Cascade Capital Awards — Manufacturing — Best Story winner
Daniel’s Amish Collection
Christopher J. Karman
Back in 2003, Christopher J. Karman and his brother Ted bought a small Amish furniture-making business called Country Curios — which not surprisingly made Amish handcrafted curio cabinets. The Karmans had just quit their jobs working for a Fortune 500 company, and soon realized the harsh truth — people simply weren’t buying curios to display their knickknacks anymore.
So the idea of trying to grow a business in a declining market did not thrill either brother, but the Karmans didn’t give up. Instead, they broadened the product selection, went after high quality retailers and took the company national. Christopher took over as president as he and Ted launched Amish Mills and Daniel’s Amish Collection furniture products.
The company now offers office furniture, kitchen cabinets and bedroom suites. Since the company was founded, the workforce has grown from 12 craftsmen to about 150, and revenue has grown 134 percent in the last five years.
Daniel’s Amish Collection now operates two factories: one in Dundee and the other in Mount Eaton.
The business also has made a large impact on the local community and economy. Daniel’s Amish Collection supplies good-paying local jobs in an honest work environment, especially for those Amish who have moved away from farming and find that woodworking is the next biggest occupation.
Karman is pleased with the sense of family and personal pride among the workers.
“I am proud to say I feel we have the best workforce in the entire U.S.,” he says. ●
How to reach: Daniel’s Amish Collection, (330) 359-0400 or www.amishmills.com