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R&J Amish Furniture celebrates 20 years in Harmony

Fri, Jan 25th, 2013
Posted in Harmony Features

Reuben Hershberger, along with his brother Jake, are well known for their Amish-made furniture. Photo by Jade Sexton

Brothers Reuben and Jake Hershberger started their wood furniture business in Harmony 20 years ago, and since then things have grown and changed.

For the first three and a half years of their business, the two men built custom furniture for people. They eventually decided they could offer more to their growing customer demand by ordering it from other builders. They now order from about 60 different Amish builders in Ohio, where the brothers come from, as well as Indiana.

In 1999, the business expanded enough that a new, larger building was needed. It is now located right next to the original building and can hold a lot more merchandise that people can browse through at their leisure.

Amish-made furniture has been a popular choice for people for a long time. “It’s about the quality,” said Reuben. “It’s the way it’s built. It’s built to last for more than a generation.”

Amish carpenters use air or hydraulic tools when working with wood, and they use the finest quality woods. The most popular sold at R&J Amish Furniture are oak and quarter-sawn oak, but they also sell furniture made with elm, maple, hickory, cherry, and walnut.

“The quarter-sawn oak has a fine grain to it,” explained Reuben. “It’s the most reasonably priced, and it looks antique the way it’s stained.”

The options in furniture are almost endless. Dining sets, bedrooms sets, dressers, hutches, curio cabinets, entertainment centers and more fill the warehouse. They take orders, as well. According to Reuben, they have a wide variety of stain samples a person can choose from, and they can specify just what they want for their piece of furniture. The warehouse is full of different styles such as Shaker, Mission, and Traditional.

People come from all over to buy furniture at R&J. They sell to local people as well as tourists who are visiting the area, but Reuben said they sell a lot to people living in Rochester or the Twin Cities.

“Harmony is known for its Amish furniture,” said Reuben. “And it’s at a good price.”

R&J has Mary Jo Nagle working full-time, as well as some part-time employees. Reuben and Jake take care of all the business aspects, and do the driving to Ohio and Indiana to pick up furniture.

“We have a good large selection here, but we still have more to offer,” shared Reuben. He added there is now a website that is still in progress where people can go to look at more options in shopping for furniture, myamishmall.com. Reuben said they can get an order in about 10 weeks.

Another popular piece of furniture that is sold at R&J Amish Furniture is the Poly outdoor furniture. A factory makes the poly, and the Amish builders buy the poly lumber and make lawn furniture out of it. It comes in many different colors, and is made to withstand all kinds of weather. There is almost no maintenance, and it is made of recycled plastic.

Reuben said he has enjoyed his work in Harmony, and has met a lot of great people.

“Those 20 years went by really fast,” he said.

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