Erie J. Sauder started the company at the age of 30 in a barn located behind where he lived. A year later, due to the success of his company, he moved to a larger facility in Archbold, Ohio, the same town where he was born. At that time he had five employees. His main customer base was locals and the nearby area. In 1937 the business expanded again, then manufacturing church pews. From the scrap wood of the church pews he began manufacturing low-priced wooden tables. The "leftovers" however were expensive quality wood. In 1940 a couple of traveling salesmen noticed these inexpensive tables of oak, maple, and walnut while at Sauder's business. They were captivated by this concept of using leftovers to produce low-priced tables. They asked if they could take some of these tables to a furniture show in Chicago. Soon afterwards they came back, to the astonishment of Sauder, with an order for 25,000 tables. He obtained a loan from a local bank and doubled the size of his manufacturing business to accommodate the order.