Lancaster Amish Market Stands

Reading Terminal Amish Market Philadelphia

Market stand businesses are particularly popular among Amish in Lancaster County.

Amish owners are often able to earn enough during three days on-site, typically Thursday to Saturday, to make a decent living.

Established Pennsylvania Dutch markets can be found within neighboring metropolitan areas such as Philadelphia, Baltimore, and Washington, DC.

Other markets have appeared in recent years in less-populated areas.  The Markets at Shrewsbury, located in southern York County, is an example of a newer market located in a growing area.

Shrewsbury offers a mix of Amish and non-Amish stands andincludes a bakery, furniture store, and food stands.  Other markets, such as those outside Princeton, New Jersey, and at Newtown north of Philly, offer similar arrangements.

One Amish stand owner says that in the dampened economic climate, markets offer entrepreneurial Amish a more attractive entry into business ownership.

Since people continue to eat during downturns, but may decide to put off the bedroom suite purchase, Lancaster Amish have been more likely to pursue such businesses recently rather than starting up furniture operations, for example.

Reading Terminal Market Philadelphia Beiler's Bakery

Reading Terminal Market, downtown Philadelphia

Drawbacks of market work include commute time–sometimes up to 2 hours.  Days for one owner start with a 430 am pickup and a return as late as 9pm.  Some market operators may even stay overnight.

Another possible drawback is the non-Plain setting of markets, with the vast bulk of clientele being non-Amish.

In this way markets for Lancaster Amish may share a resemblance with the RV industry in northern Indiana, where Amish males put in 40 hour weeks in the foreign setting of factories to be able to maintain traditional Amish lives the rest of the time.

However, just as Amish factory workers enjoy one another’s company on the job, the same can be the case at the typical market, which often houses a half-dozen or more Amish-operated stands.

Amish Market Princeton New Jersey

Near Princeton, New Jersey

Besides the attraction of quality foods and products, much of the appeal of market stands lies in the chance for urbanites to get their hands on a bona fide chunk of ‘Amishness’.

By operating market stands, Amish owners are transporting a piece of Plain charm into the urban setting for city dwellers to access, all without leaving the metropolitan vicinity.

And by operating such stands in person, they lend greater authenticity and novelty to the transaction.

By their presence and interaction with customers, Amish stand operators essentially transform what would otherwise be a normally banal lunchmeat purchase into an experience.

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    12 Comments

    1. Mike

      Great post! I was practically raised at the Reading Terminal Market. My parents had a soft pretzel, ice cream, and candy business there for years, and my uncle and grandfather still work there. Lots of my Amish relatives are in the market business.

    2. Thanks Mike! Reading Terminal is quite unlike the others mentioned in this post. Lots of hustle and bustle. Looks like I may have met some of your family!

    3. Mary Ann

      There is another spot you didn’t mention–Booth’s Corn in Boothwyn, PA.

    4. Fisher’s Pretzels at Reading Terminal Market are the best soft pretzels I’ve ever had. I’ve been hearing a lot about the Markets at Shrewsbury. The next time I’m in PA I’ll have to check it out.

    5. Amos

      I am a standholder at the Newtown Farmers Market. . appreciate the link! Although not as large as Reading Terminal, Newtown Market offers a wonderful variety of foods. . . both Amish/Lancaster County goodness and ethnic foods.
      It’s a great place to shop!

    6. No problem Amos, my pleasure! I enjoyed my visit to Newtown.

    7. Pingback: Reading Terminal Market in Philadelphia | Amish America
    8. derstlerdelivery

      iam currently looking for a market driving job if any amish market stand holder needs a permint or sub driver call Jeff at 717 989 4091 thank you have a blessed Easter 2010 !

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    10. Scott Unangst

      I’m a out of work father living in the lancaster county pa.
      I have a king cab pick up.. looking for an Amish family in need of a driver..will drive any schedule…
      Contact: Scott at 717-945-8496 anytime..thanks for the listing.

    11. Lee Ann

      Interesting. Wish I had heard of this market stand before I went to PA last summer. Never saw this.

      Erik, do you know if there is a market stand in CO amish community?

      1. Colorado Amish markets

        Lee Ann the market stands tend to be a suburban/urban phenomenon, usually coming out of larger communities where it pays to travel away from competition to an “untouched” market. Colorado communities comprise a quite small population and none are that close to Colorado’s urban areas to begin with, so any retail stands are likely your typical farm stands or retail shops right there on the property. I could be wrong, but I don’t think there would be any Amish or PA Dutch type markets in Colorado cities.

        https://amishamerica.com/colorado-amish/