Stan Shetler, Craftsman

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17229 C.R. 18
Goshen, Indiana

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SFC > About SFC > History


Swartzendruber Furniture Creations has a rich history that goes back 43 years. I, Larion Swartzendruber grew up on a farm in Iowa and loved it. I also loved woodworking as long as I can remember. My educational track and part time jobs were centered around farming, woodworking and construction. When I was in College I determined that I wanted to create a business model where the craftsman and customer could connect with one another in a very personal way. After earning my College degree, I began teaching high school Industrial Arts classes and enjoyed the students immensely. We stretched each other as we took on challenging class projects such as: building grandfather clocks, fiberglass canoes and overhauling car engines.

Then the unexpected happened. The opportunity of a "life time"! I was approached by a local professional sound equipment company and they asked me if I wanted to build their highly detailed "high end" walnut cabinetry. There company motto was "the ultimate in perfection". I was determined to give it a try even though I had the teaching job. I was convinced I could do both. I did it and after teaching for 5 years and operating the furniture business with several employees for (4) years, it became clear that the business needed my full time attention. Our shop was in a renovated old barn which we quickly outgrew. The word about our work was getting around and we were getting larger and larger commissions for custom furniture plus the demand for stereo cabinets was growing as well. Over the years we trained and developed skilled craftsmen and designers and our customers continued to stretch us all in new ways. Our work included commissions for Notre Dame and trading desks for the Chicago Board of trade besides many commissions for beautiful personal homes. One fun project was designing and building a Walnut display case that Notre Dames football team presented to Ronald Reagan when they were invited to the White House after winning the National championship! With our furniture making we had established a level of creative excellence that we were not willing to deviate from and our customers responded by telling their friends. For many years our main business was designing one-of-a-kind pieces for regional customers. Then we were exposed to the Arts & Crafts Movement by a commission for one of our New York City customers. We fell in love with that style and never looked back. After we outgrew the barn we renovated the Old Goshen Buggy Top factory building from the 1850’s and then later renovated an 1890’s bag factory and worked out of there for 27 years. Our motto was "the best of the old and the best of the new" as it pertained to our work place, designs, construction methods, attention to detail and personal care for our customers. At the same time we started marketing on the internet and soon had customers from all over the country and some overseas as well. Our web site will show you many of the Swartzendruber designs that we have developed over the years and we continue to modify and design new ones. We are pleased to have commissions of our Prairie Style pieces in original Frank Lloyd Wright restored homes, new Prairie Style houses, Bungalow style dwellings, Contemporary houses and restored classics. The common thread among our customers is the recognition, love and appreciation for Creative Excellence. That includes great design, wood selection, joinery, upholstering and finishing. They also recognize that there is a distinct difference in furniture built by craftsmen who are artists, deriving great satisfaction from what they do!

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