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Published October 24, 2008, 12:02 AM

PRAIRIE COUNTRY: Trading on tradition

Ohio Amish make high quality furniture

By: Ann Bailey, Grand Forks Herald

Quality and craftsmanship count from start to finish with Roy Miller.

From the solid wood Country View Furniture uses to manufacture its products, to the coat of cataclysmic conversion varnish applied to them, the Amish company takes pride in producing top-of-the line living room, bedroom and dining room pieces.

The company and its 42 employees are among 24,000 people who are members of the Amish community who live in Holmes County, Ohio. Roy, a former cabinet maker, founded Country View Furniture in 1993 after he saw there was a demand for quality furniture.

Country View’s reputation has spread among furniture buyers and the company now has more than 400 outlets in more than 40 states.

Roy and Ivan, the Millersburg, Ohio, company’s manager, were in Grand Forks recently to talk about their furniture, which is sold at Home of Economy. The Country View collection includes large pieces such as bedroom and dining room sets, and smaller ones such as benches and end tables.

Quality

Most of the furniture is made of red oak, cherry, maple, quarter-sawn white oak or hickory from Ohio forests.

“Ninety percent of the wood comes from Ohio,” Roy said. The Amish furniture industry got its start when retired farmers started making pieces for themselves and word about their craftsmanship spread, he noted. Then, when the farm economy was suffering, many Ohio Amish people quit that way of life and began working in the Amish furniture industry in their home state, Roy said.

Roy’s four grown sons own part of the business and work in the Country View factory while his brother-in-law Ivan is the general manager.

Country View’s attention to quality includes inspecting each piece of furniture before it leaves the factory for details including the smoothness of the finish and the alignment of cabinet doors.

“Everything is checked,” Roy said.

The company also is “green” and replaces the trees it uses.

“For every tree that’s cut there are probably two or three planted,” Roy said. Country View Furniture also produces its own energy, using diesel engines instead of electricity.

Roy knew that there was demand for well-made furniture when he started the business, but still is amazed by his business’ success.

“In my wildest dreams, I never thought it would go like this,” he said.

Bailey writes for special features sections. Reach her at (701) 787-6753; (800) 477-6572, ext. 753; or send e-mail to abailey@gfherald.com.

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