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Roger and Shari Krause greet customers in a casual, friendly way at their furniture store on County Highway 54 in rural Ottertail, the Pine Mill Farm Furniture Company. Marie Johnson/FOCUS

Pine Mill Farm Furniture celebrates 25 years

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Pine Mill Farm Furniture Company is not your typical furniture store.

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The differences start before you even go inside.

The store is situated on acres of sprawling green lawn, with quaint patches of trees, shrubs, flowers and even a duck pond in sight. Just across the dirt driveway is a restored 1895 home, worthy of a photo spread in a glossy magazine.

The overall ambience is one of nature, openness, and peace and quiet.

The store itself is an old milking barn that, years ago, held up to eight cows. Now, it’s converted to hold small displays of furniture and a few select pieces of artwork.

Once inside, don’t expect a salesperson to come up and ask you if you need help with anything. Instead, you’ll be greeted casually by at least one of the owners, Roger and Shari Krause, who will chat you up in friendly conversation. By getting to know you, they get to know your needs and your style. Then, they can determine what they’ve got that would work best for you.

What they’ve got is also different than you’ll find at most places.

All of Pine Mill’s furniture is handmade by Roger, with help from a long-time associate. Roger works with all kinds of wood, giving each bench, dresser, table, chair, bed or other piece a unique sense of character. He loves to find the ‘faces’ in wood grains, and work those into his pieces.

Roger also does a lot of custom work, fashioning functional pieces to meet customer specifications.

Pine Mill is not the place to go to get cheap, put-the-parts-together-yourself furniture. It’s the place to go for high-quality, handcrafted, real wood pieces that will last for decades.

“We’ve got customers from 1989 who are still our customers,” said Roger during a recent interview. “They can bring their tables in to get them sanded and refinished, and they’ll look brand new again.”

This July, the Krauses are marking a milestone of 25 years in business at Pine Mill.

The venture began back when the store was still a milking barn, though it was no longer in use. Shari, Roger, and their two sons, Scott and Chad, started making wooden rocking horses from a design conceived by Roger.

The horses became more popular than they ever imagined. Before long, Fingerhut and QVC were placing large orders of them. Within three years, the family built and sold 8,000 rocking horses. After that, they started a ‘short line’ of 18 furniture pieces, which a sales representative sold for them, all over the country.

In the early 1990s, the Krauses opened a furniture store in Fargo, N.D. Business was good, but the family soon tired of the long commute between there and their Ottertail home.

To solve that problem, they moved their business right next door to their home, into the old milking barn. The set-up was, and is, ideal for them, with both their home and Roger’s workshop right on the property.

Both the business and the workshop have grown over the years, as Roger has become more prolific and honed his skills. 

Shari jokes about her husband’s efforts in the early days. The first thing Roger ever built for her was a cedar chest, she said, back when they were still in high school. After that, he built a buffet for his mother. But, like everything he made back then, Shari laughed, “they turned out like big square boxes.”

But today, after years in the construction business – Roger used to build million-dollar homes in the Twin Cities area – and in furniture-making, he’s an old pro.

“It was like bells went off,” said Shari. “One day he was building a square box, and the next he was making all kinds of beautiful things.”

He keeps busy, producing about 25 pieces of furniture a month. But for the Krauses, business is not about the ‘how much’ they produce – it’s about the ‘how good’ the product is. It’s also about the people they’re able to meet and get to know.

“People enjoy coming out here, and we always have a lot of fun with them,” said Roger.

“It’s a different situation than a lot of stores, because we visit with people,” said Shari. “It’s very personable.”

Pine Mill Farm will be offering 10 percent off of purchases through the month of July in celebration of the company’s 25th anniversary.

The store is open Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. For more information, visit www.pinemillfarm.com, or to make an appointment during non-regular business hours, call 218-367-2885.

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Marie Johnson
Marie Johnson (formerly Nitke) came to the Perham Focus after several years as the Education and Arts & Entertainment Editor at the Herald-Review of Grand Rapids, Minn. She lives in rural Ottertail with her husband, Dan, and their spunky yellow lab, Louisa.
(218) 346-5900 x228
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