By Victoria Martinez

After 28 years, Solvang’s home goods store Home Connection has moved next door from its former location and will celebrate the new look with a grand opening from 2 to 6 p.m. Sept. 8 with discounts, drawings and refreshments.

The store made the transition in May, closing for only one day to make the move.

“It gives a whole new look to us,” co-owner Thora Nielsen Andersen said.

When Scandia Court was being built, Thora Nielsen Andersen and Donna Andersen Ineman realized that the location of Thora’s childhood home was perfect for their business venture.

The Home Connection was established in 1990 by mother and daughter team Thora and Donna Andersen Ineman right where Thora’s childhood home had been built by her father, C.V. Nielsen, in the early 1920s.

Thora’s maternal grandparents, John and Thora Roth, traveled from Denmark to the U.S. and lived as farmers in Northern California before becoming some of the earliest settlers in what would become Solvang.

During construction of Scandia Court, after the family home was relocated to Dunn School, Thora and Donna realized that the location of Thora’s childhood home was perfect for their home-store business venture.

The business started out as a small bridal registry after Donna was looking to register for her own wedding and realized the only location in town to register at the time was the hardware store. The women brought in a variety of dinnerware brands such as Dansk, but when the outlet stores, including a Dansk outlet, opened right across from Home Connection, they looked for ways to expand their business to meet the needs of their customers.

The pair brought in items people were asking for, and as they saw the needs of their own families grow with more marriages and children being added into the mix of their immediate family, their merchandise grew as well.

“We grew as the family grew,” Donna explained.

Slowly, Home Connection became a general home store, providing a wide variety of items such as toys, puzzles, home décor, dinnerware and, eventually, its well-known Simply Amish furniture line.

Donna hesitantly brought in a Simply Amish glider and a handful of other items in 2007 from the custom, handcrafted furniture company that touts its pieces as being hand-finished inside and out by craftsmen who have passed down their skills from one generation to the next. She quickly realized that the U.S. company would customize all of its products and stand behind its work with a lifetime guarantee.

As more customers started to reach out to Home Connection for their Simply Amish furniture, Donna and her husband realized they could expand that aspect of the business if they had a way to deliver the products themselves, so they began delivering furniture themselves.

Beyond Simply Amish, both Thora and Donna pride themselves in carrying many other products made in the USA. They also continue to enjoy what Home Connection provides to their customers; to employees including Else Lassiter, who has been with the store for 20 years; and themselves.

“A lot of our customers have become friends,” Donna explained.

“I enjoy the people, to visit,” Thora said. “I enjoy telling my story.”

During their grand opening celebration, they will also be welcoming featured artist Darren Gygi as well as the regional sales manager of the Simply Amish furniture line. Special-order sales on furniture will be offered Sept. 7-10.

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