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Homestead Furniture in Mt. Hope, Ohio is challenging its consumers to rethink the phrase "custom made." You can customize your cable package with all your favorite channels just like you can customize a pizza with all your favorite toppings.
"The word custom has been watered down throughout the years," said Reese, sales manager at Homestead Furniture. It almost seems belittling to the craftsmanship to use a word like customized to describe your furniture and your favorite food.
Bespoke is an old British-English word meaning something that is tailor made specifically for a certain individual. Historically, the term was applied only to the tailoring of men's clothing. The term, bespoke gives an authentic and unique meaning to a piece of furniture made from scratch.
"We have done a good job of showing the store as a modern furniture store," said Reese. "We are still an authentic hardwood furniture store using old world techniques."
Although you will find a large Amish staff involved in the craftsmanship and building of Homestead's fine furnishings, you are least likely to find the word "Amish" in any advertising material Homestead puts out.
"We don't put 'Amish' in our advertising. It's not like the furniture has been baptized," joked Reese. "We have the best of the best working here. The Amish part of it is that we are going to do it right the right way - not the cheap way."
"Every piece we want to be passed down from generation to generation, whether it's a custom made piece or bought right off the floor," said Ernest Hershberger, owner.
The importance of generation is something that Hershberger knows best. "Ernie's family has almost 100 years of cabinet making history ( since 1918). Now we can do everything," said Reese.
In 1990, Hershberger developed Homestead Furniture as a means to get quality hardwood furniture to the tourists traveling through the area. In 1999, the business expanded to 25,000 sq. ft. which included a shop, warehouse and showroom and by 2001 Homestead had moved into its new facility.
"[Today] we have 27,000 sq. ft. and three stories [of furniture]," said Hershberger. "There is an interior decorator on staff and we can do anything from residential spaces to offices and board rooms. We've done up to 300 hotel rooms all the way down to one custom piece. We meet the needs of whoever walks through that door."
Staff members are available to make your dream furniture pieces come to life. "Our designers are ready to hear about your dream piece," said Reese. "People come in and say 'I have this vision' or 'I have this dream.' They may even bring in three different furniture pieces and ask for one unique piece."
After hearing what the customer wants, the design staff can put together a 3-dimensional drawing in 10-20 minutes which can later be transformed into that bespoken piece.
That piece is made just across the street in Homestead's on-site shop facility. Customers can request a tour of the manufacturing facility and experience the craftsmanship firsthand.
What's new for 2014
A popular style of furniture Homestead will be pushing forward with is the "Instant Antique" look - a distressed or reclaimed look.
"We have a staff that can make any piece look distressed," said Hershberger. "You control the look, the style and the size."
Hershberger said that once a customer sees the completed piece, they claim it is a real antique.
Earth tones and muted colors are the in colors this year.
Homestead Furniture is also integrating a "live edge" into their furniture creations. This means, instead of the straight edge that gives your table that even rectangular or circular look, the wood is left with its natural bends and curves. The original tree bark may also be left on or smoothed off.
The wood used at Homestead is both locally purchased when available and imported. "The store does a lot of interesting and unique things," said Reese.
Slabs of hardwood in everything from local varieties to the most unique imports are available for the customer to look over as they decide exactly what they want for their dream table or bedroom set. Stop in to Homestead Furniture today to help create the home of your dreams.
"We have a passionate staff," said Reese. "We have a lot of fun here and the customers sense that."
Homestead Furniture is also working on a landscaping project in between the two facilities. A 4-acre arboretum will be revealed with what is predicted to be the largest man-made waterfall in the North East. "Once it is open and running there will be pathways lined with flowers, trees and places to sit. It will be an oasis in the middle of nowhere," said Hershberger.
Homestead Furniture is located at 8233 SR 241 in Mt. Hope. Business hours are Monday-Saturday, 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m. For more information call 1-866-674-4902 or visit www.homesteadfurnitureonline.com.