“Amish Maid To Order”?

While this is not exactly an Amish business, Amish Maid To Order caught my eye because the name suggests it is. House cleaning is a pretty common side or main occupation for Amish women, both married and those not yet baptized. So I first thought this may be someone arranging housecleaning by Amish ladies. This is a Goshen, Indiana-based business, so right near a lot of Amish people. However this is actually run by a sister-brother pair of former Amish:

Amish Maid to Order is a cleaning and Janitorial service owned and operated by Susan Keim and John Schmidt, a brother and sister who were raised in an Amish family of 9 children. Over 20 years of experience in this field from Sarasota Florida to Elkhart Indiana and places in between, guarantee a high level of professionalism and great satisfaction for the customer.

There’s also this comment, presumably by Susan Keim, in response to a question:

Rosemary, my brother and I are former Amish, we left the order in our 20s, we do all the work right now. We do very good work as you can see by people writing in on our page. I would be very happy to come meet you and see your home and give you a quote. It’s free. We speak Pennsylvania Dutch, and still do the work as though we were still Amish. You can trust us as many people give us access to their homes and we go in when they are working.

Out of curiosity, I googled and found a few more cleaners using “Amish” in their names. Here is Ex-Amish Cleaning based in Nashville, Tennessee. “Amish Traditions, Quality Cleaning” is the hook there, but not much more info on the site.

There’s another – located in Bedford, Massachusetts, according to Google Maps – called 3 Amish Ladies & An English Woman. That’s a bit confusing as there are no Amish communities in that state. However, a look at their website shows they also have a Pennsylvania address, and this info from the founder in the “Our Story” section:

Years ago, I began working along side a group of Amish ladies, here in rural Pennsylvania. They referred to me and my way of life as “English”. In the Amish community, if you aren’t Amish or Mennonite, you are referred to as “English”.

While cleaning with these ladies, I came to truly admire their integrity and work ethic. I reveled in how detailed they were as they cheerfully went about their day; unwilling to compromise in the quality of the services they were providing, no matter how big or challenging the task.

As the years passed, and family sizes grew, the ladies became less and less available. Today, I have a few Amish ladies working in a limited capacity, but I no longer solely employ the Amish.

Another one listed as serving Fort Wayne, Indiana shows up simply as “Amish Maids” – with no website and little additional info, other than phone and business hours which include the info that it’s closed Sunday. That’s one I would bet to be the most “Amish”.

These examples show the appeal of marketing under the Amish name. Even though a number of these don’t really involve current Amish church members, I don’t really blame someone who grew up in the culture for decades and “feels” Amish, having lots of Amish family, etc. for thinking of themselves in some way as “Amish”. Although, using the name too blatantly or not explaining it clearly might create a feeling of deception in some customers. That said, if I were in the market for cleaning help, I’d probably be inclined to go with a cleaning service run by people with Amish roots.

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    1. helen holmes


      I have lived in the NJ-NY area for decades and the ads often say “Polish woman available to clean houses.” It took me a while to figure it out but what it is is a code method of saying I am not a minority person. I find it awful and major newspapers have continued ti up to and through today.

    2. J.O.B.

      I often feel uncomfortable when I see non-Amish use “Amish” in the title/label of their business.

      Even if you were raised Amish, you left because maybe the lifestyle was not for you. I can understand. But to continue to use “Amish” as an angle to draw in customers feels disingenuous.

      However, I must confess. I would also be more likely to seriously consider hiring a Amish or ex-Amish cleaning business as opposed to an English one.

    3. Al in Ky

      I agree with J. O. B.’s comments.

      It seems in situations like this, “Amish”is being used as a marketing tool. This reminds me of a statement made in the book “The Amish” by Donald Kraybill, Karen Johson-Weiner and Steven Nolt on page 305: “Regardless of its veracity, the Amish brand stokes sentiments that entice consumers”.