Chambersburg business will showcase poly lawn furniture at Home Show
Every time a milk jug is emptied and recycled, it has the chance for a second life in the form of poly furniture.
Air Hill Lawn Furniture, based in Chambersburg, Pa., made the switch from making outdoor furniture mainly from wood to poly about 14 years ago.
“We hate wood,” Michael Hostetler Sr. said jokingly.
The family-owned and operated Air Hill Lawn Furniture will make its debut at the Home Builders Association of Washington County Home Show. The show will be from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m Saturday, March 10, and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, March 11, at Hagerstown Community College’s Athletic Recreation Community Center.
“I always liked this kind of thing,” Hostetler said of building lawn furniture.
He worked for another business building barns and then he started building lawn furniture for the business. In 1991, the owner sold Hostetler the business.
“Been doing it ever since,” he said.
Hostetler, along with his sons, Michael Jr. and Levi, decided 14 years ago that it was time to build all their items in-house using the poly wood.
He said they realized that poly was becoming more popular, so they looked into it and found that poly was a better product to work with especially for making something that needs to withstand the weather.
Since using the poly, which takes plastic milk jugs and turns them into wood-like products, Hostetler said they haven’t looked back.
“You don’t have to stain it. You don’t have to worry about it fading. You don’t have to worry about it rotting,” he said. “It’s just a whole lot better.”
Hostetler said they sell a variety of items — gliders, swings, table sets and more. They do build some items in wood, including swing sets, but only if the customer is specifically looking for it.
His most popular item is single gliders, which cost on average $259, as well as 4-foot and 5-foot gliders.
“A traditional rocker, you can’t rock on a rough patio,” he said. “A glider you set on anything and it still works. It’s just a nice smooth glide. Most times — we have a couple rockers here just in case — people come in with a traditional rocker in mind and buy a glider.”
All of the furniture is made and assembled on site, Hostetler said they receive the poly just like lumber.
“It’s hard to tell you how long each one takes because we make 50 at a time,” he said. “We cut out stock, seats in the winter time and put them together and stack them. In the summer, we just go get a seat, go get a leg and get a stand, then it doesn’t take too long to put it together.”
Wood’s disadvantages, Hostetler said, is that “it cracks and splinters,” unlike poly where “both sides are the same and you don’t have to worry about it warping.”
The poly is made in Chicago and is shipped to a distributor in Ohio where Air Hill Lawn Furniture gets its poly. The poly comes in a variety of colors, but Air Hill Lawn Furniture sticks with about 12 colors, mostly neutrals, and a few bright colors. The most popular colors are a chocolate brown and weathered wood, which he said is a taupe color.
But, he said, if a customer wants a certain color, he said they will build it. They even will design a piece with the customer. And as an extra benefit, customers can get designs engraved on the back, “anything at all,” he said.
One advantage of the poly is that it can withstand weather.
“Weather does nothing to it,” he said. “You can let it sit out all winter long and it looks the same when it started.”
He said it doesn’t fade under the hot sun.
“I had a customer who had it at the beach for eight years and it looks just like it did,” he said.
Hostetler said he’s looking forward to the Home Show because in the past they had customers in Hagerstown and Greencastle, Pa., and were looking to expand their market.
Although he started the business, his sons do the heavy lifting, but Hostetler said he’s the one who handles the front of business.
He encourages anyone to come and ask questions.
“I’m the old duffer anymore, so besides drilling holes, I take care of customers,” he said with a laugh.
Those who stop at Air Hill Lawn Furniture’s booth can also test out the new swivel glider, which goes for about $369, and both swivels and glides. They will be offering a 5 percent discount for anyone who purchases an item at the Home Show.
But he cautions anyone who thinks that the furniture will last forever.
“Well, there are only two things that last forever and these things aren’t going to make it, but next to it,” he said before pausing for the question of what are the two things. “That’s your soul and the Word of God. That’s not going to go away.”