The Next Generation of Furniture
Alegacy Furniture uses American-made, Amish products to guarantee customer satisfaction
by Jocelyn Murray

Five years ago, no one would have dreamed of starting a new business venture in one of the worst recessions this country has ever seen. However, the founding partners of Alegacy Furniture in Pottstown—Mike Newswanger, Steve Sweigart and Ron Martin—already had their plans of opening well underway when the recession hit, and there was no turning back. “People wondered if we were sure of what we were doing,” says Newswanger. However, since the birth of the 6,000-square-foot showroom in 2007, the business has seen a steady increase in sales, reaffirming the partners’ decision to open the store.

There are a few notable factors that set Alegacy apart from the big, brand-new furniture manufacturers and retailers such as Ikea and Pottery Barn. All of the furniture at Alegacy is 100 percent American-made by Amish manufacturers, coming mostly from Ohio and Indiana. According to Newswanger there is one main reason that the three decided to take this route instead of the imported, sub-grade furniture that many retailers are using today.

“This is built the way furniture used to be made, that kind of construction detail,” he explains. “They have come up to the standards as far as style and current trends, but where they excel is the construction quality.”

Using the Amish manufacturers in the Midwest has allowed Alegacy to offer its customers an extremely diverse assortment of furniture pieces for almost every room in a home, from bedroom furniture and dining sets to modular office units.

Customers can find almost any piece they are looking for in a variety of wood species—cherry, elm, oak, hickory, maple, etc.—and more than 30 finishes that will fit the needs for whatever style they are trying achieve. However, the furniture in their showroom is just that—for show. Each piece is made to order for a specific customer, designed to every one of their requested specifications, something that is unique to Alegacy. “Customers can make it their own by choosing their wood finish, color, fabric and leather,” Newswanger explains, “and we can make them change the dimensions, too.”

If a customer sees a piece in the showroom that they want, the piece can also be modified to fit their stipulations. In doing so, Alegacy guarantees long-lasting customer satisfaction, leaving little room for the need to ever replace their products, unlike the mass-produced and imported furniture sold at many other retailers.

Instead of using veneers and other shortcuts employed by the larger firms, Alegacy prides itself on using completely solid wood pieces and handmade construction in all of its pieces—including dove-tailed drawer boxes and full extension drawers—resulting in durable furniture that seldom needs to be replaced or repaired. “Within a couple of years people are thinking about replacing, and if you do that a few times you spend as much on that as you would have spent on good quality furniture the first time around,” says Newswanger. “With the items we sell, in five or 10 years you’re not going to be saying, ‘We have to replace this.’”

And, even though customers may pay slightly more for unique pieces, many of the prices at Alegacy are competitive with other stores, even though customers are assured of getting a higher-quality piece.

Well Made for Less
Unfortunately, many people are unaware of the difference in quality between furniture using sub-grade materials and those that use solid wood, until it is too late. “I just had a customer come in here for the first time,” Newswanger says, “and she said, ‘I wish I would have known you were here before. I just bought a bedroom about a year ago and it wasn’t near as well made,’ and she said, ‘From what I see from your prices, I could have gotten a better one for less.’”

However, Alegacy does offer financing for customers who would prefer to spread out payment over a longer amount of time. A deposit is made when the piece is ordered and then once it is delivered—about 10 to 12 weeks later—the customer can chose whether to pay out the rest of the cost or start their individualized financing plan. This is part of the second reason that Alegacy has maintained its individuality from other furniture retailers—its impeccable customer service.

“We like to give personal customer service,” says Newswanger. The three of us involved here are partners in the business and we handle everything ourselves.”

From working the showroom floor to picking up ordered pieces from the manufacturer to final delivery, the three partners handle all the work; there is no extraneous or outsourced delivery company. The company has its own delivery truck, and the partners personally drive to the manufacturing sites to pick up the ordered pieces, drive them back to the store, inspect them and then deliver it themselves to the customers, something customers rarely see from nationwide brand-name retailers.

“People are surprised to see us coming out on the delivery and they like it,” Newswanger says. “They enjoy seeing the same people they dealt with when they purchased it on the delivery; they like to know their furniture is being taken care of from start to finish.”

By handling the entire process themselves and keeping the production American-made, Alegacy is also exceptionally “green” with its business. While retailers usually ship American wood overseas to be constructed into furniture then shipped back to the United States using a large amount of disposable materials and pollution from unnecessary travel, Alegacy keeps its carbon footprint to a minimum through reusable packing blankets and one truck for all pickups and deliveries.

Despite the stereotypes that sometimes come along with the Amish-made tag lines—simple, lighter oak pieces—the products at Alegacy are keeping up with the demands of the modern market. “They have made some real advances over the last 10 years; we look at it as a new generation of Amish furniture,” explains Newswanger. “This is the next step.”

Visit Alegacy Furniture’s showroom at 1486 S. Hanover Street in Pottstown, PA 19465, call 610-970-4340 for more information or explore products and services at