A Downtown ‘Original’

Family Puts Down Roots in Farmville To Establish Amish Furniture Store

Eighteen years ago Carol and Richard lived in Amish Originals Broadwater 1Virginia Beach. She sold insurance, and he worked for a building supply company. Today they’ve successfully created a niche furniture store in the heart of downtown Farmville. Step into Amish Originals, located at 209 North Main Street, and you will see a family heritage handcrafted in quality original wood furniture.

While they were still living in Virginia Beach, Carol and Richard Broadwater’s second child was born prematurely. Their priorities changed. Carol and Richard decided to move closer to his family. They put their house up for sale, quit their jobs, packed up their two children and moved to Farmville.

“We had no jobs,” Carol remembers. “We had no idea what we were going to do. It was a huge leap of faith. I’ve always said if you make a deal with God, don’t try to back out after He answers your prayer.”

Carol’s faith stems from being raised in the Virginia Beach area as a Mennonite.  Her father was born and raised Amish in Sugarcreek, Ohio, and many of her family still live in that community. During an Amish family reunion a cousin suggested they open up a furniture store.

“I knew nothing about retail,” says Carol. “I couldn’t have told you the difference between oak wood and cherry wood.” However, Carol’s cousin was adamant. So she and Richard decided to discuss the possibility. They took all of their assets and drove back to Ohio to purchase a store full of furniture.

Amish Originals Broadwater 3In the early days of Amish Originals, Richard worked outside of the store so the family could have health insurance.  Ultimately he ended up focusing on the store, which quickly became a family affair. Even though Amish Originals is still family run, the Broadwaters currently support 20 full and part-time employees.

Family also plays a significant part in the success of Amish Originals’ merchandise.  Many of the items carried in the store are made by Carol’s extended family in Holmes County, Ohio. A few pine pieces come from Lancaster, PA.  You can also find many accessories and gift items such as iron pieces and beautiful candles.

Amish Originals maintains its focus on the kind of personalized and friendly service that you can expect from a small, family-owned business. “If I’m here on Saturdays, I like to be out front and greet people,” says Carol. “I ask them ‘Have you ever been in our store before?’” She also advises folks that Amish Originals offers custom furniture.

Downtown Farmville is community to the Broadwaters, not competition. They love to support other downtown merchants through their webpage as well as by word of mouth. When they don’t have what a customer is looking for, Carol is happy to point them to another downtown merchant.  “I love walking outside on Saturdays and seeing all the people walking up and down Main Street again,” she says.

“If you can’t find what you are looking for in our store then there’s Green Front. There’s The Sleeping Bee. There’s all sorts of restaurants you can eat at,” Carol continues. “We promote the whole town.”

And Carol believes that soon there will be even more to promote. She is excited by what the future holds for Amish Originals as well as by the future of downtown Farmville. “We are on the precipice of something great,” she says with a smile.Amish Originals Broadwater 2

To find out more about Amish Originals click here or call 1-877-391-1193.