Frankoma Pottery, a fixture along Route 66 near Sapulpa, Oklahoma, for decades until its factory closed in 2010, soon will open a new shop and manufacturing facility in the nearby city of Glenpool.
The company stated in a Facebook post last week it was building the facility at 171st Street and U.S. 75 in Glenpool, south of Tulsa.
Dennis Glascock, owner of Frankoma for almost a decade, said in a phone interview Saturday he hoped to have the store open in April.
Glascock said he retired about four years ago from Phillips 66 and has more time to devote to running the company, which had been based in Houston.
“It got to the point where I wanted to have a building,” he said. “I’m trying to put the (sales and manufacturing) all back together.”
Frankoma Pottery’s scaled-down line had been limited to internet sales through its website since Glascock bought the company in 2012. Manufacturing had been scattered in facilities that included Sapulpa and Kiefer, Oklahoma.
Glascock said he purchased the company partly because he was a fan of Frankoma pottery. He also indicated the company faced an existential crisis.
“I could see what would happen if I didn’t do it,” he said. “I didn’t want it to go overseas or in the Dumpster.”
Among the items that would be for sale at the Glenpool facility are “hundreds, if not thousands” of discontinued pottery pieces, including dinnerware, that are up to 40 years old. Glascock said if those items sell well, he would consider making new Frankoma pottery of that line.
Glascock said his goal with the Glenpool plant and store was to “keep the company going,” which he acknowledged would be a challenge because many pottery firms in the United States are defunct.
Glascock said he made sure he secured the original Frankoma pottery molds and its trademark when he purchased the company.
Frankoma’s pottery reputedly came from clay on a hill in Sapulpa. Glascock said that’s only partially true, as the company originally was founded by John Frank in Norman, Oklahoma, in 1933. Back then, the company used clay from Ada, Oklahoma.
Sugar Loaf Hill in Sapulpa that was a longtime source for Frankoma’s pottery “is pretty much gone” at this point, Glascock said, though he will continue to use Oklahoma-sourced clay.
Frankoma Pottery moved to Sapulpa in 1938 along Route 66. The company actually got the name of the road north of town changed to Frankoma Road.
Frankoma’s financial troubles began to mount in the 1990s, including a bankruptcy filing, and went through several ownership changes. The factory on Frankoma Road finally closed in 2010 and now is a housewares factory.
A more detailed history of Frankoma Pottery recently was published in 405 Magazine.
(Image of a piece of Frankoma pottery via Wikimedia; vintage image of the Frankoma Pottery factory in Sapulpa, Oklahoma, courtesy of 66Postcards.com)