Amish Oak and American Furnishings continues under new owners
Lisa Baymler and Brian Koons, who also own Lyle's Shoes, focus on conscientious quality and customizable furniture.
Amish Oak and Americana Furnishings is newly operated by a husband-and-wife team.
Lisa Baymler and Brian Koons, who both grew up in Wadena, purchased the business in August 2022.
Koons is a 1991 Wadena High School graduate. Baymler graduated in 1992.
“He was my first junior high boyfriend. And he broke up with me at the lake, here in Park Rapids,” she recalled.
“At the Hubbard dam,” Koons added.
They stayed friends throughout their lives, marrying other people and having children. They reconnected when they were in their 40s.
“We’ve been married for five years,” Baymler said.
The couple also own Lyle’s Shoes, with locations in Park Rapids and Wadena.
Investing in community “We bought the Lyle’s Shoes in Wadena about five years ago. That sort of came up as a joke,” Baymler recalled.
She was a human resources consultant in the Cities at the time, when a high school classmate told them that Lyle’s was going to sell or close its doors. Koons worked for Canadian Pacific Railroad, and still does. The classmate urged them to buy the establishment, located in downtown Wadena since 1955.
“My parents had been really involved in the community, on city council and school board,” Baymler said. “I looked at my younger son and said, ‘Hey, should we own a shoe store in Wadena?’”
The couple jumped in.
“We decided we wanted to reinvest in the community that grew us. It would be sad to have a building sitting empty,” Baymler said.
Lyle’s Shoe’s will celebrate its 68th anniversary this year.
They always intended to expand to Park Rapids, so when “a great building opened up,” they branched out to their second location.
When Baymler and Koons learned that Amish Oak and Americana Furnishings was for sale, they saw another opportunity.
“It’s a really great business and quality, things that we believe in,” Baymler said. “We didn’t want to lose a great business in this town.”
They retained the staff and core products.
The store sells Amish, American-made, customizable hardwood furniture. They offer oak, cherry, maple, hickory, pine or walnut, along with rustic species of most, according to the website (www.amishfurnishings.com).
With 25 years of experience working with Amish craftsmen, the couple said the store collaborates with some of the best furniture makers in the business.
They continue to work with skilled, Amish builders in Ohio or Indiana.
The couple are attending markets this spring and are excited to bring new pieces to Park Rapids.
“We’re hoping to see some different styles, see what the trends are,” Baymler said.
Customers are interested in transitioning from “disposable” to “lifetime” furniture, she noted. They’re switching from cheap, assembly-required pieces to durable, solid, high-quality furniture.
Baymler recently launched a YouTube channel, called “Amish Undercover,” where each week she picks a different piece of Amish furniture at the store and talks about it.
“A lot of people don’t know what the difference is between regular and Amish furniture,” she said. “To me, the difference is heart. The builders really care how they work together, how it’s put together, if you’re happy with the quality.”
For example, Baymler ordered a customized office chair. She chose the wood, stain and leather.
As for new products, Baymler said, “We’ll likely change out some of the decor,” shifting with the latest decorative trends and rotating new products throughout the store.
“We’re likely to upgrade our kitchen accessories area,” she added, pointing out the need for access to nice knives, glassware and cookware in town.