Unusual Amish Businesses: The Amish iPod Shop

Recently, while in Lancaster County, I visited one of the most unusual Plain businesses I’ve come across. Two enterprising brothers have created a business destination that one would hardly expect to see in an Amish community.

But with the increasing openness of Amish to technological solutions, I suppose it was just a matter of time until a shop supplying the Apple iPhone and iPod, and other communication gadgets, would appear in an Amish settlement.

The older of the brothers, whom I’ll refer to as “Elam”, is apparently the brains behind this operation.  “We noticed a demand in the community for hand-held communication devices that could be easily concealed, and we decided to supply it,” he explained.  Younger brother “Jonas” hit on the idea of using an empty tool shed to house the business, and the pair decided to start the company as a sideline to their day jobs at a local manufacturing plant.

The shop has apparently been a hit among local Amish, with the brothers reporting sales which have steadily grown as word of the shop has spread throughout the Lancaster community.  When I asked Elam what leaders in his community thought of their unusual enterprise, his reply surprised me.

“Why, this sounds a bit like one of those April Fool’s jokes you English like to play, now doesn’t it?”

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    20 Comments

    1. Lisa
    2. Mark

      Bravo! I was about to order my iPod screen saver with an Amish quilt theme.

    3. Totally! I didn’t fall for it. Started reading your book. It’s great so far!! I hope your publicist arranges for features on you in all the big biz media: WSJ, Forbes, Fortune, etc.

    4. magdalena

      I really like the shed though.

    5. Erik,
      1) Can I place my order for the iPad from this renegade shop in Amishland?
      2) If I order my iPad from their shop, will they ship it via horse and buggy to my door? That would be very cool.
      3) Do the Amish have April fools day?
      Kasia

    6. Karen

      You got me! I totally bought it. And even read passages aloud to my Amish friend Erin. D’Oh!

    7. Ack–I couldn’t resist! And apologies on behalf of my Amish friends Elam and Jonas 🙂

    8. Kasia– only if you order it in grey or black. Other colors you’ll have to get at the Mennonite place down the road.

    9. Karen, I’m sure your friend Erin no doubt saw through the ruse!! And Rhea many thanks, I hope so too 🙂

    10. Jesse

      You never know…. there is a Mennonite shop near here that has a full color video sign out in front of their business, they dress plain, but they want their signage to be anything but plain.

    11. Ruben, thank you, I’d be more than happy to! This was a fun one today 🙂

    12. And Jesse that full color video sign sounds like the next level! Wonder how that works?

    13. Ruben

      LOL bigtime Erik! 🙂

      Bought your book in Barnes & Noble today. Wanna meet you sometime so I can get your autograph!

    14. aron miller

      Erik

      Just thought youwould want to know. We just checked with the deacon and he said these hand held devices would be O.K. as long as we kep them in backpacks shaped like phone shanties and we call them wepods as ipod is to prideful and self centered.
      Any worldlings wants one of these backpacks you can order them at pouchesbyyonie@phoneshanty.aol (stands for amish on line)

      Elam and Jonas

    15. Miller! Not you again!! 🙂 Tell the deacon Elam and Jonas are up-and-up guys, and he should give them a break. Where do I get a backpack shaped like a phone shanty anyway?? Or is that another business you are starting? 🙂

    16. Ann Whitaker

      Great fun and great comments! Keeps me smiling as I prepare for Maundy Thursday service in my community. 🙂

    17. Abigail

      I laughed SO hard! That was hilarious! Thanks for lightening my morning!

    18. Glad you all enjoyed it. Makes me wish we had April Fool’s at least once a month.

    19. plain lady

      Actually, you might be surprised what they sell out of those little mini barns!

    20. Pingback: Amish business book winners, and your questions answered