President’s Day is the time to honor all U.S. presidents, past and present. It’s also a three-day weekend for many of the nation’s workers, and that has us celebrating the companies that make their products in America.
One of our favorite examples is L.J. Gascho. Renowned for its craftsmanship and quality, the Michigan-based furniture company makes some of the finest solid wood furniture in the world. Founder Lyle J. Gascho is a woodworker and fourth-generation chicken farmer who learned woodworking techniques from Amish and Mennonite craftsmen. With a passion for quality and detail, he started making furniture as a hobby.
Art Van Furniture’s relationship with L.J. Gascho happened by chance in 1989. An executive and buyer were dining at a Mid-Michigan restaurant when they noticed the beauty of table. After getting the craftsman’s name from the restaurant owner, the buyer contacted him and asked if he’d sell his pieces at our stores. That encounter helped turn Lyle’s hobby into a thriving business, and 25 years later 115 employees carry on his vision and mission: “produce high quality furniture that will become heirlooms to be passed on from generation to generation.”
A customer favorite, L.J. Gascho products are individually handcrafted. An assortment of in-stock pieces are available for immediate delivery, or you can place a custom order. Simply come into one of our showrooms, find your favorite piece, and select your wood, color and hardware. Your custom-made furnishing will be delivered in just weeks.
“We take pride in our work, and operate with honesty and integrity,” says Brandon Yowler, director of marketing for L.J. Gascho. “We’re not just making pieces of furniture, we’re making products that are part of people’s lives.”
Everything is hand-made using solid red oak and maple woods. Table slides are made with solid maple to add durability, and some are gear driven to make it easy for one person to operate. Pedestal feet include self-adjustable levelers. Round table rims and chair backs are made from solid woods and are steam bent.
The finishing process is also unique. Stains are hand rubbed to bring out the natural characteristics of the wood. The finish is done with Beshta-var, a catalyzed varnish that is resistant to substances including water, alcohol, warm dishes, and even nail polish remover. It is also resistant to marring and scratching.
The company is so remarkable that ABC World News featured Gascho’s Anniversary dining room table in its first-ever ‘Made in America’ special. The piece had been designed for Art Van Furniture stores to celebrate 25 years of working together.
With L.J. Gascho, you not only get a beautiful piece of furniture, you get a chance to make a family memory that can last forever.
“One of our customers had been diagnosed with cancer,” says Brandon. “He realized that life was short so he took his Gascho table, flipped it over and wrote a letter to his family. He shared seven things he had found to be true in life, and then he invited them to add their own wisdom and keep passing it on. Stories like that keep us going, and we’re proud to offer heirloom-quality furniture.”
Brandon says L.J. Gascho is committed to making products that are relevant for today’s consumers. The company continues to launch new collections with pieces that include dining sets, entertainment centers, beds, dressers, chests, nightstands, end tables, cocktail tables, china cabinets, sofa tables and vanities. The new collections feature the company’s solid-wood heirloom quality with looks that bridge traditional with more modern styling.
L.J. Gascho is a Made in America success story. Congratulations on a job well done!