SPRING CITY, Utah — Spring City is so small it doesn’t even have a stop light. But it does have a pottery shop.
Horseshoe Mountain Pottery occupies a handsome brick building on the town’s Main Street.
Proprietor and potter Joe Bennion first saw Spring City, about two hours south of Salt Lake City, while on his honeymoon in 1976.
“We found this little town, looked at it, and said this is it. This is the spot where we’re gonna be, we’re gonna spend our lives here,” Bennion said.
Spring City was even smaller in 1976 than it is today.
“Everybody had two or three gigs going. They’d have a pen full of pigs, a job teaching school, and they’d have a few acres full of alfalfa,” Bennion said.
But moving to Spring City, Bennion says, was less about how to make a living, and more about making sure he had a life worth living.
He began making pottery, using skills he’d mastered at Brigham Young University where he’d earned an art degree.
His first studio space was an aging chicken coop. By the 1980s Bennion moved into the building which has been home to Horseshoe Mountain Pottery ever since.
Many artists rely on galley showings or summer art festivals to bring in revenue, but Bennion had another idea.
“That was a goal I set in the mid-eighties, to bring the market to me instead of having to go to it,” Bennion said.
Over the years, a steady stream of customers, some from cities far away, have made regular visits to the shop.
The pandemic did not hurt Horsehoe Mountain Pottery. Bennion says 2020 was his best sales year, perhaps due to customers who canceled faraway vacations and opting for road trips and destinations closer to home.
Additionally, images and recipes shared online for something called “Pandemic Bread” started a surge in business that continues.
“The bread bakers just started selling like hot cakes. I’ve not been able to keep up,” Bennion said.
He describes the bread baker as a Dutch Oven made of clay, and says bread cooked inside ends up with perfect crust.
Bennion does not offer shipping or sell them online.
“You just have to be here when I have them,” Bennion said.