Going With The Grain
Craftsmanship is Key at Hilltop Hickory Furniture
Photographer / Mike Kanning
Wayne Fry, co-owner of Hilltop Hickory Furniture in Ligonier, loves the area he lives in. He says there are many strong business opportunities near the lakes.
“I love it – we are busy making new furniture all the time,” Fry says. “This is a very unique area, and the demand for rustic furniture has really increased.”
Fry and his employees at the company produce rustic furniture and a range of specialty products.
“We started in 1995, and we really specialize in a full line of furniture,” Fry says. “We make a lot of dining and bedroom furniture, as well as our Hickory Rocker rocking chairs. A lot of our items are bought by people getting furniture for their second homes or lake houses. That’s where we do really well. People want to add on to their homes, and need more furniture.”
Fry runs the business with his nephew Lavern, and he says their goal is to make furniture that will look good anywhere.
“We always strive to do the best work possible, and we pass that on to our employees,” he says. “We want all of our customers to be very happy with their furniture. We also offer a lot of good prices.”
Fry says his dining room tables with leaf extensions are popular with customers.
“We really do a lot of wholesale business, so that keeps us busy year-round,” Fry says.
“We also sell a lot of furniture for bedrooms – beds, dressers and nightstands. We have a lot of different styles to choose from, which has also helped us. We also make desks, game tables and islands.”
Fry says hickory products in particular have contributed to the company’s popularity.
“Hickory is really solid and strong,” he says. “It can be tough to cut, carve and drill, but if the hickory’s cut and shaped the right way, it can really look good. We have heard a lot of people tell us they love the look and the craftsmanship. That’s a nice compliment. It makes us want to continue to get better all the time.”
Fry believes the hickory products he offers remind people of simpler times.
“The hickory relaxes people.” he says. “I think it reminds them of visiting at their grandparents’ house. They remember sitting on the porch relaxing in a comfortable rocking chair, or at their grandparents’ hickory kitchen table. People wish they could return to that time in their lives.”
The rustic look of Hilltop Hickory’s furniture has also increased the popularity of the business.
“Rustic furniture looks really good in the lake houses,” Fry says. “I also think there were a lot of people that spent more time at their lake houses last summer because of COVID-19. They needed new or more furniture to go with their second homes. It helped us.”
Orders on bedroom furniture, such as beds, dressers and nightstands, have also been steady for Fry and his team.
“Our kitchen tables get ordered a lot because families were looking to get away more last summer and take a break,” Fry says. “I think a lot of people will continue to order our furniture through the cold months because they want to plan ahead for next summer.”
Fry says he and Lavern strive to provide a nice place for their employees to work.
“They really do an excellent job, and they make sure all of our furniture looks great,” Fry says of his staff members. “They also help us keep up with the demand for our wholesale business. We do a lot of shipping for customers out of Indiana. We ship furniture to Florida, Minnesota, North Carolina, Wisconsin, Texas and California.
We ship furniture out every week, which keeps us busy.”
Hilltop Hickory Furniture is located at 3351 West 1200 North in Ligonier. For more information on products, contact them at 260-593-2421.