John Smucker is a friend of mine living in Lancaster County. We met in 2007 while I was selling books in that community.
John is one of a number of Amish contractors operating in the Lancaster area. His company, Forest Ridge Builders, does new residential construction, additions, remodel work, decks, garages, and barns.
I spent a day with John on the job in 2009 as his stand-in driver while researching my Amish business book. Like many in his trade, John works in Lancaster and surrounding counties, including Chester and Berks.
In this highly-populated, prosperous area, there is a lot of demand for building services. However when I tagged along with John, the country was in the midst of the housing slowdown, so we spent some time discussing how he was handling that.
I recently asked John seven questions about his trade. If you’re looking for a contractor for a building project, John shares some nice advice (and no, the advice is not simply “hire Forest Ridge”, though you might consider it after reading the piece 🙂 ).
John also sheds light on the Amish side of things, in terms of technologies they use, and how family life fits into the picture.
While John says most of his workers are Amish, “we do try to keep a balance of non-Amish employees too and have them operate the company vehicles with the Amish employees as passengers.” John explains that this helps them to “stay open-minded and appreciative of people from other cultures too.”
As far as challenges go, one of John’s least favorite is “the occasional customer who doesn’t respect evening hours being reserved for family as much as practical.”
Read the full piece here: Forest Ridge Builders of Lancaster County.
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I do often travel to rural areas and my last trip was Delaware County New York. There I found Amish products being sold roadside. So I know the Amish reach goes into these areas. These 100+ year old family farms recently received just – half a million in grants for further work on environment and energy. Previously Cornell ran trials using grass pellets for heat stoves throughout Walton, NY. They are perfecting a grass pellet stove. It reminded me too that cow manure was used to make methane there a few years back. Seeing that homes are tied into the life on farms in Lancaster is there an effort to bring to Lancaster new construction these new forms of energy?
Excellent post and article. How I wish he was working in our area, too!