ORANGE CITY, Iowa | The most unusual break tables in Siouxland are found in the corporate center serving Diamond Vogel, the 91-year-old paint company founded in Orange City.

They come from Sticks, Inc., the high-end furniture and decor designer/manufacturer in Des Moines.

"The concept began with one of the owners and part of the third generation, Mark Vogel, who saw some of the work of Sticks, which planted the seed," said David Vander Werff, director of human resources at Vogel Paints.

The Vogels invited a couple of Sticks representatives to Orange City to interview principals at the company while gathering a history of the organization and its impact in the Sioux County seat.

Quotes line the edges of each table, words that help detail the history of this firm.

"They designed what I'd call kind of a folk art," Vander Werff said. "Their wood engraving, inking and staining. We've used these tables every day for 19 years and we've never refinished the tops.

"It's got to be a Vogel finish on the top," he added.

Vander Werff's favorite table illustrates the history of Diamond Vogel and features a picture of founder Andrew Vogel, along with one of Andrew's well-known statements: "The secret is your relation to your fellow man. Keep that in balance. Use the gifts you have and that makes the business."

Andrew Vogel started this business in his garage in 1926, putting to work two small grinders and his third-grade education.

Vogel's original message rings true today, said Vander Werff, who attributes the company's growth and success to relationships that have grown among customers and fellow employees.

"The intent was to help this building as a corporate support center to remind everybody who they're serving each day as they're working," said Scott Heemstra, director of manufacturing.

The thought: Even in idle time, as at lunch or during a coffee break, the pillars of success upon which the company has grown, can be reinforced.

One table shows the different divisions of the company; another features 14 different states in which Vogel Paints has an economic presence. Easy Liner, for example, is a subsidiary firm and it has a place on one of the break tables.

"This helps people remember who they're serving from a corporate standpoint," Heemstra said.

Another table shows the U.S. flag and the flag of Holland, an artful depiction of where the Vogels came from and where they've stood the past three or four generations.

"This (table) talks about Vogel Traffic Services, an international company offering traffic coatings through the world; with a world map, world flags and spray-marking equipment," Vander Werff said.

Sticks, which traces its origins to founder Sarah Grant some 25 years ago, has received national acclaim for its distinctive line of furniture, accessories and object art. The company began by designing items such as ornaments and candlesticks, but grew to do larger pieces, such as dining sets, beds and armoires.

Each piece, like each break table found in a corporate center in Orange City, is hand-crafted.

"We eat on them every day," Vander Werff said. "They're in excellent shape."

They're also incredibly interesting, a collection among Siouxland's most colorful.

"Anyone who comes and looks at it is surprised and intrigued by it," Vander Werff said.



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