Business

Bringing an Amish touch to Silverdale

"Dan Crook is the first to admit he has no business in the furniture business.Asked what he knows about selling furniture, Crook said Nothing. We're learning as we go. I just know I love quality furniture.The love seems to be enough for Crook and his business partner, Debbie Lane. They recently opened Amish Touch, an Amish furniture and craft store located off Myhre Place. The new store specializes in hand-crafted Amish furniture and hopes to bring a true Amish touch to Silverdale.This is the kind of furniture that can be handed down, Crook said. It's not going to end up in a yard sale in five years. Crook and Lane have run Northwest Driving School since 1992. They originally intended to open a business centered on Lane's previously small enterprise of embroidery with just a dash of Amish furniture.They set off to find bona fide Amish furniture in Indiana and were so impressed when they arrived they decided to stock their entire store with Amish furnishings.It would not have done any justice to what we saw to just bring in a couple pieces, Crook said.Crook said hand craftsmanship and solid wood construction separate Amish furniture from department store furniture. Most furniture, even some that claims to be solid wood, actually has only a veneer of solid wood with pressboard underneath, he said.It's not that much more expensive than other furniture, Crook said. It's hand crafted with pride, hand sanded and hand finished. Crook and Lane think area residents have a desire for quality furniture and they don't see a formidable competitor. They also see their relationship with their supplier as a plus: If a customer wants a chair in a certain color, they can get it by special ordering, since they are in direct contact with the manufacturer.If you asked a big manufacturer to do that, it wouldn't happen, Crook said. We can change anything about the furniture that the customer wants.Crook and Lane originally wanted to locate in Old Town Silverdale, but they chose the Myhre location because it offered more space. Lane's embroidery business has been placed on the back burner to make room for a store full of Amish tables, dining sets, bookcases and more. Crook and Lane hope to appeal to customers with the traditional Amish feel of their furniture as well by surprising people with what they have been able to find.There are going to be some designs some people had never seen before, Crook said.Crook and Lane are expecting some of the Amish families they met to visit this summer and spend some time in the store to see how their product is moving. Crook said the investment he and his partner have put into the store has already paid off. Even if the store doesn't work out, I will enjoy it no matter what, Crook said. It was worth it just to meet all those great people."

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