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Ole Mill Furniture

Katherine Ryder Published: April 1, 2011 11:45 AM
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Formerly a feed mill owned by Abe Mast, Ole Mill Furniture now displays 7,000 square feet of quality home furnishings.

Son, Leon Mast, and daughter, Sara Miller, operate the store which has eight rooms of solid oak furniture created by local craftsmen and leading manufacturers.

In addition to a complete line of dining room, living room, and bedroom furnishings, Ole Mill Furniture, also offers lamps, shelves, crocks and many other gift items.

Mast describes Ole Mill Furniture, like so many other businesses in the area, as a family business.

"My father owned this building when it was originally a feed mill," Mast said. "In 1996 he switched over to Ole Mill Furniture. We've been doing business for 25 years."

The day to day operations of the store changes frequently, especially when business picks up.

As of now, most of the work is spent with custom orders.

"I spend a lot of time drawing up information and getting quotes for customers," Mast said. "I also go out for local pickups; I go out to get new furniture for the store and visit our builders."

The single underlying rule of furniture sold in Amish country is quality.

"We try to sell quality furniture at a reasonable price," Mast said. "That's kind of the thrust of the business. We try to have different styles and qualities than anyone else."

Mast considers Ole Mill Furniture somewhat like a specialty store.

"We didn't use to do custom orders, but with competition you almost have to," Mast said. "Most of the time it's for a modification on an existing piece. For example, a customer likes a home office piece that we have on display, but they need it to be smaller dimensions. So we go to our builders and try to get the same style to fit their space.

"Other times they like the style and just want it in a different piece."

There can be a number of successful tactics when you've operated a business for 25 years, however, Mast singles out his most important.

"Definitely our quality and price," Mast said.

"If you don't have quality products and you're not competitive for your business...it all attributes to a business' success."

The inside of Ole Mill Furniture is quaint and complete.

"We've had a lot of compliments on our displays and on how the store is generally set up," Mast said.

"I do my own designing and decorating for everything in our store, which is nothing more than an interest and a God-given talent."

There is always something, no matter how smooth your operations, that can be improved on. The key is to admit that and work toward whatever your goals may be.

"I'd like to find more accessories for the store," Mast said.

"I think certain items such as pottery and dcor can do a lot for how a display can look."

Mast claims that the bedroom furniture has by far been their biggest seller over the years. Although, it's hitting a low at the moment, it will pick up again once the weather gets nice and more tourists come through.

All of the furniture from Ole Mill Furniture is Amish-made. Mast said that a very small percentage comes from Amish builders in Indiana, however, the majority of the wood used is locally made.

For custom orders and items picked out by out-of-town tourists, for example, Ole Mill Furniture has a delivery system set up.

"We have a local delivery guy," Mast said.

"This past week he delivered furniture to Boston. We also use PackShip USA. They are a great service and they help out a lot of the local furniture retailers."

As competition, especially in the furniture business, flourishes, Mast describes his relationship with his competitors.

"I don't have any quarrels with them, if that's what you mean," Mast said.

"I have quite a few friends who work in the furniture business. I've always seen competition as a good thing. Over the years it has brought more people to this area.

"If we didn't have so many options we wouldn't have the people like we do now. Competition is healthy, it pushes you to come up with new ideas."

The community is also a large influence to how a business will prosper. As most businesses succeed by referral and repeat customers, Mast also believes the community's view is important.

"I hope they see me as an honest businessman," Mast said.

"We get a lot of people who come in for local donations and I also try to help in that way. I want to support the community just as they support Ole Mill Furniture."

Ole Mill Furniture is located at 4422 SR 557 in Charm.

For more information contact Leon Mast, (330) 893-2823 or visit www.olemillfurniture.com.

Store hours are Monday-Wednesday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m.; Thursday, 9 a.m.-Noon; Friday, 9 a.m.-8 p.m.; and Saturday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m.

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