Made in Iowa: The Amana Furniture and Clock Shop - ABC5 News Des Moines, IA

Made in Iowa: The Amana Furniture and Clock Shop

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by Phil Prazan

pprazan@myabc5.com

@PhilPrazan

Like most things today, the furniture industry has evolved to factory floors and box stores.  But there are exceptions.
 
Welcome to the Amana Colonies at the Amana Furniture and Clock Shop. Here, technology sneaks in with the tools, but the technique hasn't changed.

"The reputation is primarily being authentic.  We are who we are," says manager Bruce Trumpold.

Settlers escaping from religious persecution in Europe built the seven villages of the Amana Colonies in the late 1800s.

"I think the heritage and that authentic feel is still here," says Trumpold.

And that's what they emphasize at the furniture shop too.
 
"Yeah we have several guys in the shop that are multi-generational workers," says Trumpold.

The manager, Bruce Trumpold grew up in the shop and the craftsmen have worked for decades under this roof.  Attracted by custom pieces, Dan Ray has been here for 33 years.
 
"Right now I have a lot of free range to do some interesting things," says Ray.

Jerry Ennen, even longer.

"Yea, a little more than 40," says Ennen.

It might be an industry secret they've stumbled upon: if you treat them right and let them experiment, these artists put out amazing products.

"Let your imagination run wild and then see, see if people like it," explains Ray.

Whether it's Dan's custom table with a sewing machine for a base, or the head board for a Cooper style bed that Jerry's working on, or the famous clocks that ring through the front, craftsmanship is emphasized.

"The biggest factor that goes into what we do is it's solid wood and the construction that we do is meant to last a lifetime," says Trumpold.

They've put out furniture for more than 150 years and as time went on they added clocks in the 1960s.

"People are looking for things that are made in the United States and where they can actually see and feel where they were made," says Trumpold.

Their history held them through the troubled times 10 years ago when it was popular to design on a dime.  But people have caught on: both material and method make a difference.

"They get a quality piece of furniture that is something you can hand down for generations," says Ennen.

When people buy local and buy from Iowa, they'll support local craftsmen like Dan and Jerry, and the tradition that's on every piece.

"We're here to build furniture the way we think it should be built.  Now certainly the tools may have changed or even the processes may have changed but that basic fundamental of how to build a good piece of furniture hasn't changed and we're passing that along to the next group," says Trumpold.

For more information on the Amana Colonies and the Amana Furniture and Clock Shop, click here.

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