Thursday, July 22, 2010

Bean Bag Chairs Made in Ohio

Today, I turned left at the end of my driveway, drove about five miles and there it sits...Bean Bag City. 

Can you believe that bean bag chairs are made in Ohio?  I love to say this..."Made in Ohio."

Bob and Sandy Rowland have been in the bean bag business since 1975.  They started out in Chicago as a relatively normal young couple.  Bob was stationed at Wright Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, Ohio, and when he got out, they stayed in the area.

Bob's passion for sailing led him to make sail boat covers in their spare bedroom.  Sandy tells the story as if everyone's husband is doing the same thing.  This is where normal stops and the adventure begins.  When Sandy found out she was pregnant, she suggested that they might need the bedroom for the infant.  Bob decided that he should quit his day job to "catch up" on all the sail boat covers people had ordered.  He could always find another job when he finished.

So Sandy got her bedroom and Bob started his business.  He never had to look for another job again.  The bean bag chairs were a logical addition to the sail boat covers...same materials, same equipment, same process.

Bob and Sandy started out with a retail store in Fairborn, Ohio.  Around 1983, they moved to their current location in Spring Valley, Ohio.

You know what this building used to be.  It was a country school.  I started having flashbacks to junior high and a very similar building.  Shudder.  But at least it doesn't smell like a school anymore.

Right next door is another school building that has been converted to apartments and a senior center.

They serve lunches like sloppy joes and salmon patties, and I will be there soon to report. 

Now, back to bean bags.
I asked Sandy if I could take her picture in one of the chairs.  She flopped jumped at the opportunity.  I don't think she sits down much.

Did I mention that she started out as a Spanish teacher?  Let's see.  I started out as a social worker and now I sell medical uniforms.  What happened here?  I like to think we're both having more fun now.  At least that's what I repeat to myself every day.

You have to see these bean bag chairs. I'm jumping up and down here to get your attention.  These are perfect presents!  They have dozens of colors and you can get them monogrammed.

Poking out at the bottom left is an Ohio State bean bag chair.  How cool for your Buckeye theme room...yes?  Have you noticed that the new generation of bean bag chairs have backs like recliners?  They also have dog beds.

Oh heck.  Just go their website for the chairs and for sail boat covers.

Before I go sit in a tub of ice to get through another hot, humid Ohio day, let's talk quality and made in Ohio.  These products are quality.  They are made out of quality material and they have quality stitching.  I can't say quality enough, although I think I have. They will last years and years.  You have to pay for the good stuff.  Don't expect two for $19.99. Some of their chairs are being used in the Harvard Law School library and the Guggenheim Art Museum.

Finally....THEY ARE MADE IN OHIO!  Bob and Sandy take pride in their product.  They will talk to you on the telephone.  They employ ten people.  They actually make a product in this country.

Whew!  It gets tiring on this soap box.  Just keep them in mind if you need a practical yet unique gift.  


  1. commission but I need to check on that. I get passionate because Ohio is hurting and I'm happy that anyone can still have their own business.

  2. Janell, Judy actually does all this for free! She always tells it like it is (which gets her in trouble from time to time) especially about Ohio, her home state. Outside of the automotive industry, the universities and the Air Force, there's not much here except corn and soybeans. There are millions of square feet of abandoned auto plants in this area, hence the name "rust belt." Ohio is committed to "green manufacturing" but I don't see how this will re-employ the hundreds of thousands of workers who have been laid off in the last two years. Wish us luck!

  3. Do they sell any to China??? Can you imagine somebody going to Lalmart in China and buying a beanbag chair and it says "Made in Ohio". That would be too cool. This is a great story and photos to illustrate. Feel free to visit my blog today, it does not have a photo from Yellowstone, but somewhere just as pretty with a unique twist I think you'll enjoy.

  4. Scott...I'm going to try to do your weird Friday thing. And the bean bags are mostly made in China and other third world countries. They have a lot of competition from these places selling them for $15. Of course they fall apart the first day and you can't get anyone on the phone to complain. Oh, I could go on and on, but I'll spare you.

  5. Gosh, I came back to read Judy's "excuse" about commission and saw Mike's response and am devastated for Ohio so much so that I'm going to SHARE on Facebook and see if I can get some of the homeless folks out here in California to move to Ohio and help you guys out.


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