5 Amish Businesses You Should Visit
On a post about an Amish store, reader Terry wrote:
We have a bulk food store about 15 minutes from us, but what fun is that…to just go and buy what you need and come home? We save $ at that store, but it’s just not the same “experience” as traveling the back roads in rural Wisconsin, heading to Amish country, and spending the whole day having old fashioned fun!
I like this comment because I think it captures what many feel when they visit Amish communities and their businesses.
Are you like Terry (and myself), and enjoy visiting Amish shops and stores?
If so, you might already realize that some Amish businesses are more visitor-friendly for English folks, and some less so.
For example, buggy shops can be interesting, but of limited appeal for most non-Amish people. The same goes for sawmills or engine repair shops.
Which Amish businesses are good for a visit? Here are 5 types of businesses I recommend stopping by next time you’re in an Amish community.
Five Amish Businesses Worth Visiting
1. Roadside Stand
Perhaps the humblest of all Amish businesses, these are the “impulse stops” of Amish business excursions.
You rarely plan a visit to one of these–instead you’re just driving through the countryside and suddenly a place with eggs or canned goods or produce or fresh cut flowers or maple syrup materializes on the side of the road.
Roadside stands come and go and change with the seasons. The nice thing is you can hit a lot of roadside stands and pick up a little something at each one. All it takes is (carefully) pulling over or down the lane and hopping out of the car.
Expect to see Amish children or youth running these in many cases. Often marked with little more than a modest sign and sometimes not even that, roadside stands are a way for Amish households to generate a little extra cash and provide a little entrepreneurial experience.
For as much as English people seem to love Amish baked goods, in my experience there aren’t as many of these as you’d think. It seems a lot of women do baking as a side gig or on a “to-order” basis.
Some stands and Amish-run food outlets do sell baked goods. But I can’t think of as many Amish-run full-time bakeries as it seems I should be able to. Let us know of any you like in the comments.
There are other places that sell baked goods, however, especially in the larger tourist-friendly Amish communities, though they might not always be Amish-baked. For a lot of us that might not matter so much.
But if you’re looking for an Amish-owned and Amish-run full-fledged bakery, one of your best bets is to visit a PA Dutch market.
3. PA Dutch Market
Technically this is not a business but rather a container for many Amish businesses (though an Amish person may in fact own the market building).
Pennsylvania Dutch markets have their own unique atmosphere and quite a bit of hustle and bustle in some of the busier ones.
To work in a market–at least on the customer end–you can’t really be the stereotypical “silent and aloof” type. You probably wouldn’t last too long. People come for the food but also to say hello and chew a little fat.
PA Dutch markets often have a standard mix of businesses: a bakery, deli, produce seller, bulk foods, meats stand, crafts, a hot-food restaurant, canned goods and packaged foods sales, maybe a snack foods stand selling things like pretzels, and often a furniture dealer.
Technically, these are typically not located in Amish communities. Many are found in populated areas on the East Coast within about a 2-3-hour drive of Lancaster County–places like Baltimore, Reading, PA, Princeton, NJ, and the DC area all have PA Dutch markets.
You go to a PA Dutch market if you can’t get to an Amish community but want Amish products and a slice of the “Amish experience”.
4. Variety Store
Variety stores have a little of everything, hence the name. These give you a good idea of what Amish in the local community buy and use in their own homes.
They may have clothing items, gifts and decor like wall clocks, or home products like lamps and kitchenware. They often sell food items. There may be puzzles, board games and other toys, or lighting products such as flashlights and lanterns. They may have books, school supplies, fabrics, and other necessities.
While some have heavier English clientele than others, you’ll often see Amish people shopping in these, probably more than in any other business type listed here. It’s a business Amish women may run.
This is another category where you won’t find as many examples as you might expect.
As far as Amish-run, full-fledged bookstores go, two of the best-known are Raber’s Bookstore in Holmes County and Gordonville Bookstore in Lancaster County. In northern Indiana, the Pathway Bookstore recently moved to Michigan.
Quite a few communities also have bookstores run by non-Amish people but carrying titles about or read by the Amish. And, as mentioned you’ll often find books in Amish-run variety stores.
I like Amish bookstores because you can get a sense of the types of books Amish readers might find interesting or useful. For example, on recent trips I’ve purchased a history of Indiana Amish schools and a baptism preparation journal.
You’ll find books that are important to Amish people in their walk of faith, such as the Martyrs Mirror, In Meiner Jugend, the Ausbund, and of course Bibles, in both English and German. You can also find copies of Amish publications such as Die Botschaft, Raber’s Almanac, and others.
Have you been to any of these? What other Amish businesses are worth visiting?
Image credits: maple syrup sign- ShipshewanaIndiana; PA Dutch market- duluoz cats/flickr
I enjoyed this post, including the good pictures. Visiting Amish stores is one of the best ways to get acquainted with an Amish community that is new to you. Types of businesses I would add are salvage/bent and dent grocery stores, which there seem to be more of every year. I enjoy visiting small stores of this type more than large stores. In the small Amish salvage stores, I’ve had some good conversations with the Amish people working there, while the large ones seem to be so busy the store staff don’t seem to have much time to visit.
Another type of store is Amish hardware stores. I’ve visited ones in Holmes County, Shipshewana, Arthur and Hart County (Cub Run), Kentucky. Lots of items to look at and interesting just to see what local Amish come in to buy. I always find something to buy, even if it’s just some AA batteries.
As far as bakeries go, there may be more than one would first think, because I’ve found several that are located in other Amish stores. This is the case in the E and S store in Shipshewana, Beachy’s Bulk Foods at Arthur and the R and S Salvage Store at Horse Cave,Ky. (Hart County). I especially enjoy visiting the one
at R and S Salvage because you can easily see the Amish workers as they are preparing their baked goods. An Amish bakery that is only about one year old is Esther Yoder’s bakery in Sugarcreek,Ohio. Esther is a scribe for The Budget newspaper and usually includes news from her bakery in her Budget letter. Esther’s bakery is worth a visit if you’re in the Holmes/Tuscawaras
Thanks Al, for these other suggestions and also some more bakery ideas. I may have to track down Esther Yoder’s in particular on the next Ohio visit.
You’re right there can be a difference in Amish stores, between the larger busy ones and the smaller more low-key shops.
There is a great, “true” Amish bakery in Charm, OH. This also in Holmes Co. They have no electricity there, not even from generators. Their bakery is wonderful. But take note, make sure you go early! They sell out usually by 1 or 2pm! It’s definately worth the trip and I’m sorry I can’t remember the name. Just ask around, the locals will know it!
I believe the bakery you are referrng to is Miller’s. You do need to go early as everything sells quickly.
In our New York State area, the only bakery roadside stand I know of is Miller’s which is on Route 14 North in Lyons, New York. It opens in the spring and closes sometime in October and is open on Friday and Saturday from eight in the morning until five in the evening or they run out, which ever happens first. They also take special orders.
Also in Newark, New York on Thursday is their Farmer’s Market that runs from June until October. There is a Mennonite couple in there that have a great bakery stand there. She will also take special orders.
With more Amish and Mennonite moving in the area, I hope we get more places to go.
I almost forgot Dutchland Grocery store in Marion, New York. It is a new Mennonite store that opened in October. It has groceries, home made baked goods, cooking supplies, canning supplies and more. I call it a baby Sauders as it is a much smaller version of Saunders in Seneca Falls. They are open six days a week – closed on the Lord’s Day. The owner’s wife and daughters do the baking. It is a very pleasant grocery store to go into. You can buy one item or a case of something if you want it.
"closed Sunday" is important to remember
So much of our (“English”) world has turned into a 24/7 whirlwind of commerce that it can be easy to forget that Amish and Mennonite businesses will be closed half the weekend, normally a prime time for tourists. Particularly people who are traveling to or through Amish country and are not normally around the Amish may not be accustomed to this, so if you are planning a visit to Amish country, plan accordingly.
Good point about Sunday. When I do Amish business posts I almost never mention that because I assume readers are well aware of no Sunday sales, but those who don’t know a lot about the Amish are bound to be surprised.
I’ve noticed that in Amish tourist areas even non-Amish owned businesses are apt to be closed on that day (I’d guess that many may have owners who share similar beliefs).
Adams County bookstore
There’s an Amish bookstore in Adams County, Indiana! It’s on 300 S. between 300 E and Salem Rd. The owners are very aloof and don’t seem to appreciate non-Amish stopping in, but it definitely caters to shoppers wanting to experience a true “Amish bookstore.” A few of the bulk foods stores also have decent-size book selections, as well. Many of the shops and businesses in Adams county have the stereotypical aloof Amish shopkeepers. They don’t have large signs (and sometimes no sign at all!) and do not try to pull in an English clientele in any way like I see in other areas with large Amish populations. Most of the shops are off the main roads and seems perfectly content to never see an English shopper.
I should have talked to you before I did this post Jodi, you’ve reminded me–I believe I’ve been in that place or one not far away that fits the description. Kind of tucked in the back. Yes it didn’t feel like it got a lot of English traffic.
They’ve added a woodworking business to the bookstore now, but I haven’t been in there since it opened. The Trading Post in Berne (not Amish-owned, but caters to Amish) also has a good selection of books about the Amish and a tiny touristy-section. Since Berne doesn’t make the Amish a tourist destination, it’s about the only place to find that kind of stuff. Let me know if you ever do a post about Adams county again and I’ll share my ‘trade secrets’ from the maps and lists I’ve created of the best shops of every type, as well as their hard-to-find locations.
Thanks Jodi, great idea. I have seen some publications which seem to be promoting Amish businesses if not full-fledged tourism, I believe it was called Wabash Valley Living. They had probably a dozen or so Amish businesses listed and/or profiled in the issues I saw, though there are certainly many more in a community the size of Adams County. Anyway if you feel like sharing a list or other tips for a possible post feel free to drop me an email anytime.
We love D&L Bakery near Bowling Green, MO. They are open from April to November. They bake the most mouth watering pies, breads, cookies, pastries, donuts, etc.
We also enjoy Hilty’s in the same community. Their store features canned goods such as, jams, jellies, pickles, bbq sauce, tomatoes, and much more. They are beekeepers and sell honey, honeycomb, flavored honey, and beekeeping supplies. They sell homemade candy made by the Eichers (who also own a bulk store, we love to go; Eicher’s sometimes have baked goods for sale, set-up on the porch outside their store). Hilty’s sell cheese from WI. When you pull up to Hilty’s you can see the men, through the big window, working in the meat processing part of the building.
There is a variety store in this community that sells good books, quilts, knives, Amish dolls, and all kinds of other stuff. We stopped at a roadside stand this past summer, for the first time, set up outside of their community a little way; ran by Bontraeger’s. They were selling baked goods and directed us to their home for fresh produce. We also stopped at a place selling seeds, but I can’t remember the folks name. There are many more stores (and people) in this community we hope to visit.
Hilty's Bee Yard
Nice that you mention Hilty’s. A few years ago we did a post on them with some photos courtesy of a reader: https://amishamerica.com/amish-beekeeper/
She told us they sell buckwheat, wildflower, and raspberry-flavored honey.
Thank you for sharing the post.
Hilty’s have expanded over the last few years. Among other things, their store is bigger and they’ve made a larger parking lot. Eicher’s have mentioned a few times about building a bigger store, also. We love driving the maze of gravel roads connecting each Amish home (with store on property). [Two of the most rewarding sights were seeing an Amish wagon with the young driver standing up, and others on board, appearing around the corner when leaving Hilty’s; and seeing young couples in their courting buggies when leaving the home of an ex-Amish friend one Sunday evening.]
There is a map of the community on-line, and the shopkeepers hand them out also. Everyone we have met has been helpful in directing us from place to place.
Thanks Kara, helpful to know for anyone visiting that area.
Another one to visit!
I always really enjoy visiting JSR Shoppe, just outside Sugarcreek. Amish-run Jason and Ruth sell bulk dry foods, fresh food, freezer goods, fabric, stationery, household items (pots, pans, candles etc) as well as children’s toys, gifts and books. The whole family work in the shop plus a few extra staff. You will be sure to get a nice welcome and good service. They welcome everybody Amish or English.
Re: Your Businesses
These look like wonderful stores to shop in. I wish we had some here in Rapid City, SD. But we don’t!
NOTE: To all the Amish people. Thank you for all of your hard work in what you do! Your stores are very inviting! God Bless!
QUESTION: Do you think Amish people will ever live in the Rapid City, SD area?
I don’t know Bernadette. There is only one settlement in South Dakota, a relatively new and small one on the other side of the state, and historically few Amish have lived in your area of the country. However the one (recently-founded) Wyoming community is located within 2 hours of Rapid City, in Hulett.
Amish furniture stores, esp. one with a workshop on the premises. We bought three pieces of beautiful and well-made furniture–a bookcase and two bedside stands. I’m also very pleased with two “premium” clothes-drying racks I got at Lehman’s Hardware in Kidron, OH. These racks are REALLY sturdy and worth every penny.
There are three I think worth noting:
(1) Rocky Cedars, a variety story run by OO Mennonite sisters in Dayton, Va. Books, games, cloth, sewing/quilting supplies
(2) Shiloh General Store, Hamptonville, NC run by New Order Amish. everything from Quilts to baked goods.
(3)Windmill Farm Bake Shoppe, South Boston, Virginia. Run by Mennonite family with Amish and Mennonite workers. Sandwiches, donuts, pies, soup etc. Very popular with local folks.
You can Google Rocky Cedars for directions; the other two are listed on Tripadvisor.com
What would you call the indoor version of a “roadside stand”? I bought homemade cider from an older Amish woman who was selling it out of the back of her Dawdy haus (I believe), and she then invited me in to view her homemade rugs. Of course, I purchased one; my sister needed a rug that looked like a halved watermelon, complete with “seed” details.
Perhaps it’s just the version of the roadside stand that crops up when the “sales crew” is a bit older, but I found it charming–like going to visit a friend of Grandma’s.
I don’t have a good name for that. But good question. It occurred to me when I was doing this that some of these “roadside stands” are actually inside the house. Places that just sell one or two products out of the home and advertise with a simple sign like a roadside stand but without the actual stand. Any name suggestions are welcome.
Rise 'n' Roll
I’ve been to the Rise “n” Roll bakery in (or very near) Shipshewana, IN. Our tour guide from the area showed us (as we passed, on our charter bus) the OLD store, which the Amish owners outgrew. The new store was bigger, and “electrified”–one reason why it was now owned by the English, but still run by Amish (local or county officials said it needed electricity, among other “non-Amish” things, to operate). Most of what I saw there seemed to be made by the Amish, mainly in the Indiana area, but elsewhere, too. The baked goods were delicious, and I never had such a welcoming greeting (other than the heavenly smells you usually get in old fashioned bakeries). Being the first of our tour in the door, I was greeted by 3 young Amish women (teens, I’d guess) who handed me (and each person in our group) a sample of 2 baked items and a cup of coffee. I needed 3 hands! I wish I could go back to buy more bread, noodles, and jams. Mmmmm!
You know, I always pass Rise ‘n’ Roll on my to and from hunting in LaGrange county, and I always think I should stop, but then I wonder if my hunting clothes will disturb some of the customers, and if the smell of the baked goods will disturb the game. On the way home, it’s usually after closing time.
It’s too bad the campground at Pigeon River Fish and Wildlife Area was closed a couple of years ago. It would have been ideal for me to stop on the way to set up camp for an overnight trip. Fresh Amish baked goods at deer camp … Mmmmmm!
5 Amish Bussinesses You Should Visit
My favorite place to visit in Allen County, IN is Millers. It is a Amish owned general store, two stories with anything you could ever want…books, fabrics, appliances, toys, shoes, clothes, household goods, etc. I also enjoy Grabill Sales for bulk foods and baked goods.
A Few More Indiana Places
OOOOOOhhh!!!- Rise N’Roll fresh-baked cinnamon rolls with icing have proved so popular that the bakery now delivers to nearby towns!! But supply is limited-in Syracuse, if you are not there at the local restaurant (that has arranged deliveries with Rise N Roll) by 6:30am to buy, they are sold out.
Another great place to visit is Gohn Brothers in Middlebury IN. They have had the same general store for 100 years or more: wooden floors,4 aisles of merchandise front of store to back. The building is long and narrow, reminiscent of a bowling alley. Amish clothing and a huge selection of fabrics/sewing/quilting items. Shoes are sold in a separate small room at the back of the store. Blankets, hats, something for everyone. They finally have their online catalog and website up and running (it was “Under Construction” for years.). Don’t forget the hardware store next to Gohn-lots of interesting kitchen gadgets and other items not found anywhere else.
My dad’s favorite place is the “popcorn store” on a country road near Middlebury- lots of different popcorn varieties, free samples of the “Popcorn of the Day”, large and small bags of unpopped corn. All brands of non-electric popcorn poppers (and a few electric ones).
Getting my Amish fix around Berks/Lebanon.Lancaster counties, PA!
I live in Berks county (right on the borders of Lancaster and Lebanon counties), Pennsylvania and there are several “Amish stores” within a few miles of me. The Amish busninesses have wholesale licenses and buy grocery items that might have slight dents or had to be repackaged or nearing expiration from a large grocery distrubutor and sell items for a fraction of what you’d pay for the items it a regular grocery store. You can buy brand name cereals for 75 cents- 1.50! Same goes for laundry detergent, household cleaners that normally sell for $7-$10.00 for a $1.00!
Of course, if you are from this area, you can’t go through the spring -summer without visiting Green Dragon in Epharata. Lot’s of Amish businesses and employees there (although they now have a bunch of “flea market” stands that are just junk and NOT owned or operated by Amish or Mennonite. There is an animal auction where as a kid, bought every kind of household pet and farm animal under the sun (you can also find ring tail pheasants if you want to cheat during hunting season, to stock your land) as well as a plant auction where you get fabulous prices on anything from perennials, house plants to large specimen trees and bushes for landscaping. When our “herd” of goats, hamsters (yes, I sold some of my hamsters one year when I was about 11 thinking I’d make some extra money for summer vacation-haha), chickens, etc got too large to the auction to be sold. One year my sister and I did this with some boys that had a truck. We put the goats in the back that jumped out of the truck and were running down route 222!
If that place ever closes (it almost did because there was a huge fire that went through the largest building there and took a year to rebuild), I will be heart broken!!
South Heidelberg Twp, PA
I do alot of shopping at Amish stores..I live in geauga county and many wonderful stores to choose from.. absolutely enjoy browsing and of purchasing .. I also shop the salvage stores where many deals can be had
Pineview Bulk Food and Deli, FARMVILLE, VA
Pineview Bulk Food And Deli located on 749 Plank Rd. in Farmville, Va is a nice clean store. The people are all nice and pleasant to talk to. Great place to get a sandwich for lunch.
Very first stop!
Everytime my husband and I go to Holmes County, as soon as we hit town, we head straight for Hersberger’s. We have to get some fresh yeast rolls, cheese tarts and a couple fry pies. We could live on the rolls and pretty much do while we’re there! Lol
IL Amish Bakery
We love a bakery that is not listed on any of the tourist information sheets in Arthur, IL called Rise and Shine Bakery on County Road 200. It is run in the home of an Amish family with all the tradition you expect and their breads and treats are amazing! Because of covid they are now not operating a storefront but you can call and order anything they make. Their number is (217) 268-3521.
Amish store to visit
If you go once, you will want to go again. I have not eaten here because people come from everywhere to shop and eat here. They have a deli and they have ice cream. They have so much here in grocery and useful items, as well as furniture. My daughter drives a lady from the Burkes Garden group over to work here a few days a week. My mistake was picking up something to try, and now I need more. They have a lot of bakery items…donuts, cakes, whoopie pies, breads, and more. Their maple donuts are great, and they sell maple syrup. It is hard to describe this place because there is so much.
Walker's Market in Giles County, VA
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