60 West, Virginia.  He offered hand-crafted pottery made in the 17th-18th-century style that he had learned as an apprentice at the Jamestown Colony Pottery.  Jimmy named his new business venture the “Williamsburg Pottery”.

What started as a simple roadside pottery stand continued to grow over the years.  Dinnerware and glassware were early product additions, followed by many more kinds of merchandise. By the early 1980s, the business known regionally as “The Pottery,” was a sprawling, 200-acre shopping mecca that offered more than 80,000 different items.

Jimmy was a retail visionary as well as an entrepreneur.  He attracted and served a growing base of customers by finding and offering diverse merchandise at significant discounts decades  before stores like Walmart arrived on the retailing scene.  Long before there were  outlet stores and outlet malls,  Jimmy was going directly to manufacturers to obtain “factory pricing,” sometimes on seconds and irregulars, but increasingly on first-quality goods.  created an outlet business years before today’s outlet malls were built, and he was a pioneer in traveling the world to find unique merchandise at great prices.   for and, attracting and serving customers  by searoffering deeply discounted merchandise   the shopping icon offered visitors from near and far a vast selection of merchandise as well as their famous hand-made items such as their 18th-century salt-glaze pottery, custom framing and custom floral arrangements.

Jimmy’s vision, craftsmanship, and unfailing entrepreneurial spirit turned the Pottery into a must-see destination during everybody’s visit to the Historic Triangle of Williamsburg, Jamestown and Yorktown.  People couldn’t wait to get their hands on all of the bargains and would leave the Pottery on a daily basis with shopping carts overflowing with treasures from all over the world.

After Jimmy’s death in 2005, the Pottery struggled to compete with Williamsburg’s other fast-growing shopping venues.  In 2010, the Williamsburg Pottery’s President, CEO and Jimmy’s widow Kim Maloney unveiled plans for a multi-million dollar revitalization of the Pottery at the original 1938 location on Richmond Road.

A groundbreaking ceremony was held on December 10th, 2010 officially jump-starting the project that would take close to two years to complete.  Kim Maloney was joined by South Korean Consul General Soon Goon Yoon and many other local movers and shakers to celebrate the rebirth of this beloved establishment.

 

A New Era

The Williamsburg Pottery enlisted a strong design-build team of local companies including Guernsey-Tingle Architects, general contractor Henderson Inc. and AES Consulting Engineers.  The renovation, which resembles a Dutch-inspired European Marketplace, covers 19 acres and includes three separate buildings that encompass nearly 160,000 sq. ft. of retail and restaurant space as well as over 10,000 sq. ft. of office space.

The buildings feature a unique silhouette that truly resembles a European market town.  Among their features are a beautiful clock tower, outdoor and indoor plant area, outdoor courtyard plaza with a stage for performances and a flagship Au Bon Pain restaurant.

On April 5th, 2012 the Pottery opened to a huge crowd during their Grand Opening ceremony. Guests included Lieutenant Governor and Mrs. Bill Bolling, South Korean Consul General Soon Goon Yoon as well as many other local dignitaries.

The event included the unveiling of a statue of the Pottery’s founder Jimmy Maloney on what would have been his 100th birthday.  A ceremonial ribbon cutting was held to officially open the new buildings to the public.

The Pottery is back and better than ever and ready to offer a superb shopping experience for generations to come!  With something for virtually everyone, the new Pottery is truly a “Marketplace for All”.