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West Orange Times & Observer Wednesday, Aug. 14, 2019 1 week ago

Heirloom Amish Furniture opens in Winter Garden

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Shoppers can custom order furniture in various wood grains, stains and styles and choose from dozens of flavors of cheeses, jams, salsas and more.
by: Amy Quesinberry Community Editor

The owners of Heirloom Amish Furniture finally have found what they say is the perfect location for their store — downtown Winter Garden. The amount of business they had on their grand-opening day Aug. 3 was a testament to that, said John Zahradnik Sr., John Zahradnik Jr. and Frank Beardsley.

“It was as good as we expected,” Zahradnik Sr. said. “We wrote some orders, sold some furniture off the floor. It was proof that we can do this at this location. We just needed a bigger storefront.”

Heirloom has a showroom of furniture that can be purchased off the floor, as well as catalogs full of furniture styles, sizes, wood types and colors. The company orders from about 100 different Amish builders in the Millersburg and Berlin areas of Ohio. The craftsmen make everything by hand without the convenience of electricity; natural gas generators allow them to power their air tools.

To order a product from the builders, Heirloom has to fax the order to a courier, who delivers the specifications by hand. Depending on the time of year, a full bedroom set can be delivered in six to 10 weeks.

Some customers already have been pleased with Heirloom’s service. A couple needed to replace a piece of Amish bedroom furniture that had broken; they found what they were looking for in an Amish builder’s catalog, and they had it crafted to match.

Another couple took in a dining room chair and was able to order bar stools made in the same design. A resident wanting a tall, wide library shelf with a ladder ordered exactly that.

While setting up at their new location, they made a delivery of a whiskey barrel table and two whiskey barrel bar stools.

The indoor products are made strictly by the Amish, but there are outdoor furniture pieces, such as Adirondack chairs, that are made of recycled milk jugs by other vendors.

 

AMISH MARKET

Heirloom Amish Furniture isn’t only a furniture store, either.

It sells an assortment of cheeses, including Bermuda onion, hot habañero and jalapeño cheddar, bruschetta jack, smoky bacon, hickory smoked horseradish cheddar and goat. Shelves near the front of the shop hold jams (such as blueberry, red raspberry, Hoppin’ F-R-O-G and sour cherry rhubarb), pickles (such as sweet garlic, sweet hot habanero, and zesty bread and butter) and various relishes and salsa flavors.

The food is made of all-natural ingredients, the owner said, and it all comes from the same area of Ohio.

One wall is filled with handmade decorative signs and puzzle piece-shaped picture frames.

 

BUILDING A BUSINESS

Zahradnik Sr. was retired from AT&T when he started the business in north Georgia at a country store. He opened a different franchise in Tennessee.

When he brought Heirloom Amish Furniture to Florida, he started out at convention center shows and eventually had a permanent spot at the Oviedo Farmers Market. In 2017, the partners opened a showroom in Altamonte Springs, but they didn’t receive much foot traffic.

Heirloom also manages a booth annually at the Spring Fever in the Garden festival.

The owners said they have been looking for a location just like the one in downtown Winter Garden since 2014. They checked out strip malls but discovered people tend to drive right by without stopping.

“We like Winter Garden (because of) the walking traffic, so everybody gets a little curious,” Zahradnik Sr. said.

 

 

Amy Quesinberry is the community editor of the West Orange Times & Observer and the Windermere Observer. She was born and raised in Winter Garden, grew up reading the community newspaper and has been employed there as a writer, photographer and editor since 1990....

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