IDAHO FALLS, Idaho - Western furniture is popular among Idahoans. Wild West Designs has been in business for decades in Idaho Falls, but now it's taking its niche of antler designs and opening a more contemporary store.
"Each antler is a thumbprint, so no two antlers are ever the same thing," said manager Travis Saxton.
No two antlers and no two pieces of furniture inside Wild West Designs are the same. This family business started as an antique shop by Linda Rumsey's father. Today, she and her husband own the store.
"We're more of a high end furniture store. Hand-crafted, handmade, some one-of-a-kind pieces," said Rumsey, such as a handmade wine bottle holder made from antlers.
Crafting pieces from antlers is the store's specialty. It is also one of the only two U.S antler exporters to Asia. It ships 224,000 pounds of antlers to Hong Kong each year, where it's used as a flu remedy.
"They wafer it like a potato chip and brew it with ginseng in a tea. So it's medicinal, not like the American press made it out to be an aphrodisiac, which it's not," said Rumsey.
Besides exporting, it specializes in handmade antler chandeliers. Saxton builds them in the shop next to the store.
"We strictly make them with the shed antler and we use the very best antler. We pick the ones that don't have any broken tips, that have the right shape, the real pretty antler," said Saxton.
The shop is lined with antlers from deer, moose, caribou and elk. Making the chandeliers can take a couple of days to a couple of weeks. The finished product can weigh up to 300 pounds.
"We can build anything out of antler. Anything you can imagine an antler on, we can do," said Saxton.
If antler furniture is not your style, Wild West Designs opened a new division next door called New West Furniture.
New West Furniture houses a more contemporary line that owners call Mountain Modern. The store has handmade furniture, high-end leather furniture and many modern pieces.
New West Furniture will open in June. Wild West Designs is open Monday through Saturday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. It also has a location in Jackson Hole, Wyo.
More info at http://wildwestdesignsinc.com/.