Tom Pentecost owns and operates Amish Country Originals in Snohomish, offering furniture and structures available for DIY or already assembled. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)

Amish country: Outdoor furniture built the old-fashioned way

SNOHOMISH — It’s an outdoor furniture store that is outdoors.

The roadside sprawl has about 100 gliders, swings, benches and tables, punctuated by gazebos, yard barns, man caves and she shacks. A pirate ship playhouse with plank stands near the entrance.

It looks like a giant yard party waiting to happen. Or that maybe already happened.

Amish Country Originals has been turning heads since 1999 along the stretch of Highway 9 near Clearview, across the street from that antique red pickup on a high platform at Whiteside Towing and Truck Parts.

It’s a long way from Amish country.

Owner Tom Pentecost isn’t Amish, but he knows firsthand the quality of the workmanship from his many years of living in Ohio and working with the strict Mennonite sect that shuns modern technology and conveniences.

“They’re good people to deal with. They are always trying to improve their product,” Pentecost said.

The furniture comes directly from several Amish suppliers in Ohio.

“Everything is actually made in America,” he said. “That’s not a line.”

Pentecost is bringing the party inside at the Everett Home &Garden Show, March 10, 11 and 12, at Xfinity Arena.

“Welcome to Our Backyard” is the theme for the show, which has landscape exhibits such as terraces, patios and water features. About 225 vendors will offer everything from lawnmowers, hot tubs and digital security to fashion, health and art. Seminars and beer/wine tastings are included in the admission.

Take a seat with Pentecost when your feet get tired from exploring the arena.

He said he got into the furniture business in Ohio by taking a chance. “A guy was looking for local investors. He wanted to start opening Amish outdoor furniture and gazebos businesses, so I invested with him. He started on the East Coast, then his dealers started moving west.”

He and his wife, LuAnne, an elementary teacher, opened the business in 1997 about 2 miles from where it is now.

“It was a great business the first four or five years. I was basically just an order taker,” he said. “Then when 2001 came, it was a step back, but I survived. It was a good business until about 2008.”

To survive, he took a total hands-on approach.

“I started building and delivering all my barns instead of framers and contractors,” he said. “It gave a lot more personal touch. The guy they ordered it from, they saw him come out and build it, too. I got a lot less callbacks to fix things.”

Some of the products are made from wood. Others from recycled milk jugs.

The poly-furniture made from recycled plastic withstands the Pacific North-wet climate better than wood, and comes in 26 colors and 20-year warranties. Items resemble traditional wooden Adirondack style chairs, benches and tables but don’t splinter, warp or peel.

The assembled products sit out in the elements year-round as displays or until they find a home. Pick what you want and put it in your car, or he’ll deliver. Buyers can also get many items unassembled for DIY. There’s a covered warehouse in back where these are stored.

A storage barn in the middle of the property serves as the office. Inside are polished hickory wood gliders. They might not look comfortable, but when you sit you won’t want to get up.

Items include yard art lighthouses with a bulb on top, starting at $159. “The lighthouses are made out of the scraps from siding,” Pentecost said. “The Amish don’t waste anything.”

Paul Canniff bought a 14-by-14 foot playhouse last fall.

Why did he choose Amish Country Originals?

“That pirate ship play structure by the street,” Canniff said. “We were driving down (Highway) 9 like we often do and spotted that several times, so when we were thinking about a playhouse that came to mind. That’s smart marketing to put something distinctive out there like that.”

Canniff liked the options Pentecost offered.

“He had some really good designs and architectures. They didn’t look like sheds,”he said. “There’s enough space in the walls so we were able to put insulation so the kids could do sleepovers. We tricked it out a little.”

The playhouse was erected about 50 yards from the family’s home.

Canniff said it was a surprise for his kids, ages 5, 9 and 11. “They thought we were building a shed for the goats,” he said.

The playhouse is their second home. “They have all sorts of bold statements that they are going to live out there,” he said.

Not if their mom has anything to say about it.

“My wife was thinking it could be a little art studio down the road when the nest gets empty,” he said.

Home and garden show

Speakers

Friday

1 p.m. Trevor Cameron, Sunnyside Nursery: Rose pruning, variety selection, feeding and pest management will be discussed.

2 p.m. Steve Smith, Sunnyside Nursery: Hot new plants for 2017.

3 p.m. Rachel Zuetenhorst, T&L Nursery: Coordinate colors and textures and which plants are excellent companion plants for others in container gardens.

4 p.m. Free wine and beer tasting.

Saturday

11 a.m. Alan Regala, Shelf Genie: Learn how to modify your existing space to create your dream kitchen.

Noon. Trevor Cameron: Fertilizers, pest control, mole control and how to have a healthy and happy lawn.

1 p.m. Dawn McMillion, NW Natural Lighting: How to brighten rooms more evenly and effectively providing consistent light throughout the day and year.

2 p.m. Steve Smith: Learn about soils and natural fertilizers and pest management with organic gardening.

3 p.m. Chris Morris, Northwest Beneficials: Bugs and how to use them to take care of your pests.

3:30 p.m. Free wine and beer tasting.

Sunday

11 a.m. Scott Conner, Sunnyside Nursery: Homegrown, tree-ripened fruit from fruit trees.

Noon. Steve Smith: Perfect perennials for summer.

1 p.m. Amy Beaudoin, Solar Power Works: The cost and benefits of solar power in the Pacific Northwest.

2 p.m. Scott Conner: Tricks to growing blueberries, raspberries, grapes, kiwis, currants and general care, pruning, planting and fertilizing.

2:30 p.m. Free wine and beer tasting.

If you go

Everett Home &Garden Show: March 10, 11 and 12, Xfinity Arena, 2000 Hewitt Ave., Everett. Hours are noon to 7 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. More at www.everetthomegardenshow.com.

Admission: $7 adults, $6.50 seniors, military/families with I.D., $2 each. Ages 16 and younger are free.

On Sunday, from 10 to 11 a.m. only, admission is free to celebrate daylight saving time.

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