Kootenai Valley Record  February 14, 2024

Young Libby couple helps breathe life back into old mill site

by Brian Baxter

The work ethic and spirit of the wood products industry has been revived on the old mill site with the success of Studio 1889 and ProRustics Home Interiors. Owner & Manager Andrew W. Smith said, “We felt in essence that we got to participate in God’s intention to redeem the old worn lands of the previous lumber industry and be a part of a fresh new outlook on our hometown, one that is filled with anticipation of successand filled with the awe of our surroundings.”

Studio 1889 is an e- commerce brand that produces and ships furniture all over the nation. 1889 is the year that Montana became a state, and folks up and down the east coast and across our nation are in love with Montana made products and the stories of the craftspeople behind the pieces. Check out Studio1889.com or their social media.

ProRustics Home Interiors supplies, finishes, and installs doors, trim, and custom wood accents, primarily in new residential and commercial buildings in Lincoln, Flathead, and Boundary counties of northwest Montana and northern Idaho respectively.

Over half of these double pronged businesses and new buildings are built on the existing concrete foundation from the old planer shed itself.

Owner Manager Andrew W. Smith graduated from Libby High School in 2012, and after a year away decided to return to the “Best Place On Earth”, as he calls it. He met MariRuth, who was born and raised in Libby and they were married in 2014, and now have three boys, Arlen, Warren, and Koleman.

Office and Showroom Manager Melissa Marks uses her experience and knowledge from previous business ventures in her position. Wyatt Crismore uses his creativity and years of experience to manage shop production. Matt Warner has taken his love for people and carpentry to the field as the job site foreman. William Miller brings years of carpentry experience, solutions and joy on the job to the install team. Mark Smith brings attention to detail in the fine finishing of wood products and shop organization and neatness. Gene Marks adds his skills as a top-notch sales representative to the team.

Andrew Smith said, “One very unique thing about our business is that you get to work with just one outfit for project quoting, material supply, custom finishing, delivery, and installation. With most outfits, they only specialize in one of these things and require quite a bit of coordination between them. We end up being a one stop shop for interior wood products.” Smith elaborated on getting into this business, “I always enjoyed woodworking and being creative with photography and video. I was approached by a gentleman in our church, Roy Yoder, about learning the skill of furniture making and taking on his clients as he transitioned into retirement. In 2016, MariRuth and I took the head first plunge into (building) our business.” He added, “I quickly learned that you can’t just sit around and wait for opportunities to use your craft, you have to go hunting. It has been a joy to mix my love for photography and creative art with the marketing and sales that are required for a business to thrive.”

Andrew summed things up with a comment, “It is very important to me to express the fact that Libby and the surrounding areas have opportunities beyond what the eyes can see. The opportunities will not fall in your lap, but if sought out with diligence will reveal themselves in ways that can only be described as miraculous. I am thankful that I get to live in the community I grew up in and I am even more excited to raise my boys here.”

Studio 1889 and ProRustics Home Interiors are located at 1211 Minnesota Ave. between Big Sky Lumber and Town Pump. The businesses invite you to come take a look at their Showroom open Monday to Friday from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Their phone is 406-291-2896, their website is studio1889.com. & prorustics.com and their email is info@studio1889.com and info@prorustics.com