Our Story

Potter Violins

In the summer of 1996, Founder Dalton Potter started a string shop dedicated to the notion that you could succeed in life by helping others succeed. By providing professional luthier services at an affordable cost and making beautiful instruments accessible, we could bring the gift of music into the home of every child.

As time went by and our clients matured into adult players, it became apparent the professional string community needed a reliable, ethical, and professional shop. Our staff of 4 grew over the past 20 years to a very competent family of 24. We made it our mission to recruit and retain the most talented, knowledgeable, and principled staff we could find. Our team of experienced Luthiers and Archetiers can provide the finest conservation and restoration services available.

In 2004, Dalton was fortunate to find Jim Kelly who rose to become Vice President and co-owner. Jim came into Potter Violins as a professional violist with extensive experience in retail management. Jim immediately recognized the potential of the growing company. Under his leadership, Potter Violins grew from a thriving local string shop to an internationally recognized company with colleagues and partners around the world.

In 2015 we moved from Bethesda to our permanent home in Takoma Park, a historic mansion designed by Stanford White in 1890 for a notable Washington family.

Jim, Dalton, and members of the staff travel abroad several times each year to meet, examine the work of, and develop partnerships with some of the most respected modern makers and to find exceptional fine and rare antique Italian, French, English instruments and bows. These overseas connections allow us to offer a “concierge” service to musicians who are looking for a unique instrument or bow. Whether you are a world-renowned concert artist or just beginning your journey to the big stage, you will find yourself at home with the family at Potter Violins.