Tools of the Trade

Sunnyside Cordless & Fabrics Has Flourished Through Community Support

Writer / Matt Keating
Photography Provided

Ervin Bontrager, co-owner of Sunnyside Cordless & Fabrics in Ligonier, says he is touched every day by how supportive his community has been.

“One of the great things about running this business is that I started selling cordless power tools wholesale to stores,” he says.Sunnyside Cordless & Fabrics “When we first moved here, a lot of neighbors asked if they could buy power tools from me. I also received a lot of questions from other local people wanting to buy cordless power tools. I decided that it was worth the effort to start a retail side of the business where customers could come in and get the power tools they wanted.”

Bontrager notes that he started the power-tool side of the business in 2016.

“We didn’t add in the fabric side of the business until September 2021,” Bontrager says. “It was a good way to expand what we had to offer. I built the power-tool side up first to get that going in the right direction.”

Sunnyside offers Makita cordless power tools and DEWALT power tools.

“Those are the two power tools we sell the most,” Bontrager says. “They are absolutely the greatest when it comes to high quality. They are both perfect for construction work, as well as drilling, sawing and other work. Makita and DEWALT both have cordless impact wrenches, screwdrivers, rotary hammers, drills and other great equipment.”

Bontrager believes the high quality of the power tools he sells has been a big reason why he has garnered such a loyal customer base.

“We have had a lot of people tell us they love our cordless power tools because they can rely on them for all of their different construction jobs,” Bontrager says.

Bontrager previously worked for the Forest River RV factory for almost five years before he started his power-tool business.

Sunnyside Cordless & Fabrics“After I got the cordless power-tool side of the business going in a positive direction, my wife Lorene and I decided to add in the fabrics side,” Bontrager says. “A woman who lives near here sold her fabrics store and my wife always dreamed of having her own business, so we were able to start offering high-quality fabrics as well. That part of the business has really gone well.”

Bontrager adds that with so many homes and RVs in the area, it helps that workers in the area need a lot of power tools and fabrics.

“There are also a lot of boats around here that need to be worked on,” Bontrager says.

The company also sells helpful household items.

“We sell children’s toys, as well as gifts and baby items,” Bontrager says. “We also have can lids and freezer jars. The can lids and freezer jars come in real handy. We also sell a lot of different soaps called Safe soaps. We sell a bunch of them. They have been very popular.”

Bontrager says their cleaning products have also been a big hit.

“We have Melaleuca cleaning products, which have been selling well,” he says. “We also sell dish-wash soap and vitamins. We have some customers that come in and get a lot of different things. They might come in for the cordless power drills and fabrics, but they see other items that they need and they stock up.”

Bontrager enjoys working from home.

“Lorene and I really like the people who live in Ligonier, and they have been so friendly and supportive,” he says. “It’s wonderful to live out in the country and we have a great community. It’s very family oriented.”

Bontrager also continues to work for his father.

“I still have a sub shop here where I can do a lot of work for my dad,” he says. “I really enjoy it. I build poly lawn furniture. I build his bases and tables for his business, Meadowview Backyard Furniture in Topeka, Indiana. I like keeping busy, and I can work onSunnyside Cordless & Fabrics the furniture and my business at the same time. It’s a lot of fun.”

Visit Sunnyside Cordless & Fabrics at 5211 West 1100 North in Ligonier, and call 260-894-3343 for more info.

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