A quaint old-world atmosphere greets every visitor who enters Tru Blu Polish Pottery & Gift Boutique in Harker Heights. Soft music filters through the air and handcrafted bowls, plates and glassware line the walls.
“The pottery bug bit me in 1990,” said owner Grazyna Musick, a native of Rybnik, Poland. “I started as a home-based business in 1995 working on weekends hosting shows in customers’ homes. I wanted to share this passion.”
Musick worked as a Fort Hood contractor for 16 years until she was laid-off in 2007. Then she opened her first shop, which was only open on Saturdays.
When her clientele started to grow, Musick took a leap of faith n June 2011 and relocated the shop to its current location on Commercial Drive. Her loyal customers and some new ones followed.
Tru Blu offers a variety of pottery imported directly from Poland. The shop also carries heirloom quality pieces called Unikat, the Polish word for “unique.” Each piece is hand painted and signed by the individual artist.
Polish pottery is decorative but also functional. The pieces are handmade, lead-free, durable, don’t chip or break easily, and are microwave, dishwasher and oven safe.
After the fall of the Berlin Wall, western demand for the pottery exploded. The four factories that existed in Poland at the time grew to now more than 30. Traditional pottery patterns consist of the intricate peacock design with colors of blues and greens, but modern artists let their creativity flow and started adding floral designs and brighter colors.
Tru Blu offers both the traditional and contemporary designs. Musick uses a network of suppliers to offer a variety of price points and items.
“I’m always scouting, visiting artisan shops and researching for quality pieces to bring here,” she said.
Local artist and loyal customer Catherine Stephens enjoys the shop’s easy-going, relaxed feel.
“It’s a great place to browse for as long as you want,” she said.
Tru Blue also carries jewelry from Israel, Turkish glass plates, jackets made in Bavaria and eco-friendly clothing from Nepal and India.
Stephens said Tru Blu is the only local shop where she can find these types of gifts.
“It’s hard to find handmade in Killeen,” she said.
Musick gives credit to her staff of three part-time employers and one seasonal worker who she said treat the shop like their own and take great care of customers.
“You can’t open a business if you don’t have a passion for it,” Musick said.