Recently, Sarah K., some Sales Associates, and I came back from visiting the Ohio Amish. It was an amazing time that began right when we landed. One of the builders sent a driver, who is a Mennonite employee of one of the builders we work with, to pick us up at the airport and drive us to visit our first Amish builder. I was immediately taken aback by how quickly the city turned into the countryside and we were in the heart of Amish country. Suddenly there were no telephone poles or street lights and we visited the first builder of our trip.
We walked up to the rumble of generators outside of the shop and met with the builders. The owner, Melvin, gave us a tour of his shop and Sarah and I were both shocked at how streamlined the process was. Seeing a raw piece of wood become a beautiful dresser was truly amazing. We are used to touring huge manufacturing facilities, and here in the middle of Ohio most of the better quality Amish furniture was being handmade in a facility smaller than my house by only a handful of people. My favorite part of visiting the builders was seeing how much they honestly care about the quality of the pieces they build by hand.
Every shop we visited we were welcomed with open arms by the owner and their workshop, which was typically family members. This was heartwarming and made me think of BILTRITE because we too are family owned and all generations work together to make our store a success.
On our last day an Amish family invited us over to their homestead where we had a generous lunch and were given a horse and buggy ride. I think my favorite thing I ate there was a homemade cherry pie. Interacting with the family outside of the workshop I noticed that all of the children were very polite, and again saw the parallels between our lives, even though we live different lifestyles than the Amish do.
Visiting Amish country was a great experience. It really opened our eyes to the process of how each builder we visited processes an order, and that all of the craftsmanship that goes into each piece truly makes the Amish furniture very affordable.