Log furniture an eye-catcher | SteamboatToday.com

Log furniture an eye-catcher

Nick Foster

Karen and Craig Tomke’s log furniture store at 108 S. Walnut St. has done well since opening in July, attracting the eyes of many drivers along U.S. Highway 40.

The idea for the shop developed through Craig’s work as a hunting guide. He traveled to several sporting shows in recent years, with Karen tagging along. At one of the shows, Karen met a log furniture maker and bought several items for her home.

“I called him up a few months later and said, ‘I get so many compliments on my stuff, I’d like to sell it,'” Karen said. “He said, ‘That’d be great.'”

Since opening Yampa Valley Log Furniture LLC, the Tomkes have found a second furniture maker to supply the store. And Craig, also a wood worker, has started making products, including lamps, dressers and different kinds of racks, out of the couple’s Mount Harris log home.

The couple bought their Walnut Street building in June, and now share it with Plants and Things owner Fawna Odom and Cowgirls & Coffee owner Lori Brazelton. The furniture shop occupies the space that most recently was used as a storage area by an antique dealer.

Karen said her store receives a lot of business from drive-by shoppers who see the goods through the windows and stop in for a closer look. To catch those morning and evening commuters, the Tomkes installed an automatic timer on some track lights to highlight their products.

Yampa Valley Log Furniture has a wide selection of large home furnishings, and Karen said she soon would be adding picture frames, bookends and other knick-knacks to their collection.

Having their 10-year-old daughter, Krista, answer the phone helps the business’ public relations, too, Karen said. Krista often answers calls and greets customers who are delighted by her young voice, Karen said.

Karen said she gets customers looking for a single item and customers who come to furnish a whole house. She wants more of the latter, and has ambitions of developing business agreements with condo-suppliers and decorators in Steamboat Springs.

While Yampa Valley Log Furniture has a large stock, which gets a new shipment every couple of weeks, Karen said custom orders also are available.

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