• Thomas Russell

Producer Borkholder puts work on display in its own retail store

NAPPANEE, Ind. — Amish furniture specialist Borkholder Furniture is mostly known for producing a line of solid wood bedroom dining and occasional furniture.

But the company, which is a division of kitchen cabinet manufacturer Kountry Wood Products, also has its own retail store here called Kountry Cabinets & Home Furnishings that displays both cabinets and furniture the company makes in this region of north central Indiana.

Not only is this area home to many of the Amish workshops that build furniture for Borkholder, it’s also home to Kountry Wood Products’ cabinet production facilities that are starting to take on more of the company’s furniture line.

The second floor of the Kountry Cabinets & Home Furnishings retail store has a large dining display area featuring more than 30 solid wood sets from Borkholder Kountry
Cabinets Kountry Cabinets has a section featuring Amish-made toys as well as seating scaled for young children.

Tom Halvorsen, vice president of Borkholder, estimated that about 30% to 40% of the floor at Kountry Cabinets is for the wood cabinet line, while another 40% is for furniture and the rest accessories.

The majority of the wood product on display is from Borkholder’s solid wood bedroom, dining room and occasional line, although the store also carries upholstery made by Klaussner. Klaussner sofas retail around $699, while its more upscale Comfort Design line offers sofas retailing around $1,399, said Denny Miller, store manager.

Miller said the store also has furniture and home décor such as lamps, table top items and wall art from resources such as Crestview Collection and Uttermost. In addition, there are Amish-made toys, seating and high chairs that occupy a youth-oriented section of the store, which also sells twin-and full-sized beds from the Borkholder line.

Kitchen cabinets occupy much of the first floor of the 30,000-square-foot store, with a mix of case goods and upholstery nearby.

More upholstery and case goods, along with living room vignettes featuring sofas and occasional table groupings, are on the second floor, which also has an area devoted to dining with some 30 to 35 sets shown that retail roughly from $1,499 to $2,999 for a table and four chairs. Beds on the floor start around $999 and go up from there, Miller noted, adding that everything on the floor in the wood category is Borkholder product.

The retailer stores product below on the basement level, he said.

According to Miller, the site was built during the 1960s, and Kountry Cabinets is the third retail furniture business to be located there. Kountry Wood Products founder and owner Ola Yoder started a retail operation for his cabinet business in 2009 and moved it to the current location in 2011.

Part of the bedroom lineup at Kountry Cabinets, this solid wood bedroom is made by Borkholder Furniture. Bed
chairs Amish-made high chairs and tables also are on display.
Store manager Denny Miller shows off the kitchen cabinet display area, a category that represents as much as 80% of the store’s sales during a typical month. Denny

While furniture occupies much of the floor space, kitchen cabinets still generate as much as 80% of the volume during a typical month, Miller noted. That’s largely due to the higher ticket price that cabinets represent.

To help boost the furniture segment, officials are remodeling the store in a way that will mirror how Borkholder shows product in its High Point showroom.

“They have a very nice display, and we are trying to mimic that in our store,” Miller said of the remodeling effort, which will include new paint and a new layout.

The store is also using social media including its Facebook page and Instagram account to generate interest and traffic for both the cabinet and the furniture business. The effort appears to be paying off as business has seen growth in the first quarter, nearly doubling the amount of cabinet business compared with last year’s first quarter.

“We are doing things that have created a lot of traffic and a lot of Internet chatter,” Miller said, adding that the company tries to engage customers by asking for feedback on different products on the floor

Halvorsen, of Borkholder, is optimistic about the store’s prospects in the local market particularly as a vehicle to promote and educate consumers about the quality story of the cabinet and furniture line. He also appreciates the store’s efforts to revamp its presentation.

“We are really looking to improve our furniture footprint in Nappanee and are looking to work with them and complement what they do,” he said.

Thomas RussellThomas Russell | Associate Editor, Furniture Today
trussell@furnituretoday.com

I'm Tom Russell and have worked at Furniture/Today since August 2003. Since then, I have covered the international side of the business from a logistics and sourcing standpoint. Since then, I also have visited several furniture trade shows and manufacturing plants in Asia, which has helped me gain perspective about the industry in that part of the world. As I continue covering the import side of the business, I look forward to building on that knowledge base through conversations with industry officials and future overseas plant tours. From time to time, I will file news and other industry perspectives online and, as always, welcome your response to these Web postings.

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