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Tuesday, Sep 02, 2014
Carrollwood News

Old world craftsmanship meets new world demands


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Bill Vogel likes the furniture he offers at Oak Emporium, 15445 N. Dale Mabry Highway. Built from real wood, by American craftspeople, the focus on each piece is quality, not quantity. Much of the furniture is built by Amish craftsmen who have a reputation for quality furniture making that goes back many generations.

“We pride ourselves on selling only American-made furniture built with real wood. There is no particle board or pressed board used,” says owner Bill Vogel.

If the furniture at Oak Emporium feels like it will last a lifetime, it’s because that was the intent of the manufacturers.

“Our Amish-crafted furniture is built to last for generations. It’s an investment,” Vogel explains. “It’s something you can use and enjoy throughout your lifetime, then pass on to your children. A lot of Amish refer to their furniture as heirloom-quality furniture.”

Open a desk or dresser drawer and the quality construction of the furniture at Oak Emporium is obvious. The interior components of the drawer, including the bottom, are real wood, held together by tight dovetail joints and screws, rather than staples, and mounted on heavy duty sliders. That is far more durable than what is found in most veneer-coated particle board furniture.

“Ninety percent of the furniture on the market is manufactured overseas. Even if it incorporates real wood, it is usually parawood, which is softer than pine,” Vogel says. “We are called Oak Emporium, but we carry a lot of different types of hard woods, such as maple, cherry, ash, birch and alder. They are much harder, denser and are more durable than the parawood.”

There is a wide selection of bedroom furniture, desks, bookcases, entertainment centers, china cabinets and stunning dining room sets at Oak Emporium, yet Vogel says that the store’s specialty is custom building.

“We give our customers many options. They can choose the wood type, the style, the size and the stain. We have more than 40 different stains to choose from. We deal with a lot of Amish craftsmen throughout the U.S. who build our furniture for our customers,” Vogel explains. “We make a drawing and diagram with details of what the customer wants, and they build it just the way the customer wants it. They build and stain the piece of furniture, then they use a post-catalyzed varnish, which makes the furniture water- and heat-resistant. Most of our custom furniture orders take approximately six to eight weeks.”

Many people think that Amish furniture is just the simple, if elegant and timeless, old country or mission style of design, but that’s not the case.

“The Amish have come up with some modern transitional styles that are very popular with younger people today who are looking for quality furniture,” Vogel points out.

Vogel says that one thing has been consistent since he opened Oak Emporium in 1986.

“When customers come into our store, they are overwhelmed by the quality of the furniture.”

For additional information, visit www.oakemporiumfurni ture.com, or call (813) 264-7378.

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