• Linda Levi

It's All About The Sampler

Updated: Feb 20, 2019

Craftsmen at The Sampler have been making cherry furniture in Homer, Indiana, since 1946. My husband Bruce and I joined the business in 1974 and became owners in 1982. At that time our friend and fellow IU alum, Steve Brown, joined us in our business as part-owner. As young business grads in 1974, little did we know that furniture making and design would become our passion. We make each piece per customer order and offer an extensive selection of dining room, bedroom, and family living designs. We also do strictly custom work as well as offering a quality refinishing and restoration service for all types of wood furniture. Our niche has become offering that "Yes, we can make that for you," philosophy when customers require special work.

Our cabinet shop is located in an 1880's vintage building that was once a tomato canning factory. Our dusty wide board floors and old brick exterior house space for our lumber storage, mill room, finish room and build areas. Our showroom is located one block down the street in what was once tiny Homer's commercial district. Here we have six spacious rooms where we showcase our sampling of furniture designs as well as Sampler made woodenware and other gifts and accessories.

I was asked once what inspires us as business owners. My reply is that our customers inspire us. They tell us about their family traditions and enjoying dinners around their Sampler tables and share stories with us about how our furniture is passed along to the next generation. We take these stories very seriously and know that each piece that is delivered to a new customer must evoke that kind of loyalty because of its quality and beauty.

We try so hard to get to know our customers - to be able to call them by name, to remember the kinds of details they like on their furniture, to become a place they trust for their furniture needs. Our flexibility in design and style allow us to work with many different types of customer - from the young urban couple in a contemporary frame of mind, to the traditionalist who loves a Windsor chair.

Now that we have more than 40 years of business ownership experience under our belts, we offer these nuggets of advice to budding entrepreneurs: Temper your creativitiy with good business sense and if you don't have that, find a mentor who does; work harder than your employees and show respect to your employees at all times; listen to your customers; and finally - enjoy the ride!

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