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The woods come to west Perham

Mary and Bill Boerger recently opened Log Creations and Gift Decor on West Main Avenue in Perham.1 / 5
The top of a pub table is routered out to display a fish inlay. Bill Boerger creates the table; Mary Boerger does the finishing-including the inlay and liquid glass resin.2 / 5
These campfire pokers are a popular gift for guys. Bill Boerger says he and a friend make 300 of them each January.3 / 5
Mary Boerger designs the custom bedding that is then sewn for her by an 80-year-old artisan.4 / 5
This series of whimsical birdhouses is decorated with reclaimed birch.5 / 5

Perham's newest retail business is open at 949 West Main Street. Log Creations and Gift Decor features the wood furniture and accessories crafted by Bill and Mary Boerger. Their wooden pieces are complemented with a delightful mix of work by other artisans and soft goods including sweatshirts, bags and scarves.

For Bill and Mary this new retail venture is an extension of the sales they have been doing at holiday-time kiosks in Minneapolis and St. Cloud shopping malls and at craft shows-including Phelps Mill. Mary began the kiosk sales four years ago with log lamps. She crafts the base and another artisan screens the shades. Mary says the motif with bear cubs frolicking on the lamp stand is the most popular.

Mary also crafts unique birdhouses made with reclaimed birch. The couple has a DNR permit to harvest downed birch limbs that are then added to the landscape surrounding the actual birdhouse. Mary uses other small branches to create picture frames and mirrors. She is planning to convert a room at the new retail location for manufacturing these smaller projects.

Bill tackles the manufacturing of furniture, from small benches to bed frames to tables and chairs. Mary then applies the liquid resin, giving the furniture a smooth, glassy finish. Many of the pieces feature inlay work where Bill uses a router to create a space in the wood surface for an accent piece. Pieces in the retail store feature a colorful fish and an elk.

They have done custom work, including a lake map. Bill says 80 percent of their furniture sales are for custom work. Most of the wood is cedar, with pine also available. Photos of some of the furniture pieces are available at

Bill and Mary both speak fondly of their artisans. Their cedar supplier is a man in his 70's in the Grand Rapids area who insists on sharing ice cream and coffee with each load of wood. An 80-year old seamstress makes custom bed covers and pillows. Each mention of a piece made by an artisan comes with a personal story.

The Boergers moved from St. Cloud in 2004. They and two other couples had set a goal to find retirement land in the lakes area from Detroit Lakes to Duluth. They found the perfect location north of Perham.

After selling a business with five retail locations and 60 employees, Bill says, "We wanted to do something together and our plan was to have no employees." Bill and Mary enjoy their new serenity and seasonal sports. They have two adult children and a nine-year-old granddaughter.

While a manufacturing and retail business might be daunting to some couples, Bill and Mary are enjoying their time together in a relatively quiet world at the lake. The retail store is open Tuesday through Friday from 10 to 5, and Saturday from 10 to 3.

Call 218-346-6311 for more information and watch for the Log Creations sign and flower boxes going up next week.