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The Country Seat, Inc ~ Basketry, Gourd Weaving & Chair Seating Supplies ~ Celebrating over 45 years in business! Est. 1975
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About Us

The Country Seat, Inc.
1013 Old Philly Pike, Kempton PA 19529

Over forty five years ago Donna Longenecker wove her first cane seat, never guessing that restoring the seat of an antique chair would lead to a successful business. The Country Seat, Inc. has undergone many superficial changes over the last four decades; but supplying top quality basketry and chair seating supplies has always remained their number one goal.

The Country Seat, Inc. was founded in 1975 by Donna Longenecker as a seat weaving business. Her husband, Bill, had inherited several cane and rush chairs that were missing seats and she taught herself how to weave them. When friends and family saw the finished chairs, they began bringing their old chairs to her for new seats. Soon friends who wanted to give weaving a try asked her to get the materials they needed and word slowly spread.

In 1978, along with their two small children, Angie and Billy, the family moved to a farm outside of Kempton, a small rural township in eastern Pennsylvania. Bill, a professional draftsman, had taken up woodworking as a hobby. The family traveled the craft show circuit, selling Bill's colonial reproduction pieces while Donna demonstrated seat weaving. She had built up a following of customers who would book her time in advance to weave their chairs as demonstration pieces when she was in a location near them. Donna would even go to their homes during off hours to replace pressed cane backs in sofas and beds.

More and more people were remarking that supplies were hard to find. Donna decided to "take orders" and send them the materials when she returned home. She spent countless hours researching the industry and, with her background as an accountant, set about accumulating stock, arranging advertising and all the other details that go into running a small business. Initially the intention was to have only a mail order business. At their rural location, they never believed that people would travel the distance to pick up such specialized items. WRONG! People started knocking on their doors 7 days a week. There was no sign, but there was "word of mouth".

The "shop" was located in an old stone summer kitchen attached to the back of their home. Mainly Bill's woodworking and Donna's reseating shop, it soon became the retail store. As Donna was not only owner, but sole employee and mother as well, customers were often times confronted with a sign "Back in 15 minutes" or "Closed" if they were all away doing a show.

In 1981, Bill retired from his "real" job to work with Donna on a full time basis. The supply business was growing and he took care of things while Donna was away doing shows. Many long time customers can remember talking to Bill on the portable phone while he was in the garden, barn, mowing the lawn or somewhere on the farm. He always had paper and pencil stuck in a back pocket on which to take their orders. As he cut back on his production woodworking, he acquired an interest in Nantucket baskets. He turned a mold on his lathe and made his first basket. This style remains his main interest in basketry today. His greatest and most impressive Nantucket basket was large enough for Angie to sit inside of.

Merchandise stock was stored in the traditional PA bank barn and an old tractor-trailer parked on the side of the barn. Mail orders were packed right there on a table in the barn, regardless of the time of year. Like pioneers, the family and employees endured many hardships working mainly in the unheated barn. Through the heat of summer or deep snows of winter, they persevered. Some customers can still remember the red chicken feathers they would find mixed in with the packing material inside their boxes. The Rhode Island Red chicken feathers would filter through the barn wall from the chicken coop next door and find their way into the packages. The farmer, renting the lower portion of the barn for steer, was finally asked to vacate as the odor was rising through the floor and permeating the porous reed. It was time for a change.

In 1988, the business moved to the "hill". A flat surface was blasted and carved out of the land behind the Longenecker's home and barn. A pole building was erected to contain store, office, workroom, and warehouse under one roof. Although the building seemed overly large at the time. it was quickly filled with supplies and now the store is stuffed with all manner of basketry, gourd weaving and chair seating supplies.

Along with the knowledge that Angie gained growing up in this business, she has also taken classes from various instructors, covering a variety of weaving techniques from pine needles to birch bark. In 1998 she received Master Artisan status as a juried member of the PA Guild of Craftsmen and began teaching her own designs in 2000. You can find her pattern for weaving a random weave rim on a gourd in the new book - Weaving on Gourds by Marianne Barnes as well as another pattern and photos in all four of Marianne's books. Just search on "Barnes" in the online catalog. To see more of Angie's work, search on "Wagner" in the online catalog.
Angie at work

Donna retired in 2016 and is happily relaxing.
Bill handles most all the shipping and receiving chores. Angie is available to help you in the store or on the phone with questions and orders.

Our shop is stocked with everything you need (or want) for weaving baskets or chair seats. From "D" handles to wooden bases, pine needles to Shaker tape, Irish waxed linen to braided seagrass, you'll find almost everything. We also offer our secure online catalog, which is updated every time a product changes. The online catalog shows information and pictures of each one of our products so you can browse and shop even when you can't make it out to Kempton.

Many customers plan their vacations and trips to include a stop at the store. Customers from Alaska and Hawaii have stopped by while in the east visiting relatives. Others find the store handy in their travels from summer to winter homes as it is near major North/South interstate highways. Although located in very rural Albany Township, many attractions and hidden gems are located close by. Hawk Mountain, a world renowned bird and wildlife sanctuary, is only 7 miles away.
Kempton has a steam train, the WK&S Railroad that runs a 5 mile round trip on the weekends.
The far end of the train ride is the Wanamaker's depot. Wanamaker's General Store is open with everything from local produce, groceries, bulk foods, homemade deli sandwiches to live bait and hunting licenses and children's games. Enjoy freshly brewed coffee while you browse locally made crafts and handmade wooden toys,
If you are interested in the muzzle loading tradition and/or reenactments, stop by Dixon's Muzzle Loading shop for supplies, history and much, much more.
To learn more about the history of Albany Township visit our Historical Society's website and stop in to take a tour of the museum during the annual Hawk Mt Arts Tour the first Saturday of June.

Please stop by anytime.
The Web Site is always open and changes often.