LIBERTY, KY – Casey County’s South Fork Ridge Road Amish community is rich with highly-skilled craftsmen and women, natural resources and a shared belief in: “a hard day’s work for a hard day’s pay.” What it lacked was someone who believed in their skills and quality work enough to invest in and help market their products to the general public. Enter Jason and Sara Kahn. Problem solved.
The young couple moved to Casey County, from Little Rock, AR three years ago, seeking a slower pace of life and a safe place to raise their young daughters. They found that in the thriving, rural community and formed friendships that laid a foundation on which to build their own small business called Creek Road Rustic Furniture.
The store, located at 694 South Fork Creek Rd., is packed with handcrafted bedroom, dining room and other furniture accessories formed and fashioned from all types of local wood species, ranging from oak and elm to maple, pine, cedar, hickory, cherry and, of course, barn wood using traditional Amish tools and skills.
“Everything in this store was built within two miles of here,” Jason Kahn said. “It’s all locally made from lumber right here in our backyard, and it is one-of-a-kind furniture. No two pieces are alike.”
But the store is also a source for custom orders. Custom orders can be filled within a month’s time, he added.
The Kahns opened their store August 11, 2018, near the end of the tourist season, but early enough to get some custom orders before Christmas. “A guy, a tourist from Reno, NV, walked in one day, asked for a pen and paper and drew out a custom table and chairs and returned home to Nevada,” Jason Kahn said. His live-edge table and chairs are ready for pickup or ship today. The Kahns also received a custom order from one of the marina owners in the area.
It’s the tourism industry they hope will help them grow their business, but Kahn said everyone should be able to afford quality-built furniture made by local craftsmen.
“I want to be able to serve and reach all types of people,” Kahn explained. “Our prices are reasonable, and it’s all made right here in our community, not in a factory somewhere.”
He sees first-hand the work being done on each piece, that’s something you cannot get from a factory-made item.
“Since moving here, I’ve gotten to see the good quality stuff my neighbors were making and watch them make it,” Kahn added. “I know the work that goes into it, and by doing this, I’m making a living and helping my neighbors.
Although, most of his work is to sell and help deliver the customer’s specifications to the builders, Jason does dabble in woodworking too.
“I do some finishing work, but the work is done by the Amish woodcraftsmen here who’ve been doing it for decades,” he explained.
The Kahns are already planning to double the size of the store’s inventory, including adding custom cabinetry, by April. They will be adding outdoor furniture and be prepared for the busy tour summer tourist season.
They found the financing they needed for the startup operation at Casey County Bank and came to Southeast Kentucky Economic Development Corporation (SKED) for additional inventory purchases last fall. SKED provided funding with a U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) Micro Loan.
As part of an SBA Micro Loan with SKED, businesses receive free technical assistance in the specific areas they choose. The Kahns have gotten help with website design, accounting practices and social media marketing.
They say the help from SKED has been a lifesaver.
“Everyone at SKED has been so helpful and friendly,” Kahn said. “I really didn’t know everything that was involved in running a small business, and SKED has been a great resource and answered my calls quickly at all times. It’s been a great experience.”
SKED Business Loan Officer Karen Minton says working with the Kahns has been a real pleasure for her.
“I have had the pleasure of working with Jason, Sara and their girls since they moved to Casey County,” Minton said. “They are wonderful people who work hard and are trustworthy. Their furniture is excellent quality, reasonably priced and different from any other furniture store in our area.”
To learn more about Creek Road Rustic Furniture, visit their website: www.creekroadrusticfurniture.net.
If you know a small business owner in need of working capital or funds to purchase equipment or building improvements, contact SKED at (606) 677-6100 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.