Basic, simple and sturdy are words that best describe the products made by the Amish.
The Amish (pronounced ‘ah-mish’) are a religious sect that stresses humility, family, community, and separation from the rest of the world.
Sometimes referred to as Amish Mennonites, are a group of Christian church fellowships that form a subgroup of the Mennonite churches. The Amish are known for simple living, plain dress, and reluctance to adopt many conveniences of modern technology. They value rural life, and manual labor with great emphasis on Church, family and community.
Part of what makes the Amish so intriguing is their practice of remaining separate from the world. Their communities, for the most part are self sustaining, and free of modern conveniences. Things that we would consider necessities such as cars and electricity are not part of the Amish lifestyle. Amish people feel that using these conveniences could be distractions and temptations that would lead to the deterioration of church, family, and their value system. The Amish value simplicity and self-denial over comfort, convenience and leisure.
When it comes to their furniture building, they value quality craftsmanship over design.
Tim and Erica LeClair opened our first store, The Amish Country Barn in Concord, New Hampshire in March of 2008. Our unique blend of Amish-crafted, American-Made furniture and a wide variety of country décor and crafts has been so well received we opened a second store in Tilton , New Hampshire in December of 2010.
By buying directly from the shops and picking up in Pennsylvania with our own trucks, we do our best to keep our furniture affordable, so since the store was opened, we have had a tradition of going to Pennsylvania with a 16-wheeler every 3 weeks to see each furniture piece in person. This hand picking is time consuming but assures that nothing but the best sits on the stores floor.
We deal with six different small- and medium-sized wood shops, most of which are in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, which has a large Amish settlement. Each shop has only a handful of workers, and one shop that provides furniture is run by only a father and son. In most cases, the Amish Country Barn is their biggest customer, but they are more than just suppliers and vendors to us, they are also friends.
The furniture is made the same way the Amish woodworkers have been making it for generations. Although practices differ among communities, most Amish avoid using modern appliances and electricity, which would boost their dependence on the outside world. Instead, the work is all done by hand.
Most of the furniture in the Amish Country Barn is made of pine and looks like Shaker-style furniture, but the true beauty is in the incredible finishes. These craftsmen are amazingly talented at distressing the pieces to look a little bit old and worn.
There are also a handful of non-Amish businesses and wholesalers that we do business with who provide a portion of the shop’s other goods, including food products, prints, birch boxes, curtains and rugs and other great seasonal decor.
Because we have been able to remove the “middleman” we are able to keep everything priced at least 20 percent less than similar products at other businesses throughout the state.