Scores of people flowed through the doors of Troyer Furniture on Friday to see one person-- actually two people. Troyer Furniture invited friends, family and friend customers of Joanna Troyer to an informal cake and ice cream reception to celebrate a recent development in Joanna's life: romance. After 15 years of building quality relationships with scores of clients, she is now beginning a new chapter--or as she would describe it, 'a new book'--in her own life.
Joanna Troyer began selling furniture at Troyer Furniture in Sugarcreek in 1997. Her two and a half mile bike ride from her home off Cherry Ridge to the furniture store was 'a breath of fresh air' before spending the day indoors learning about furniture and building relationships with clients who came to see Amish Country and visit the Holmes County area. Then, suddenly, on April 14, she bid farewell to her familiar stomping grounds.
Joanna married Mahlon Troyer, an Amish minister of Berlin, on June 23, 2012. Joanna is 49 years old, all of them single. "Courting was a little awkward at first because Mahlon has grown children from his first marriage so I was not only building a relationship with Mahlon but gaining acceptance from his children. While I will never replace the mother and wife that lost her battle to cancer four years ago, I try very hard to just be there for them while emotional adjustments are being made," Joanna said.
Joanna has made many friends at the furniture store over the past fifteen years. "People would talk to her about anything," says owner Matt Beachy. "That's a gift, I think." He and his wife, Liz, purchased the store in 1993 from original owners Norman and Karen Troyer of Sugarcreek; and he'll tell you, "it's all about relationships." He is very deliberate about relationships and firmly believes that the relational element of business is the crux of any thriving or growing enterprise. "Joanna rarely sold anything that she didn't connect with a customer first," Matt said. He said the relationship came before the sales for Joanna.
Matt and Liz have so much appreciated the contribution that Joanna has made to the company and the atmosphere she has helped to create at the store, that they wanted to show it by hosting the reception for her and her family of clients. "She had mentioned before that there were so many customers she'd love to invite to her wedding, but can't. That's where the idea came from," Matt said. When Matt mentioned the idea of a reception at the store, "she loved that idea," he said.
Earlier this year, Matt asked Joanna to make a list of customers she wanted to invite to celebrate with her. Troyer Furniture sent out the invitations and guests came from as far as Greensburg, PA to join the four-hour reception to celebrate the marriage of Joanna and Mahlon.
How did she feel? "Very unworthy, but very flattered," Joanna said.
Sharon Haught, from Parkersburg, West Virginia, visits Troyer Furniture about four times each year and attended Joanna's reception along with a friend. "That was always our first stop because we liked Joanna so much," Haught said. "She was always fun."
Haught has an entertainment center and a bookcase Joanna sold to her. "We always laughed a lot when we were there with her," she said. "She doesn't pressure you or try to sell you anything. She just tries to help you find what you want," Haught explained as she recalled Joanna's relational style.
Joan Kress from North Canton also attended the event at the store and has enjoyed working with Joanna to finalize her furniture buying decisions. "I [furnished] my whole home with Troyer Furniture," she said. "It was just a real delight to have her help me with the selection," she said.
Harvey Cunningham of Coshocton, along with his wife Ruth, visit the store two or three times each year. "You can feel the atmosphere. It's a very calm atmosphere when you go in there. Very pleasant. Very warm. Friendly," he said. His first words to describe Joanna: "She's a good listener." The Cunninghams have five or six pieces of furniture purchased from Joanna at Troyer Furniture, and they recalled one of Joanna's signature traits. "She remembers her customers and what we are interested in and what we have done. She was able to talk about that with us," he said.
Joanna remembers every single year at Troyer Furniture as a delightful experience and recalls that those bike rides home were therapeutic after a day on her feet at the store.