Amish Furniture storefront
This Amish Furniture of Nebraska store in Elkhorn is one of two locations in Nebraska. The other location is in Grand Island, Nebraska. Photo by Riley Tolan-Keig/NNS

While large furniture retailers are dealing with supply and demand issues caused by COVID-19, Amish furniture sellers are finding ways to avoid the same problems.

Some furniture stores are struggling to keep their inventory in stock due to a shortage of truck drivers and an increased price of lumber. Amish furniture makers and sellers are dealing with these issues in their own ways. 

According to Lisa Sabels, owner of the Amish Furniture of Nebraska, the supply and demand of lumber became disproportionate during COVID-19 due to a sudden boom in home improvement projects.

“Since they are mandating people to stay inside, it makes people stay and fix up their homes,” Sabels said. 

According to Sabels, the price increase of lumber has affected her Amish suppliers based in Shipshewana, Indiana.

“The Amish are not waiting on their lumber from China; it’s all made in the USA,” Sables said. “So they’re not having any problems getting their lumber, but it [the lumber shortage] jacked up the price.”

According to Sabels, Amish Furniture of Nebraska dealt with the increased price of lumber, but they avoided the truck driver shortage by doing their own shipments.

“We remain in control of our shipments, because we are doing our own trucking,” Sabels said. “Every week, we drive from Omaha to Northern Indiana. So we drive the whole day there, pick up the next morning, load the truck, and come back. So it puts us in the driver’s seat, literally.”

Liz Boysen, a manager at the Amish Furniture of Nebraska at the Elkhorn location, said the weight of the wooden furniture is also why they do their own shipping.

“Amish furniture is [made from] whole wood, so they don’t package it, it’s not in boxes, and they don’t package it up neatly onto trucks,” Boysen said.

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Amish Furniture of Nebraska displays a stand full of different woods, stains, and finishes in their store at their Elkhorn location on Sept. 24. Photo by Riley Tolan-Keig/NNS

Sabels said her company wraps the furniture in blankets to prevent any damage from travel. Since “blanket-wrapping” isn’t something just any trucking company can do, Amish Furniture of Nebraska does the transporting themselves.

According to Boysen, this sets them apart from other furniture companies who don’t do their own shipping.

“It puts a quality control on it, unlike somebody that doesn’t really have an investment or care in what they’re shipping,” Boysen said.

Despite the price increase on wooden furniture, Sabels said business has been good, so good that her Amish furniture makers are struggling to keep up.

“Our Amish builders say that they’ve never seen anything like this in all their years, that their work is 10 times what it used to be,” Sabels said, “So they just don’t have enough hours in the day.”