Brieger Pottery was recently nominated by the Blanco Chamber of Commerce for the Texas Association of Business (TAB) 2009 Small Business Award. This is the first year that TAB is offering this award, which are to be based on entrepreneurship, leadership, community contribution, and innovation. The Blanco Chamber plans to nominate one business each year. TAB awards are to be determined in May. The following is what was submitted:
Jon and Jan Brieger are pillars in our community. Not only have they successfully run their retail business for over 16 years (Brieger Pottery, on our town square), they continually participate in organizations that promote the betterment of Blanco.
Jan serves with passion and vision on the board of the Old Blanco County Courthouse Preservation Society. She strongly believes in the courthouse as a community asset and gathering place, and is committed to its care. She has a “let’s make it work” and “can do” spirit, and takes action to get the job done. She constantly donates to the local non-profits and school groups. When one walks into her shop, Jan provides one of the “warmest welcomes in the Hill Country”, which our town has become known for.
Jon is now in his seventh year serving on the board for the Blanco Chamber of Commerce. He was a director for 2 years, VP for 2 years, President for 2 yrs, and is now serving as Past President. His steadfast and easy-going nature, along with his good business sense, has allowed him to co-lead the city into its identity as the Lavender Capital of Texas (R), and the Chamber into its 5th Annual Blanco Lavender Festival. This festival has dramatically increased the number of tourists, residents and sales tax revenues to Blanco, and is attracting more business investment.
Together, Jon and Jan (along with several others) founded the Texas Clay Festival, which is now in its 17th year. “Having a good time, celebrating the media of clay and educating the public in the ceramic arts has been a goal of the festival organizers since its inception in 1993”. Proceeds from a silent auction go to help potters in need and to clay related scholarships.
In 2005, the Brieger’s vision and commitment to the success of all Blanco businesses, led them to help start the first Blanco Lavender Festival. Their experience with running and attending festivals helped Blanco lay a solid foundation for one of the best organized and friendliest arts & crafts shows in the state. As a result, vendor booths are sold out, with many on the waiting list, months before the show. This too has built on Blanco’s reputation of “the warmest welcome in the Hill Country”.
Jan and Jon have shared a love of pottery and have pursued it full-time since 1980. Their pottery is collected worldwide. They started their business with very little investment money, and by operating it on a “shoe string”, have grown it into a main attraction on the square. Their love of pottery and of Blanco sustained them through many years of hardship when the square started to “die”, due to road construction and many vacant buildings. As many other businesses closed, they held on, and helped form a Merchant Association so that the businesses on the square could band together.
Above all, Jan and Jon have not set out to be leaders. They just do what they love and feel led to do, and truly want others to be happy and successful. They are team players who lead with graciousness, humor and discernment. In a small town like Blanco, that is what good business is all about.