|The Porcelain Gallery’s humble beginnings were not really a structured plan; rather, it was more a chance happening due to a totally unrelated endeavor. In the spring of 1973, Bertil O. Lundh Construction Co. received the contract to build the new Peoples National Bank in Magnolia Village, replacing the old bank building, which is now the Porcelain Gallery. Knowing that the old bank building and land were going to be for sale, Mr. Lundh struck a deal for the purchase with the idea of splitting the building in half and renting the side with the vault and drive-up window to a new bank.
Born and raised in Sweden, Mr. Lundh had grown up with Royal Copenhagen, Bing & Grondahl, Orrefors, Georg Jensen and other European porcelain and crystal, and realized the untapped market here in the U.S. for these products. The idea of opening up a small gallery in the other half of the old bank building was made, and would be run by his wife, Jarene.
The grand open was December 6, 1973 with little fanfare and even fewer customers. The original intent of the Porcelain Gallery was to create a nice, small business which Jarene could enjoy managing, but the prospect of it becoming world renowned as it is today would probably have brought laughter from the entire Lundh family.
As time went by, business increased, new lines were brought in and others were dropped. At busier times, Bert and Jarene’s son Steve came in to help and after a few small expansions, Steve began to work full time. In the summer of 1979, a second floor, including an auditorium for future shows and meetings, was added to the gallery bring the total space to 8,000 ft. By this time, the Porcelain Gallery was very well known in the Northwest and their notoriety was growing across the U.S. and around the world.
By 1989, the Porcelain Gallery had grown to become one of the finest galleries in the world and it was now, that Jarene decided that it was time to retire and leave the management of the gallery to her son. Today, the gallery is still owned by the Lundh family and Steve continues to run the gallery as their President. December 6, 2010 will be their 37th anniversary.