inception, Kristina Eckert’s goal with glaze, the arts-themed
pottery shop she founded a decade ago, has been the same.
“Intergenerational” is a word she uses to describe her
Kristina Eckert said glaze’s move to Thiensville
helped the business
keep up with growth and expand.
Photos by Mark Justesen
“This is a place where a grandparent can spend time with his or
her grandchild,” Eckert said. “How many things can bring people
of different ages together? This is the kind of entertainment
that makes it possible.”
Glaze’s 4,000-square-foot building, situated in the heart of
Thiensville’s business district, has a range of rooms to
accommodate age groups and interests.
There’s a large gathering space, for example, with an attached
mini kitchen for children’s birthday parties. On the other end
of the spectrum, glaze has quaint, private meeting rooms for
people looking to make a memento on a date.
“We encourage people to use the whole building,” Eckert said as
she points to glaze’s wide-open feel and its three floors of
With a variety of paints and other decorative supplies on hand
at the store, customers have the opportunity to make custom
creations. The presence of nine kilns means the product never
leaves the store.
Flippy, the mascot for glaze, welcomes customers to
the business in downtown Thiensville.
Photos by Mark Justesen
paint-your-own pottery remains the foundation of glaze’s
business, Eckert has expanded her operation in other
directions, including glass fusing. She describes it as
“a new pop art form.” Like the clay stemming from the
pottery, fused glass is created with kilns.
“People like glass fusing because you’re able to make
colorful, bright, vibrant pieces,” Eckert said. “It gets
loaded into one of our kilns like a big puzzle.”
In addition to the open studio space, throughout the day
glaze offers custom classes for all age groups. In
recent months, the store offered a summer camp-style
activity called Glaze Days. Some of the programs aimed
at adults include a beginner’s class, Cre8, as well as
Wine and Dezign.
Food and drink are also served up at glaze through its
in-store café, The Purple Frog. The eatery serves an
assortment of light fare, including such beverages as
In May, a new item – gourmet toast – was added to the
menu. One of the newer artisan crazes, gourmet toast was
first introduced in San Francisco a few years ago and
has been gradually spreading to restaurants and coffee
shops throughout the United States.
Unlike its traditional counterpart, gourmet toast is
served in 1-inchthick slices and has a variety of
toppings. To date, the Purple Frog has 20 flavors
available — including a birthday cake-flavored toast to
satisfy sweeter cravings and a pizza-flavored toast for
those interested in something saltier. Four flavors were
introduced initially this spring.
Gourmet toast has been added to the menu at The
Photos by Mark Justesen
As the Purple Frog
has grown within the confines of glaze, the store has
unveiled a mascot, Flippy. The aptly colored purple frog
was introduced early this year.
Fiddleheads has been supplying glaze with the bread to
make the gourmet toast. The partnership is one of
several within the community. With its ready supply of
glass fusing equipment, glaze has been manufacturing
dinnerware for the cheel, a recently opened restaurant
Glaze has been present in Thiensville for six years.
During the first four years, the store operated out of a
smaller facility within Cedarburg.
“We outgrew our space,” Eckert said, pointing to the
reason for the relocation. “We were turning people away,
and we realized we were hurting ourselves by not being
able to accommodate the level of service we had.”
Amid the exhaustive search, Eckert and her employees had
been hoping to find a space in Cedarburg, since glaze
had established a strong base within the community. But
the present-day Green Bay Road building in Thiensville,
a former restaurant, turned out to be the perfect
“It’s obvious this was meant to be,” Eckert said. ‘It’s
turned out to be a really good fit. Our customer base
has grown as we’ve drawn in people from Milwaukee,
Menomonee Falls and Germantown. We’ve been able to offer
so much more to our customers.”
The repurposing of a once-dormant restaurant into glaze
is one of several examples of how Thiensville officials
have been eyeing revitalization of the downtown
commercial district in recent years.
“(Glaze) has turned out to be a wonderful addition to
the community,” Village President Van Mobley said.
“We’re pleased they’re here. Glaze is exactly the kind
of business Thiensville is attempting to attract and
recruit. We’re not chasing the chains; we’re looking to
have locally owned shops in our community.”
Mobley lauded Eckert, a member of the Thiensville
Business Association, for being collaborative and
granting the village an easement to a pedestrian bridge
that will link Green Bay Road to its larger commercial
counterpart, Main Street.
“Glaze has made a great business citizen in Thiensville,
and for multiple reasons,” Mobley said.
149 Green Bay Road Thiensville