Masters of craftsmanship

Christopher Karman, president, Amish Mills

Manufacturing, Employee Growth

One of the biggest challenges Christopher Karman faced when he bought Amish Mills in 2003 was that while the business created quality products, it was still a small player in a declining industry. The maker of Amish furniture had several choices, one being to go out and look for more outlets. But the idea of trying to grow in a dying market segment didn’t thrill Karman. Instead, the president of Amish Mills decided to broaden the company’s product selection, go after high-quality retailers and take the company national.

What started as just a small manufacturer of handcrafted curios has today been transformed into a nationwide system of sales representatives and a business that provides products including office furniture, kitchen cabinets and bedroom suites. Amish Mills went from 12 employees in 2003 to more than 100 in 2012. The company continues to churn out excellent quality products under both the Amish Mills and Daniels Amish Collection brand names and has teamed up with a strong customer base as well.

Amish Mills’ products are not only found in large, high-quality furniture stores such as Berkshire Hathaway’s Nebraska Furniture Mart — the largest furniture store in the world — but also at 700 independent retailers across the country. Naturally, with the company’s growth during the past five years, managing building space and expansion of the business have been growing issues.

Amish Mills now has a 120,000-square-foot building that gives the company space and flexibility needed to continue to grow in the future. This building allows Karman and his leadership team to focus less on expansion and more on growing the business. The building also opens up the potential for new customers.

In the past when customers were guided on tours, they were actually walking through converted barns. Now, with a new state-of-the-art facility, Amish Mills’ customers know that the company is an efficient operation capable of providing its product to anyone.

How to Reach: Amish Mills, (330) 359-0400 or www.amishmills.com

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