Inside an Amish “Bent-n-Dent” Grocery Store (Video)

I visited this store in the Hillsboro, Kentucky settlement in December (here’s a previous post related to that trip, and stores I visited). The store in this video is called Miller’s Country Store. When I arrived a bit before closing, the owner, an older Amish gentleman was kind enough to let me film inside the store and answer some questions about it. It’s a bent-n-dent store, aka salvage or discount grocery store. These places sell goods that are imperfect – e.g., past their “best by” date, or with damaged packaging.

There were several things I learned of interest here – such as how such stores get their products (basically, they receive shipments of a variety of “bent-n-dent” graded goods, but don’t know what they’re going to get in each shipment). I also learned more about the fuel this family, and I would assume at least some in the community, uses in its pressure lamps. The store owner calls it mineral spirits, but explains that it is basically paint thinner. We discuss Amish lighting fuels for a bit, including which ones are more explosive.

Another bit of interest was the simple device that they use here to disperse stove heat throughout the store. I saw one of these in an Amish store in Colorado prior to recording this video, and then seemed to start noticing them after that. Maybe they’ve become more popular lately, or maybe I didn’t have my eyes open enough in the past. He explains a bit how this neat thingamajig works to keep the back corners of the store warmer than they would be otherwise.

The Hillsboro settlement is related to the Buchanan County, Iowa community. Churches related to that settlement comprise an affiliation which is classed as the fourth-largest one in the book The Amish, and present in the most states (19 at the time). Here’s a post explaining what an Amish affiliation is if you’re not familiar with the term. I visited two stores in this community, and found them both pleasant stops (the other was a variety store). It’s one of many settlements in this Amish-rich region of the Bluegrass State.

So just a small warning – after my first Amish store visit video, I tried to film these later visits at a slower pace, which I generally think I suceeded in doing, at least comparatively. However it still may move a bit quickly in parts for some viewers. I was informed by a commenter after I filmed these about a device called a gimbal which helps with camera stabilization, and I plan to pick up one of those for future recordings. I am not Amish but nonetheless not the fastest adopter of technology. But it sounds like that little device will be worth having.

Final note: two details you’ll notice in the footage I added at the very end are the phone shanty, as well as the driver who has arrived to take Mr. Miller to Wal-Mart (which we also discuss in the video). I hope you like this look inside Miller’s Country Store Bent-n-Dent Groceries.

And if you’d like to visit, here is the current info. As always, schedules sometimes change so if you’re traveling from afar you might want to double-check this, especially if you’re reading this long after the original publication date:

Miller’s Country Store
Bent-n-Dent Groceries
2956 Orchard Road
Hillsboro, KY 41049

Hours: Monday-Friday 8:30 AM – 5:30 PM
Saturday 8:30 AM – 4:30 PM
Sunday Closed

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    13 Comments

    1. Kathy Baumbusch

      Amish Moving Out

      So Mr. Miller said a lot of Amish had moved out of that area and I was wondering what had caused that, if you know. I live in central Kentucky and I have to admit I’ve been to Ohio Amish country much more than the ones in my own backyard. Is there a current directory about Kentucky Amish communities?

      Love these videos! Thanks!

      1. Missy

        I couldn't find out...

        We moved onto Orchard Rd in 2020 when they were in the process of leaving. At total of around 8 families moved to various places. The Amish woman we bought from moved to Vermont. Our next door neighbors, who moved a couple weeks before we left, moved to Kansas. The Bishop even moved to Kansas as well. I could never get a straight answer about why everyone wanted to leave. I was only in Miller’s store once, but frequented the variety store where I had a couple of long visits with the wife.

      2. KY Amish community list

        Thanks Kathy! So there are several directories of the type the Amish use, I picked up a couple of them on this trip, one covers a good number of communities. If you’re looking for something online though, this is the latest list of settlements across the US, showing those in KY along with their estimated size: https://groups.etown.edu/amishstudies/files/2021/08/Amish-Pop-2021_by-state-and-county.pdf

        It’s definitely worth making a trip as you can visit a number of smaller communities in a day or two, and pretty much every one I went to had different roots so to speak, showcasing the diverse groups found in the state.

        This happens to be the same community I featured in a post a couple years ago, which at the time had a total of seven Amish homes up for sale online. So for some reason a good number of Amish have moved out from here as Mr. Miller alludes to in the video. https://amishamerica.com/7-amish-homes-for-sale-in-one-community-40-photos/

    2. Jerry

      Thermal fan

      Erik, I slightly recall seeing those fans for the first time about 6 years ago at the Jack’s Mountain School Benefit auction in the Beaver Spring, PA area. I think you might have featured them in a story you published. The ones I saw were NIB. I wanted one but they sold for just under $100 and I was too cheap to splurge.
      Check your archives and see if I am remembering correctly. I think we discussed the various glassware found ar these auctions.
      The Amish in that area are Nebraska (white toppers). I also call them the Blue Door Amish as they all have blue painted doors on their homes.

      1. I will check it out. Very possible I blanked on it. It seems as I get older the more things pile up in the old noggin 🙂

        I trust you are back on the Amish auction trail again or will be shortly.

    3. Noah

      Is there any bent-n-dent grocery in Virginia or North Carolina

      Hi Erik! I hope all is well and this video was great so many cool things and the lights in the store were awesome! Do the Amish have any Bent-N-Dent Stores in Virginia or NC? I’ve been trying to look but I think it’s more of a northern amish kind of thing? And funny story my mom went to sams club in Danville Va probably 25-30 mins from the Chatham Va Amish settlement and she saw Amish shopping there getting materials for cooking and etc! I find that to be pretty cool! Thx for being awesome!~ Noah

      1. Noah the one that comes to mind was actually down the road a bit from the King’s Kountry Store (Halifax Co, VA) that I’ve featured here before. Same road (Hunting Creek Rd.) just a bit further east. I’m not sure that it’s still there or not. I have a map of the businesses in this community somewhere, I’ll have another look when I manage to dig it up. Not sure about Farmville or Charlotte County, though those are two possibilities as well. Did not see one when visiting them over the past couple years but I didn’t get around to every nook and cranny and of course things change over time.

    4. Dave

      Breaking The Silence

      Have you seen the 6 part Breaking The Silence series covering the journey of those who’ve left various Amish communities?

      I’ve watched your YouTube vids and have learned a lot, very well done and respectful however the series I mentioned above gave me a fuller perspective.

      If you have seen the series, what is your opinion of it?

      1. I came across it a while back but haven’t seen it yet Dave, it looks like it is a full-scale film production from what I saw of it. Very interesting from that perspective even apart from the subject matter. So I do plan to do a video on former Amish/leaving the Amish. There are some other YT vids of people in that situation who can speak from firsthand experience as well (Amish Potato I believe is one). I have a lot of posts on the topic here in any case, just no vid yet. I’ll be curious to have a look at the series soon and maybe I can give an opinion then. And thanks for checking out the site here too.

        1. Dave

          Breaking The Silence

          Thank you for your response Erik, the mysterious YouTube algorithm suggested your channel, and I found myself happily jumping down the “rabbit hole”, I spent an afternoon watching practically all of your vids and having all my misconceptions corrected.

          Then I was suggested the “Breaking the Silence” series and, like I said, it gave me a fuller perspective. I did then find the “Amish Potato” channel and listened to his 1hr long “testimony”.

          I happen to be a practicing Catholic Christian and not with any interest in Amish Christian beliefs when going down this path, I’ve noticed an interesting phenomenon among former Amish. Many, it seems, as I’ve discovered the former Amish member YouTube channels, have become “Sola Scriptura” or bible alone non denominational Christian’s pointing out how their former practices weren’t biblical and contradictory among the Amish themselves. So therefore in error.

          However, and I’ll make this clear, I have no interest in apologetics in terms of Christian beliefs in this context, this is just an observation, it seems lost on some of the former Amish that their non denominational bible alone Christianity sufferers the same problem among their different churches e.g. communion practices, baptism as a symbol or regenerative, birth control, divorce etc.. and many, like the Amish, when confronted with a teaching they disagree with, they find a new church.

          Just an observation of mine, I truly now have a respect for the fidelity, work ethic and openness to life and respect for others among the Amish.

          Anyway, thank you and God bless

    5. Pamela

      Bent n Dent

      I would like to know where they buy the bent n dent items in bulk.
      I live in WV and there’s no Amish here in my area for about 150+ miles, so I’d not be providing competition with my store

      1. Good question, I assume there are aggregators or clearing houses for all these goods that supply the many Amish and non-Amish bent-n-dent stores. I didn’t get into the details beyond what you see in the video but I’m also curious about it.

        So out of curiosity I just did a Google search, and this was one of the first results. Mr. Miller in the video mentions “banana boxes” which was a term I wasn’t familiar with (just assumed he meant such boxes were used for shipping goods). And interestingly here is a provider I found: http://www.bananaboxwholesalegrocery.com/ Hope that helps.

        1. Pamela Campbell

          Bent n Dent

          Thank you so much for the “banana box” info! I am deeply grateful!