As visitors to the area are quick to learn, Iron Horse in the Old Town section of Bend is one of the city’s most beloved – and longest running – businesses. Owner Eddie Swisher’s belief in customer satisfaction over profit has created many loyal friends and longtime customers over the years.
Originally called the “Country Store,” Eddie and his father, Ted, first opened shop in 1972 in Newport, Oregon. After a devastating fire to the shop in the late ’70s, the Swishers relocated to another building in Newport before ultimately deciding to move to Bend in 1982. It was there the store was renamed “Iron Horse” and it wasn’t long before the business became a fixed part of the community.
Over the years the shop has consistently provided the same old-fashioned customer service – though Eddie has seen vast changes in the kinds of items he stocks: “We’ve evolved from a store carrying used lawn mowers and appliances to stocking thousands of small items as well as furniture and farm/garden décor. We now offer a big cross section of items that people look for.” In 2019, Eddie opened a second location off Franklin Avenue in Bend.
Both locations currently stock a wide variety of items from iron décor, tools and hardware, to a fascinating assortment of vintage clothing, antiques and painted/distressed furniture. (Eddie’s custom-made industrial tables in wood and metal can be found in a number of houses and shops throughout the area!) Over the last several years Eddie has also incorporated vendors into the store which further adds to the unique array of items that can be found.
Now, 48 years after first opening, you can still hear the same oldies playing as you navigate the many nooks and crannies throughout the rooms of the Iron Horse. Eddie himself is still as passionate as ever about the business, insisting wholeheartedly, “It’s my customers that keep me going.”