Since 1989, One Family in Particular Gives a New Meaning to the Phrase ‘Hard Work’
Walking into the business, one is greeted kindly with a smile and offered a cup of coffee. Taking in the surroundings, my eye immediately gravitates towards the very impressive, very colorful selection of candles. Some are medium-sized, some large and some are bigger than my entire head. Browsing everything in awe, the candle descriptions range from “Belgian Pecan Waffles” and “Grandma’s Kitchen” to “Northern Pine.” Along the other side of the wall, inspirational and religious wall canvases hang. The room is well-lit and has a cozy yet familiar feel. Soft Christian music plays in the background, and customers with twinkling eyes can be seen talking amongst themselves, about all of the products they enjoy most.
Swiss Country Lawn and Crafts, an outdoor furniture and home decor business, is owned and operated by Dwight and Mabel Mast. They have five children: Carrie, 26; Emily, 32; Joshua, 34; Laurie, 30; and Sara, 23.
Carrie conducts orders for the store, as well as serves as the interior decorator. Joshua conducts sales and deliveries, and their son-in-law, Cristen, serves as the sales manager on outdoor decor. Their other daughters have moved on from the business and are no longer working at the company. Additionally, they also have seven other employees who help run the facility as well.
While the business began in the Mast family home in Sugarcreek, Ohio, in 1989, it soon transitioned into a storefront in 1995, due to the family “outgrowing” their current location.
The store offers an array of intriguing items, including tons of outdoor decor, such as birdfeeders, lawn furniture, mailboxes, playground sets and more. The business also has a plethora of indoor accessories to choose from, including aromatherapy, clocks, fashion accessories, wall art and more. Best-selling items include the moving flame battery-operated candle and the polyethylene furniture, which is made from recycled milk jugs.
Regarding custom orders, Dwight elaborates on what the business offers.
“We sell Luxcraft, which is lifetime warranty,” Dwight says. “With them, we have a small upcharge fee, if there [are] custom orders. We do custom coloring, not necessarily size on items.”
Regarding promotional sales, Swiss Country will be having an open house available for customers sometime in the near future.
“This year, we are going to have a special because it is our 30th year for our open house, [which] will be toward the end of September,” Dwight says. “So, we often do 10 percent off our outdoor in-stock furniture. One thing we do inside is that we always have a candle of the month.”
For every candle sold, a portion of the profits will feed children in Haiti, as well as other parts of the country. The store also has a greeting card line that helps fund an educational program in Haiti.
Dwight discussed how the business ultimately gained recognition.
“My wife has four girls in her family; two of her sisters married guys from Lancaster, Pennsylvania, and they were into selling lawn furniture,” Dwight says. “So, one weekend in September in 1989, we had the Swiss Festival, which happens every year in Sugarcreek. They brought a trailer load of lawn furniture in, and we set it in our front yard. By the end of the day, we had sold a whole trailer load as well. That got the fever pretty high. We got more in, and then just kind of grew [from there].”
Growing up on a dairy farm in Foxworth, Mississippi, Dwight says his father, Ora, has taught him everything he knows about the business industry and is one of his biggest role models. Another influence Dwight has come to appreciate includes the owner of LuxCraft, Brian Mullet, and his two brothers. LuxCraft is a well-known outdoor furniture company, in which Brian gave an offer Dwight could not refuse and said he would make the furniture if Dwight could sell it. From there, the rest was history.
“The product they make is pretty much top of the line, lifetime warranty,” Dwight says. “[With] their motive operation [and] their people integrity, they run a super business and have encouraged us.”
Donna Thomas, one of the store’s customers and a Bedford, Ohio, resident, has been visiting the location since 2009. Every year, she makes a special trip to check out the new inventory.
While she does not have a favorite product in particular, she enjoys browsing the country-themed wall decor and getting innovative ideas for her own home. Previously, she has purchased wall decor and storage shelves. She says she would definitely recommend the business to others because it is unique and has a large variety.
Swiss Country prides itself on outstanding customer service and quality pieces.
“God has blessed us in a way that we would not have imagined,” Dwight says. “We want to give God the glory; we [also] have some really good employees. Their goal is to give good customer service, to make [people] feel welcome. So, we could not do what we do without our employees.”
The business is open Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information, visit SwissCountryLawn.com.