Photographer / Timothy Hare
Finally, a new year is upon us. In a few months, the weather will begin warming up and it’ll be camping season again. Soon it will be time to clean the RV and prepare it for that first weekend out, or perhaps vacation looks a little different with a cozy cottage along your favorite lake. Even if the packing list gets checked and double checked, it’s far too easy to forget something, like a pillow or sheets. So what’s a vacationer to do, especially if the closest supermarket is a bit too far away?
Oliver Lake Sales was opened in early 2020 by LaGrange residents Rob West and Charlie Hire to supply year-round residents, lake cottage owners, and other vacationers with practical items and home decor.
“It’s something unique,” West says. “We keep adding different designs as we go to keep it fresh, to keep the ideas there. If people send us ideas and they work, we’ll do it. We’re always looking.”
They began with sheets and blankets, then quickly expanded to include other items like Egyptian cotton towel sets, bamboo memory-foam pillows and more. The products are available through the Oliver Lake Sales e-commerce store.
“You don’t have to go to Walmart if you don’t feel comfortable, especially now with COVID going on,” West says.
It didn’t take long before the company also started selling decor items, like campground site and wall art signs, most of which are made by Amish craftsmen in the LaGrange area. Since they’re made locally, most of the designs can be personalized.
“It’s pretty easy – just a couple clicks and you can get your sign on order,” West says.
Some of the company’s most popular items are lake-specific, community pride metal and wooden signs. These designs are getting so popular that some local souvenir and trinket stores will have them available for in-person shopping this spring.
Eventually, West and Hire want to see more of their products in campground stores around the area, to provide common and necessary amenities and souvenir decorations for campers.
“It’s just convenience for local shoppers and local small stores that are saying, ‘Hey, I know we can reach out to Charlie and Rob at Oliver Lake Sales, and order online and have it shipped to us,’” West says.
At its heart, Oliver Lake Sales is a way to celebrate West and Hire’s community and those in the surrounding area. They are personally involved in their town and try to facilitate ways for others to get involved as well.
One way that West and Hire promote local pride is by offering products exclusively through school fundraisers, and they recently made such an offering to Lakeland Junior/Senior High School.
“I let the booster club have the first pick of three signs,” West says. “They mail in what they want, and we run them and sell it to them.”
West and Hire are interested in reaching out to other local schools with the same offer.
“We’ll do the paperwork for you, you do the fundraiser, then we’ll ship it to the individual or we’ll ship it to the school and they can pick it up there,” West says.
School representatives can help design a sign to include the school name, mascot and anything else desired.
Ultimately, the owners enjoy making products their customers love.
“There’s nothing like it when you get an email from a customer, and it’s just a simple thing that shows the sign hanging in their living room,” West says. “They’ll say, ‘Love it, looks great. Can’t wait to get some for our family for Christmas. Can’t wait to see it every day when we’re there at the lake house.’ That’s what’s fun.”
Oliver Lake Sales ships anywhere in the world. Check out their inventory at oliverlakesales.com. To custom order a sign for your lake cottage, or to inquire about school fundraisers, email email@example.com.
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