New retailer sells authentic Amish wares

INTERLOCHEN – Old World Gifts & Furnishings recently opened for business on U.S. 31 just east of Interlochen, offering Amish gifts and furniture handcrafted in Michigan, Indiana, Ohio and Pennsylvania.

The 6,000-square-foot building is distinct with its Amish flavor, red siding and cuckolas on the roof. The wares inside are just as distinct.

“We only offer authentic Amish pieces,” said co-owner Maurice Hayden with his wife, Jackie. “We work with 96 different families and each piece is custom made to order.”

This, Hayden pointed out, is a difference between their business and other larger businesses offering Amish furniture in the area.

“Some stores offer Amish furniture, but how can that be when they turn out 140 tables in a week?” he said. “We know each family we deal with and go right to their barns to pick up the pieces. I know it’s Amish. We don’t buy through a broker.”

The Haydens work closely with Amish families in Northern Michigan as much as possible.

“We buy locally when we can,” Hayden said. “But everything is made in this country.”

Their ties to the local Amish community are also what sparked the business. While talking with many of the Amish families, they expressed a need for a place to sell their wares. Hayden, who had started the Interlochen Quick Lube and sold it a few years ago, was ready for a business to follow into retirement. With a background in hospitality and other businesses he owned, he partnered with his wife in their first business together.

So far, the response from the community has been excellent, Hayden said.

“The support has been amazing,” Hayden said. “Interlochen is a growing community.”

Customers are welcome to order pieces similar to what are on display, which then take six to eight weeks to be made. They can also work with Hayden to customize a piece.

Hayden has designed furniture for 25 years, stemming back to 1965 when he lived in northern Indiana. The area was destroyed by tornados and in an effort to rebuild the community, Hayden ended up working side by side with Amish families, and a bond was formed.

The store offers everything from bedroom sets to living room and dining room sets, and children’s furniture, toys and accessories. Jams, quilts and puzzles also are available; and, of course, they are all handmade.

“We are not a store you stop in and barter with and buy on the spot,” he said. “We offer the same reasonable prices to everyone, whether you are from Interlochen or Detroit. And the furniture is made to order; you can let your imagination be your guide.”

Store hours are Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Saturday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday 12:30-5 p.m. The store can be reached at 231-276-9081. BN