Hubbingtons Blog Thoughts from the sofa

A chinese lion statue

Fall Ohio Builders Show

September 14th, 2018

With a touch of Fall in the air and a “sliver” of a new moon showing, it was time for the September Amish furniture builders show.  Always a good opportunity to see the creative ideas coming forward from the farming community of Holmes County.

I treat these shows much like visiting Disney World.  When the doors open at 7:30 I run to the back of the building and often find Amish builders still finishing their breakfast and empty booths.  Good chance for me to poke around and check things out with minimal questions from the builders.

Although mostly small family businesses, they study market trends and even hire designers to keep up with the current colors and designs.  As i go from booth to booth I’m impressed with their efforts to offer more value as they compete with all the “import junk” many buyers call furniture online today.

Let me highlight the top five differentiators:

  1. It’s the real thing. it is not a “cherry stain” or “walnut looking”. if you buy a piece in cherry wood you get cherry wood.  If the table top is 1″ thick walnut….then it is 1″ thick walnut.  Compare this with the import wood/veneer/cardboard!
  2. Color Options   Most builders will let you chose from 4-5 woods and 5-10 stains. Even matching Benjamin Moore paint is an option.  Possibly more options than most need, but makes  spending your money a bit more fun when you can get exactly what you want.
  3. Construction.  Have you ever ordered furniture online?  Lots of parts and assembly and the phrase “high quality construction”is never used.  Look at the reviews on some of the popular internet furniture sites.  Most end with something similar to:  “It was smaller and not quite the color or quality I had expected, but I guess that is okay since it was cheap.” Why not buy something you don’t have to apologize for?  Buy an Amish built piece of furniture and then have fun showing your friends.
  4. Price Small independent shops can control their overhead costs better and offer you a better price/value story….and these shops prove that.
  5. Transitional Styles I know it used to be Amish furniture had to come with “little hearts” and be built only in oak.  That was the 1970’s. I purchased some “spot on” mid-century cherry tv stands and dining tables with “cool and trendy” metal bases.  (yes, even the metal bases are USA made….some by the same builder making the tables.)

A final bonus to assist those “millennials” who have to have things yesterday….two week quick ship!!

many builders are now offering 2 week build and stain programs on popular part so their lines.  So why buy a cheap import when you can get a custom built bedroom or dining room built and delivered in 3-4 weeks?

The show finished up with the opportunity to sit with builders and their families and enjoy a dinner outside under the tent.  A reminder that buying from the Amish community is not just good business but also the opportunity to develop  good long term friendships.