Nestled on the edge of Ohio’s Amish country, P. Graham Dunn is a manufacturer and retailer of wall art and home décor products. But a visit to their headquarters in Dalton, a village in eastern Wayco, reveals that it is much, much more than that.
P. Graham Dunn has been one of our favorite Wayco stops for many years. So, on a recent cold and windy morning, we loaded the kids into the van and made the short drive to the warmth of PGD’s factory and showroom.
The 20,000 sq. ft. showroom is gorgeous and sits above the manufacturing floor, with windows lining each side with views of the actual production process. You can watch as pallets of wood from the northeastern U.S. are beautifully transformed through laser engraving and printing, into works of art. Not only are PGD’s products beautiful, many of them are inspirational. As you peruse the showroom you will see Bible verses, encouraging sayings, and even hymns to help decorate and bring warmth to your home.
This is a good time to highlight that we were blessed to be given a tour by Mr. Harry Wilkins. He was an extremely knowledgeable and entertaining (e.g., his business card lists his title as “Schmoozer Emeritus”) companion as he gave us a walkthrough of the showroom, manufacturing floor, and offices. Throughout the tour, he gave us a history of the building, the company, and the Dunn family. We are very appreciative that Harry took the time out of his Saturday to share about the company he is obviously very passionate about. If you get the opportunity to talk with Harry during your visit, we highly recommend it. We dare you to bring up the fact that the below plaque hangs in the middle of the showroom, engraved with his face and description of his contributions to the company. We wager he will give a grin and quickly turn the conversation back to the company and the Dunn Family.
In the last few years, the bulk of products have changed from solid one-piece stained items to a pallet style with more of a focus on laser printing (the pallets are handmade in-house and tagged with the name of the person who made them). This change is market-driven as the tastes of consumers have changed. Like every good company, PGD is willing and able to evolve its product offering to fit customers’ changing styles. Even the showroom received an update when PGD expanded in 2016-2017. The showroom now sports shiplap walls and white-washed barn flooring. Think Joanna Gaines’ (of Fixer Upper / MAGNOLIA fame) modern farmhouse style and you’ll have a good idea of what to expect.
But wall art is not all you will find as you make your way through the showroom. PGD offers car coasters, mugs, serving trays, cutting boards, and much more… and we haven’t even hit on one of the coolest parts of the store: the personalized gifts.
Have you struggled to find a gift for that person in your life who has everything? Are you looking for a way to commemorate a special event? Did you wait until the last minute to buy an anniversary present? Then you need to check out the personalized laser engraving area offered by PGD. There are hundreds of items including wall art, pens, pocket knives, water bottles, picture frames, mugs, bracelets, GOLF DIVOT TOOLS, (I bet your dad doesn’t have a personalized golf divot tool. Boom. Father’s Day is done and done.) key chains, ornaments, dog tags… and the list goes on.
You can customize the personalized gift even further by adding a creative font, clip art, or symbol. PGD has staff on hand to help walk you through the process. Did we mention that your item is engraved while you watch? Plus, there is no extra cost to personalize an item! We’ve used this awesome option to personalize wedding gifts for friends, as well as the groomsmen gifts at our wedding. They have all been very well received.
**Many thanks to Amanda Wolfe, PGD’s retail manager, who gave us a pen to highlight this service and allowed us to roam the store for this blog post.**
So, what makes P. Graham Dunn so special to our family and so many others?
You can see it in the Fruit of the Spirit display in the lobby and the countless items of home décor with inspirational quotes and Bible verses. You experience it in conversation and interactions with hard-working and committed staff. You hear it in the words of founders Peter and LeAnna Dunn: faith.
On a flat screen television in front of twin curved staircases, loops a video describing the history and expansion of the company (You can view the video in its entirety here: https://youtu.be/PZwXXoNUYSY). During the ten-minute video, Peter and LeAnna describe how the foundations of the business started in the early 1970s while they served in New York City at a home for young women, who had previously been living on the streets. To occupy the women’s time when they weren’t working or at school, Peter began teaching them how to use a router and make small pieces of art that they would sell at street fairs.
The Dunns’ guide during those early days on Staten Island? The same principle that guides the business today: “Obey the Lord Jesus.”
It is such a blessing to see such powerful faith in action, and I am thankful to see it here in Wayco. The Dunns did not know what the future held for them, but from the very beginning, they trusted in God’s plan and made a commitment to obey Him.
The Dunns’ faith was also on display at the last place we visited at PGD: The Chapel. Sitting on the northeast corner of PGD’s pond, The Chapel is A-shaped with a slanting roof and stone floor. A small aisle cuts through two rows of benches and leads to a window-covered wall facing the pond.
You can’t help but feel a sense of peace and tranquility as you admire the view. But your attention will almost certainly be drawn to the walls, door, and ceiling. There are names, messages of encouragement, and Bible verses written on the entirety of The Chapel’s interior. No, this isn’t Christian vandalism. The Chapel, the messages, everything here is in honor of Anna Dunn Knutson and her faith in Jesus Christ. Anna, the oldest of Peter and LeAnna’s four children, passed away in 2013 after a battle with cancer. But even in the wake of tragedy, the Dunns have provided a place for the public to visit to be inspired and leave inspiration for others.
Suffice to say, you should definitely schedule a visit to P. Graham Dunn soon. Make a day of it! Bring your friends! It is truly one of the gems of Wayco and absolutely worth the trip. Visit their website: www.PGrahamDunn.com for more information.
Please continue to send us ideas of towns, restaurants, shops, etc. to visit. Thank you for reading and hope you keep exploring the small towns in your area. It’s a wonderful day in Wayco!