Glazed Expressions owner Katie Usedom wants to set the record straight on something she says might be responsible for her declining sales in Oak Park.

Usedom bought the business-once called The Mad Potter and located on Marion Street-from Neil Lofquist, the Clarendon Hills man accused of raping and killing his 8-year-old daughter in March 2006. His wife, Lisa, later filed for divorce.

Some media initially reported that Lofquist still owned the two shops he’d sold to Usedom (one in Oak Park, the other in Downers Grove).

“It made me really sad to find out from one of my employees that moms in Oak Park thought I was Lisa Lofquist,” Usedom said.

Lofquist spent more time at his Downers Grove store, and a news report there shortly after the news broke corrected the notion that he still owned the business, where many children participate in make-your-own pottery projects. That’s why, Usedom says, her business there has kept steady.

Usedom said she bought the Mad Potter shops and name from Lofquist, despite the fact that Lofquist had been sued by another Mad Potter for use of the name. Usedom, who owns four other Glazed Expressions in the Chicago area, planned to change the name of the Potter stores anyway, but did so more quickly when she learned of the suit. She hoped doing so would also ditch associations with Lofquist.

Sales before the Lofquist incident were meeting her expectations, Usedom said. But shortly after news of the alleged crime hit the airways, business at her Oak Park store-unlike her others-started to decline.

The store has downsized to a space at 819 S. Oak Park Ave., but still, Usedom says she has had to tap into her credit cards to make ends meet.

She hopes that if anyone did confuse her with the Lofquist incident, learning that she has no connection to the former owner will mean returning to Glazed Expressions.

“I don’t know if it’s ever going to be something we’ll be able to separate ourselves from,” she said.

-Drew Carter

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