What can you find in an Amish variety store? I’ve got over five dozen photos to share with you today from one of my favorites, so this should give you a pretty good idea 🙂
I recently returned, twice, to King’s Kountry Store in Halifax County, Virginia. I mentioned this place in my post earlier this year on the local Amish community.
Bennie Ray and Mary Ann King are the friendly couple who own the store. We met last December when I dropped in to the store.
Update: here’s my video walk-through of the store from a later visit (2021). You’ll see a few things have changed in the two years or so between this post and video. Continue scrolling down for the rest of the original post & still photos:
As I pulled in for my first return visit one April afternoon, Bennie Ray seemed to recognize me right away – even though I was in a different rental vehicle this time. He pointed me towards the store and said he and Mary Ann would be right over.
Funny enough, as we began chatting the first thing Bennie Ray asked me was if I had put something online about the store after my last visit.
They had been getting visitors who had learned of it from that February post (maybe that includes some of you reading this right now 🙂 ). They seemed happy about that. I later suggested I could come by again to do a more extensive post on the store.
So last month I visited again, and learned some more about the store from Mary Ann (Bennie Ray happened to be out on a construction job this time).
I thought it would be nice to give you a more extensive look at the interior of an Amish variety store, and the types of things you’ll find there.
I’ve done a lot of posts on little Amish stores over the years, but as far as photos and info goes this is probably my most extensive ever.
It happened to be a beautiful Saturday with a blueberry festival going on at a nearby farm, which also included some Amish vendors.
My brother Alex was along as a driver/helper, and we stopped in at the festival after this visit. Here’s a bonus photo from that…I bought a tasty donut from these Amish folks:
Back to King’s Kountry Store. You’ll find the place on Hunting Creek Road, a long curving road which has numerous Amish homes and an Amish school on it.
The store is on a large property with a sign by the road and a helpful “Open” flag signaling where to pull in:
This is the new sign which had just gone up replacing a smaller previous version:
And the front, with plenty of parking for both buggies and cars:
You’ll find cool drinks and shopping carts by the store entrance:
What do they sell?
I’ve included some photos and a description of the various things you’ll find in King’s Kountry Store. This isn’t a full list by any means, but should give you a good idea.
As you walk through the store you’ll discover item after item which truly makes this a variety store – there are many hundreds if not thousands of different items in stock (and it’s not an enormous place, I might call it “medium-sized”).
I asked Mary Ann how she keeps up with it all, and she admitted it’s a good bit of work having to order products from many different suppliers and stay on top of things.
I suggested a nice middle business for someone would be a variety store distributor acting as a one-stop outlet to order everything an Amish variety store might need, from jams to clocks to Plain clothing. She seemed to think that would be a good idea 🙂
As you walk around you’ll notice the place is illuminated by both natural light and by LED lighting in places:
Health and Wellness
The first thing I photographed were some health and wellness items near the front of the store, mainly of the natural remedy variety:
These supplements are quite popular in the Amish community. You can find remedies for throat and tonsil problems, sleep issues, and colic:
General house wares make up a big part of the offering at King’s Kountry Store. There are a lot of items for cooking and general household items.
A nine-inch pie pan:
How about a Pie Savor? (or is it “Saver”? Savor seems like a more clever name, I think I like that one better):
Amish families tend to enjoy pizza:
I’m not exactly sure what you call these ceiling hangers:
These bird feeders were really cool. Mary Ann said they are a popular item. I believe they are made by an Amishman in Pennsylvania. The price for this blue jay is $31:
There is a fairly extensive selection of clocks, some of the hang-on-the-wall variety, some that just sit on your dresser or nightstand.
Clocks are popular with the Amish as they are a practical item and simultaneously add some decorative flair to the home:
Rhythm brand clocks happened to be on sale:
Nature and hunting themes are a hit with the Amish:
These clocks are printed with verses from 1 Corinthians and Psalms:
Inspirational Home Decor
There are quite a few decorative items for the home. While Amish people typically don’t do a lot of gaudy decorating in their homes, some Amish homes are seeing more of the inspirational wall hangings, or those with a Biblical theme, or simply celebrating values important to them, like family:
Hooray for grandparents:
Shoes and Clothing
The shoes and clothing are mainly things that would appeal to Amish customers. You’ll find plain shoes, coats, and more, including caps and head scarves from Weaver’s Apparel (my friend Daniel Weaver‘s former business):
Here are some black bonnets. The Amish here come from Dover, Delaware originally, so their clothing, buggies, etc. would align with that community:
There were a lot of shoes by Skecher’s, a brand popular with many Amish (I would imagine for the comfort):
A circular clothes hanger:
There is a pretty sizeable children’s section with toys, books, games and more:
There was also a nice selection of board games, some of which would appeal to adults as well. Here you can see Farm-opoly, Bird-opoly, and Uncle Wiggily among others.
Settlers of Catan is a favorite in many Amish households so I was not surprised to see it on the shelf:
This is not a bulk food store and food is not the main focus, but there were some non-perishable food items like jams. These are from the Union Grove, NC settlement:
Heritage Hill was the Amish store in Pittsylvania County, VA, which I tried to visit but had recently closed:
The store features a nice spread of cookbooks:
You can see one from the Rexford, Montana Amish settlement here (West Kootenai Cooking):
This one is, I believe, from the Union Grove, NC community. I like the title (“…Favor’ites“) suggesting a play on how some Amish pronounce that word:
How about a beard trimmer?
Some kind of deer hunting-themed thermos:
There are various craft items available as well:
Wooden coat hangers:
Stickers and notebooks:
Some inspirational books by the checkout counter:
Puzzles and more books:
There are of course other items I haven’t featured here. Part of the fun is discovering what you might find in the nooks and crannies of the store.
Who are their customers?
While there, a couple of non-Amish ladies stopped in to buy brooms. I spoke briefly with them and learned that at least one was a repeat customer. They seemed very happy to have the Amish in the area and praised their work. One of them had had one of the local Amish construction companies build her home.
This community, founded in 2005, has grown to about 70 families, so that helps to support a store like this. But English visitors are very welcome as well. Mary Ann says they get a mix.
Amish and English customers buy some of the same items. But Mary Ann says her English customers tend to like things like the cookbooks, candles, and housewares.
From my impression meeting a decent handful of folks here, Halifax County seems to be quite a friendly community. You’ll also hear a Southern twang in people’s accents, which is always music to these ears as an NC native.
How to find King’s Kountry Store
If you’d like to visit King’s Kountry Store, here’s where you’ll find it:
King’s Kountry Store
1211 Hunting Creek Road
Nathalie, VA 24577
The store is closed on Sundays of course, and Wednesdays as well.
UPDATED HOURS – Open: 8AM – 5PM (Monday-Tuesday; Thursday-Saturday. Closed Wednesday & Sunday)
Note that they have changed their mid-week “closed” day (previously it was Thursday, now it’s Wednesday). Keep that in mind before traveling long distances. Updated December 2021.
If you do visit, please mention you heard about them on Amish America, and say hello from Erik (btw, this is not a sponsored post or anything like that. I just enjoy doing this type of post as the family is very nice and it’s a great store, so I hope you’ll enjoy it as I did 🙂 ).
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Interesting article, Erik. I enjoy the variety stores — reminds me some of the five-and-dime stores growing up.
So I have to ask: What are girls’/ladies’ “trouser socks”?
Good catch there Don, I actually didn’t notice that detail until putting together this post then wondered the same myself:) Thanks to Maureen and Eileen for jumping in with the explanation.
Don I feel the same as you – loved the five-and-dime, love these Amish stores and bulk items as well.
Women’s trouser socks are usually knee high [thin black dress sock material] worn under pants, or in my case I wear the knee high trouser sock under a mid-calf dress [like the Amish women] with a black Oxford shoe that is considered plain and modest.
I’ve been in these places a lot as I really enjoy them too Maureen, but didn’t ever stop to think how much it must take to stay on top of your inventory and manage all these items, until I spoke more with Mary Ann about it. Then when you think she’s got to have items her community uses and things that will appeal to English customers as well…I would say that it is more oriented to her own Amish customers but there is enough crossover appeal in many of the items.
Erik these pictures are great – just so interesting; I want one of everything, lol!
I knew you wouldn’t mind me giving a description of the trouser socks. In my opinion this is the basic black one very similar to the men’s “over the calf” dress sock.
My attire has been always and forever influenced by the Catholic nuns; I When I attended Catholic boarding school cleanliness and our uniform attire both were stressed as priority virtues. At the time, the nuns purchased these socks in black from the men’s department I believe from Sears mail order for themselves and for us students. Description was “black, over the calf trouser socks”.
Since then trouser socks have become popular with women and are available in many colors and designs that Eileen has described.
Quite ironically, and just recently Walmart discontinued the Dr. Scholls black knee high over the calf – popular with the Amish ladies in the area. This is disappointing to all us women who wear them daily.
Thanks again for these pictures – wonder if they ship?
Source for Winter Socks
I always stock up on ladies knee high heavier socks for the winter in Iowa when visiting the Hazleton, IA community. Hard to find anywhere else.
Interesting back story Maureen, I wouldn’t have known otherwise. I see where the name comes from now. As far as shipping, I don’t believe that’s in their business model, but I could be wrong. If you like, you might just give them a ring and leave a message asking about shipping (you can mention it was my idea to check, if that helps)?
Trouser socks are thinner knee high or calf-length socks with spandex which can be worn with any shoe, even dress shoes. They are semi-sheer–a cross between a regular sock and a stocking and they usually have a pattern.
Thanks ladies for the explanation. I didn’t recall Amish girls/wearing trousers (esp. in a situation calling for nicer hosiery like that), so was a bit confused on the “trousers” part.
Today's fun !
It was so nice to see these photos! I love going into the Amish stores when I come across one. Lots of fun looking through one this way as well. Thank you.
Glad you enjoyed it Patricia! I found myself just taking more and more photos as I roamed the aisles, as there were interesting things around every corner…and ended up with more than I expected to include here. I’d need to double check but I think this is the most photos we’ve ever had on one post:)
Amish Variety Store
I would love to visit this store and just look around. What a wonderful selection of items!
Several years ago I met some Amish men from a settlement in Tennessee. What amazed me the most was hearing Pennsylvania Dutch with a southern twang. They sounded so different I had to inquire where they were from.
Thanks for this post Erik! I didn’t even know there were Amish down that way. They are an hour and a half from where we live in Bedford, VA. We look forward to paying a visit to King’s! Do you know of any other Amish establishments in that area?
Hill Top Foods - Nathalie, VA (Halifax County)
Paula, that’s great. Another nice stop is Hill Top Foods, just down the road from King’s Kountry Store on Hunting Creek Road. It is like a bulk food type shop, really nice folks run it. The info is:
Hill Top Foods
3090 Hunting Creek Road
Nathalie, VA 24577
Open Mon-Sat 8am-5pm
There are some other shops in the community including at least one other food store. I don’t have the info offhand on that one, but if you get down there, Mary Ann and Bennie Ray or the folks at Hill Top Foods should be able to tell you how to find it.
Thanks Erik! I am sure we will have a good time wandering around.