This weekend is one of the busiest times of the year for Glenstone Gallery owner Jack Wood. “It’s my biggest sale of the year,” he said of the store’s annual holiday open house Nov. 18 - 20.
On Thursday, Tony Britt, “the Casual Gourmet,” will do a catered event from 6 to 9 p.m. but the specials will run throughout the weekend. “Sometimes it is hard for some folks to come on one night, so we do the special food and desserts one night, and then the sale is good for three days,” Wood said.
“We have all kinds of specials. Our new Christmas items will be priced from 20 to 50 percent off. Our gift lines will be up to 70 percent off and art work will be up to 70 percent off,” he said. “We also are having specials on framing. Framing is our main business, and all frames are between 25 and 50 percent off.”
Wood said there are also select moldings from Italy that will be up to 25 percent off and 250 other molding samples that will be up to half off. “I carry a great selection of items from the Jim Shore collection and the Willow Tree collection is also real popular,” he said popular collectibles sold at Glenstone Gallery.
Wood has been in the framing industry 35 years and this is his 21st year owning his own business. “I ran a gallery in Florida 14 years and got out of the business and decided I was in the wrong field and being behind a desk wasn’t for me. I bought this business in 1989,” he said. “The advantage I have is 35 years design experience, and with my employees, we have 40 years of design experience.”
Earlier this year, Wood brought a special visitor to the gallery, George Fenton of the Fenton Glass Company visited Glenstone Gallery and chatted with customers about the company’s products. Some of the items the Fenton’s signed during their visit are still available at the store.
“We have developed colors no one else has matched,” Fenton told Glenstone customers as he pointed out the “Lotus Mist” color of glassware.
Fenton explained that glass is heated to 2600 degrees Fahrenheit, which fuses it into molten glass before it is cooled to 2000 degrees where it is worked into a form and pressed and blown. “You may have 10 to 15 people touch it. It takes skill to make it work,” he said.
When Fenton and his wife Nancy are on tour, they may do 50 events in a season and this is in collaboration with seven or eight family members. “I’ll do eight or nine signings on a trip,” he said.
This year the family celebrated a milestone in the company’s history. “May 4th was our 105th anniversary,” he said.
Sharon Childress of Maryville stood by patiently as she waited her turn to speak with Fenton and asking him to sign a Fenton piece she purchased at Glenstone Gallery. “It’s like buying a masterpiece. It’s different from anything else,” she said.
Wood said the Fenton family has survived from generation to generation by building a tradition of quality and changing with the market to survive. “It’s kind of like an American icon,” he said of the company that still produces its wares in a factory in West Virginia. “Two-thirds of what I look at is made oversees. They still make everything here. That is part of the draw for me.”