Jill Herro’s Amish-made furniture seems out of place among the maze of gun vendors at this year’s Great American Outdoor Show — until she taps on the side of a sturdy maple nightstand on display at her corner booth.
“Nobody tells anybody what the furniture does,” she said, revealing a hidden compartment ideal for storing handguns. “They want to keep it a secret, so growing has been difficult.”
It’s the crux of the problem for Herro’s Secret Compartment Furniture in Akron, Ohio. She started the business eight years ago after an online search for beautiful, stylish furniture capable of hiding firearms turned up nothing.
“I decided that if I’m looking for it, then somebody else must be looking for it as well,” she said. “I get the whole gun safe thing, I understand that, but I have no children in the home and I want to be able to get at my firearm quickly and easily.”
So Herro got to work, designing “heirloom” pieces built to last generations, with seamless compartments and “normal” proportions that don’t give away the secret. She said she didn’t look far for a craftsman to bring her designs to life, either.
“An hour south from where I live is the largest Amish community in the world with 450 furniture makers,” she said. “So I figured I might as well leverage that resource.”
Herro said her most popular pieces include the nightstand and a six-foot-tall bookcase. Some 50 percent of her business is custom designs, too.
“It’s all solid wood, there’s no press board,” she said of all her products. “They’ll last forever.”
Herro’s inventory includes beds, nightstands, mirrors, bookcases, shelves, coffee tables and accent tables, with prices ranging from $269 to $2,695. The company also offers custom-designed cabinetry for kitchens and bathrooms. For more information, visit secretcompartmentfurniture.com.