Shared Values and a Valued Partnership

In 2007 when Jake came to me with his idea of opening up an Amish furniture store, we decided to venture out to Indiana to meet the Amish builders. Upon arrival, I was overwhelmed with the beauty of the area. I was raised in West Texas, you know, the land lacking trees. Indiana has so many beautiful trees, there were even white and pink flowered trees growing wild in the bar ditches! Once we arrived into LaGrange county I saw my first horse and buggy. It was a surreal moment for me. I couldn’t believe that people actually lived this lifestyle. 

We went around to several different Amish builders’ shops, introducing ourselves and experiencing their manufacturing. One of the shops we went into was the Schwartz family. There we met Marvin & Mary Anna, and his son Cletus and wife Ida Mae. We instantly hit it off with Cletus and Ida. They were relatively close to our age, and we had an instant connection. They invited us to dinner with them that night. They even asked if we wanted to take the horse and buggy- which I couldn’t help myself with my quick response of YES!! I think I embarrassed Jake a bit with my quick response, but I was not about to pass up the chance of a lifetime! We boarded the buggy and made the 5 mile trek to town, which took a very long time. It was at this point that I made my own conclusion as to why the women wear bonnets because my hair was blowing all over the place in the wind! This was a trip I would never forget, and a lifetime friendship & partnership was formed. 

Fast forward to 2022. We are still very good friends with the Schwartz family. Cletus has taken over the business from his father. Their operation has grown tenfold. We continue to love and push his product, and find ourselves in the top 10 of his dealers. A continued partnership success!

Over spring break, they host the annual builders show in Shipshewana, Indiana. We have made the journey every year. This is a time for the dealers to come together and compare notes, and for the builders to show off their new styles, and ultimately is a place to maintain a community and relationships with each other. It truly is a partnership like no other. The Amish remember us year to year, ask about our families, and some years they even make plans to come and visit us down here in Texas! 

This year was a little different. The Amish are experiencing manufacturing obstacles just like everyone else in the industry. They also have labor shortages and supply chain issues. Their lead times are lengthy. They of course were very apologetic and appreciative of the business. Jake & I spent 2 full days walking around to the booths, catching up with old friends, sharing strategies with other store owners. We always leave with our cups filled and ready to get back and hit the ground running. 

At the end of the show, they always have a huge dinner with the Amish families and the dealers that made the voyage. This year they had it set up for 680 people. The food is always delicious, but the fellowship is sweeter. They spoke on the importance of relationships. We strive to maintain healthy relationships because without each other we don’t have businesses. Also reminding us during the challenging times to continue being grateful. And of course to never forget that all this is made possible by God. He continues to bless all of us. Without each other, without customers, and without God, we would all be lost. 


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