The week before last, Linda and I were up in Ohio visiting our youngest daughter, Faith, and her family. We spent a week playing with the grandchildren and driving through the beautiful countryside.
They live in Wayne County which, together with Holmes County, constitutes the heaviest concentration of Amish anywhere in the world, including Pennsylvania. The farms are picturesque and neat with large homes and even larger barns. It isn't uncommon to see teams of horses plowing in the fields or horse-drawn buggies plodding along the narrow roads. The vegetable gardens are large and the flowers and lawns are a picture of perfection.
One thing that really stands out is the many woodworking shops that line the roads. You probably won't drive a mile before you come to some sort of furniture or woodworking enterprise. Some are rather large and employ a good number of people, while others are small family shops that offer a limited selection of items. In fact, some make only one thing such as cedar chests, rocking chairs or outdoor furniture.
One thing that stands out about all these businesses is the quality of workmanship and materials used in construction. Amish-built has come to mean solid wood construction of heirloom furniture. And by that I mean the sort of durability and beauty that allows one to pass pieces on down to succeeding generations. Sort of the opposite of what has come to be known as, "Walmart fall-apart."
We almost always stop in at several furniture stores while we are in Ohio, (mostly for ideas for my shop) but, unfortunately, it didn't work out for us this time around. Nevertheless, I am not all that disappointed because Gentry now has its own Amish-built furniture store.
Rustin and Gwyn Unruh, together with their two young children, are realizing a long-held dream of theirs of owning their own Amish-built furniture store. While the furniture store held a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Thursday, June 6, and is now open for business, Rustin still drives a truck for Valley View Trucking. Gwyn is a nurse and mother, so both know what it means to burn the candle at both ends.
Rustin and Gwyn moved to the Gentry area in 2016, but for Gwyn it was like coming back home since her parents moved to Gentry in 1990. I have personally known Gwyn since she was a baby and know the goodness of her heart and her desire to be the best person she can be. She is a niece to Jane Klassen. Rustin hails from Mississippi and seems to have just the right amount of Southern charm and ease about him. These, I think, are good qualities for a salesman. I also think their quiet, unassuming personalities belie their very capable abilities to manage and succeed at getting a new business off the ground.
Flint Creek Amish Furniture is located on the south side of Main Street right next to Gentry Quilts. Rustin and Gwyn have done a great job of remodeling the building and have filled it with some really beautiful pieces, including dining tables and chairs, sofas, coffee tables, rocking chairs and bedroom furniture. The really neat thing is that you can order almost any design of furniture your heart desires. And the construction is such that your children's children will still be using it well into the future.
I'm particularly fond of the Craftsman/Mission style of furniture with its emphasis on using quarter-sawn white oak and through-tenon joinery. Flint Creek Amish Furniture offers a wide selection of Craftsman designs, as well as many other styles that would also include more contemporary designs.
One thing that all of the furniture has in common is solid wood construction. Plus, only the finest hardwoods are used, including cherry, rustic cherry, maple, black walnut, brown maple, elm, hard maple, hickory, red oak and quarter-sawn white oak. All hardwoods come from sustainably managed forests in the United States and Canada.
All the furniture is hand-crafted by Amish craftsmen in Indiana and Ohio. Many of these shops are powered by generators and have belt-driven machines for milling the wood and so forth. The attention to detail is unparalleled. They do not use particle board or pressed board in their furniture construction. After staining, the furniture is then finished with a catalyzed, "baked-on" varnish that is the best available finish for wood furniture. This finish has been proven to be quite resistant to most household spills.
Flint Creek Amish Furniture offers a wide variety of stain colors which are certified every year to guarantee color consistency. The wood grain may vary, but the stain color won't -- not from piece to piece or from year to year. That way, if a customer is buying furniture one piece at a time, it is guaranteed to be a perfect match.
Customers can choose their furniture right from the showroom or from the catalog. Once a design is agreed upon the wood species and stain color are chosen. Then the order is finalized and sent to the builders who begin construction. After that, it's just a matter of time before the Amish-built furniture arrives.
The furniture needs to be seen to be truly appreciated and the showroom is open Tuesday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. On Monday and Saturday, the store is open by appointment only. It will be closed on Sundays. The store can be reached by phone at 479-233-1959, or by email at Fcafurniture@gmail.com. Be sure to stop in at Flint Creek Amish Furniture sometime and check out the fine selection of quality furniture. Rustin and Gwyn will be there to greet you with a smile.
Sam Byrnes is a Gentry-area resident and weekly contributor to the Eagle Observer. He may be contacted by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Opinions expressed are those of the author.Editorial on 06/12/2019
Print Headline: Amish furniture store opens in Gentry