This Website is Bringing Amish-Made, Heirloom Quality Furniture to the Public

By Jeffrey Bonior
Jun 07 2024 |
“Everybody else has moved on into the future of cheap and quick imported and Chinese furniture that you throw away when it breaks or is damaged,” said Toby Dimmitt of Amish Furniture Factory. “If you buy a piece of this Amish furniture, you most likely will not have to replace it in your lifetime.” Photos by Amish Furniture Factory

Amish Furniture Factory sells living room, dining room, and bedroom furniture made by Amish communities in Indiana and Ohio. It’s all made and sourced in the United States — and built to last.

The perception many may have of Amish communities is that of rural-living folk who do not assimilate with the everyday lives of most Americans. We see them as people who do not use modern technology or many of the wares that the world’s citizens embrace.

But the Amish conduct commerce in a much bigger way when it comes to the furniture business.

If you have shopped for high-end, top-quality furniture, you likely have come across the beautiful wood appointments being manufactured in woodshops in many of Old Order Amish congregations throughout the eastern and midwestern sections of the United States. There are some communities that have a showroom for exquisitely crafted pieces of wood furniture, but these showrooms are not plentiful, and purchasing from rural retail locations can often be a time consuming and logistically frustrating experience.

That is where Amish Furniture Factory fits into the equation. It is a website that sells thousands of skillfully, hand-crafted pieces for bedrooms, dining rooms and living rooms.

And an important thing about Amish furniture, you can be sure it is Made in America.

Toby Dimmitt is part owner of the Amish Furniture Factory business and brokerage. The company began in 2008 and today features more than 7,000 pieces of luxurious wood furniture on its e-commerce website.

Dimmitt and partner Donald Schmit developed the idea of selling Amish furniture after Schmit made a trip to Fairfield, Iowa and began talking to furniture builders in the local Amish community. With help of the Iowa Amish community, Dimmit and Schmit began networking with other Amish settlements in Indiana and Ohio.

“It started out in Northern Indiana, where there is a large community of Amish workshops and builders,” Dimmitt said. “They are all independent and so over time the networking kind of came through. I was tasked with taking all of this data with pictures of the furniture and putting it on the website.”

Amish Furniture Factory offers so many pieces of unique Amish furniture that Dimmit and Schmit closed their Iowa showroom and now do all their retail business online. A print catalog would just be too large and cumbersome for consumers to navigate through.

“Right now, we have about 40 builders, and we work with all of the Amish communities in Northern Indiana and Ohio,” Dimmitt said. “Our plan is to branch out into Pennsylvania in the coming years.

“It’s really been interesting learning about the Amish and the way they work and their culture. They all live in a fairly large acreage in the country. The Amish use of technology is very limited. It depends on what the local bishop decides what is appropriate for their actual community.

“Pretty much across the board, none of them use the Internet. That gave us the opportunity to represent them online and sell their products from many different builders, to help them gain retail sales.”

There are several variations on each individual piece and the website directs customers to choose a type of wood and a color stain.

“We provide furniture made of almost any type of wood that is domestic,” Dimmitt said. “Some of the most popular wood types are the maples, especially brown maple. And, of course, oak is a big seller. We have red oak, which is probably the most popular and well known for being a very durable hardwood. We also have quarter sawn white oak, which is cut differently and is more expensive.”

Other popular woods include cherry, hickory, walnut, and a few other tree-types that are rarely purchased.

Each region of Amish country sources from slightly different areas, but they are all domestically, sustainably harvested woods mostly from New England and parts of the Midwest.

“The way it works is most of the mills where they source their hardwoods from are Amish run as well,” Dimmitt said. “Everything is renewable, so they are constantly planting new growth every year and then harvesting everything that is older.”

Completing the Amish-run furniture supply chain are the truckers that ship your purchase right to your door.

“They have their own trucking industry, and the furniture is shipped in blanket wrap,” Dimmitt said. “The drivers that specialize in this blanket wrap delivery service are from Amish communities. They are ex-Amish, people that have decided to leave the Amish group or church. Since they left their Amish groups, they are now able to drive, but they know everybody in the community and all the builders, and they are now able to start hauling furniture all across the country.”

Pieces or sets of Amish furniture tend to cost more than what you would find in a large, big-box retail chain location. A small dining table will cost from between $1,500 to $2,000 while a large table with chairs is typically in the $5,000 to $6,000 range.

“It can be expensive, but it will last forever,” Dimmitt said. “You can pass it on, and it is kind of neat because you can potentially recycle it. Say in 30 years, 40 years you have the same piece and it is all banged up and looking kind of rough, you can just take it to a workshop or even get in touch with us again, and it can be re-sanded, refinished and restored to where it looks like new.

“That is the cool thing about this furniture, you don’t ever have to get rid of it. Because they’ve been doing it for so long and all the techniques have been passed on through the generations, this heirloom furniture is meant to be passed on as well.

“Everybody else has moved on into the future of cheap and quick imported and Chinese furniture that you throw away when it breaks or is damaged. If you buy a piece of this Amish furniture, you most likely will not have to replace it in your lifetime.”

Shop the Amish Furniture Factory.