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Bridgewater resident Chris Panjwani partnered with the Amish and launched a new online store called Contemporary Craftsman.
BRIDGEWATER, NJ — When Chris Panjwani and his wife Laura found their forever home in Bridgewater it just made sense that they wanted to furnish it with long-lasting forever furniture.
“We waited to buy a house until we could afford our forever home so it made sense to us to
furnish it with forever furniture that would stand the test of time,” said Panjwani.
When the couple shopped around they encountered a lot of furniture that was constructed with manufactured wood, particleboard, or contained harsh chemicals such as formaldehyde.
“We were looking for only solid wood furniture using nuts and bolts and as little glue as possible to be safe for kids,” said Panjwani.
Panjwani, who grew up in southeast Michigan on the outskirts of Amish country, was very familiar with quality furniture.
He used to visit his uncle’s furniture store in Ann Arbor which sold Amish pieces. Those pieces are all handcrafted using 100 percent solid wood and are fully customizable.
Panjwani started having Amish furniture shipped from Michigan to his Bridgewater home.
“Friends and neighbors started commenting on how much they liked the furniture and asked where to get some. But there was not much around here on the East coast,” said Panjwani.
That’s when Panjwani decided to partner with the Amish in Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Indiana and launched a new online store called Contemporary Craftsman.
“We are passionate about Amish furniture because it does not contain any artificial wood products or toxic glues, so it is safer and more environmentally friendly than what you find in many big box stores and online. Plus, it’s all American-made and locally sourced so it supports our economy and has a smaller carbon footprint than mass-produced furniture, which is often made overseas,” said Panjwani.
Contemporary Craftsman allows customers to custom design dining, bedroom and office furniture. Eventually, nursery furniture will also be offered.
“You can build anything you want to the inch. Customers can call and say they want a specific design or a different type of furniture and then the Amish bring it to life,” said Panjwani.
Additionally, Panjwani said customers are able to see a rendering of the furniture before it is made to really visualize what the end product will look like.
It then takes about 12 to 15 weeks for the piece to be built, but Panjwani said it is worth the wait.
“We get that everyone is used to getting stuff fast these days,” said Panjwani. “But just like it’s
worth it to eat in a nice restaurant where the chef takes time to cook your meal just for you
instead of getting fast food, choosing to wait to get custom, handcrafted, American-made, wood
furniture instead of something mass-produced overseas is worth it to us. We hope that it is to
others as well.”
Source: Alexis Tarrazi, Patch Staff, Posted Aug 18, 2021