Monday, January 23, 2012

More on Amish Businesses: Bulk Food Stores

My last two posts have highlighted Amish businesses since many people are looking at ways to earn extra income. Amish women to me are extraordinary because they have savvy business skills, either running their own small shops or record keeping for the family business.
Today I’m so excited to share with you about my friend, "Katie".  She has two greenhouses, which I’ll showcase in the spring and summer. Her husband built a bulk goods store across the street from their house for a source of income. When they married, he didn't want to take Katie away from her large family she loves so dearly. 
So along with Katie's two greenhouses and the store, they make a living. The dry goods store is only a year old but as you can see from the pictures, well stocked. The couple agonize over getting the best prices so they can pass the savings on to their Amish friends. It’s open to the public though, and their customers travel far to stock up, since their prices are one-fifth the cost of what is charged in stores. I really admire how they could be charging so much more, but don’t. They know most Amish families are large, and live off of approximately $35,000 a year.

Katie's antique cash register

On the back wall is canned goods and boxed cereal. Every nook and cranny is used.

 Many hours are spent measuring and "bagging up" dry goods.

Notice the men's Amish hats for sale at top of picture
Katie's greenhouses in winter.

The store is next to the barn where they keep their carriages and horses.


  1. I just love these snippets into the Amish way of living! You have a gift for telling their stories. I love that this is the real "Katie".

  2. It is so neat to see an Amish community in PA. We live next to (at last count) six large Old Order Amish communities here in south central Missouri. I'm heading over to one of my dear Amish friends home tomorrow in fact. We stop in to visit with them every Wednesday so our girls can play together. I'd be lost if we ever had to move away. Anything I need to know, I can learn from them and they are so much fun to be around. Thank you for sharing so many wonderful pictures! Our Amish are extremely private and stay as far away from cameras as possible. I'm so glad I found your blog!

  3. Thank you KAREN...yes, this is "Katie Bylers" place ;) SHARON thank you stopping by. I'd love for you to share some stories of your Amish friends. I learn something all the time from my Amish friends too, but sometimes left with more questions to ponder. To me it's like going back in time into a different culture, and you come out with culture shock. They give me so much to think about.

  4. Karen, great post! I just noticed this, coincidentally I shared some reader photos of a similar bulk foods store in NY. My last Amish bulk foods purchase was a big bag of vegetable chips. Good road snack!


    1. Erik, feel free to post pics on Amish America...I took them so you'll get the royal treatment...royalty free ;) I know, corny. Really appreciate you coming on Amish Crossings.

  5. Hi Karen,

    I just discovered your blog through Amish America and am so glad I found you. I am always wanting to learn more about the Amish, because I have so much respect for their way of life. I have read lots of Amish fiction and am looking forward to reading your book! I also read a lot of Amish non-fiction to try to understand their history, beliefs and culture. It was really interesting to see the inside of the dry goods store. Like you, I'm looking to live a more simple life. We live about 3 hours from the Elkhart/Lagrange and Nappanee settlements and visit there often. I have family who lives near Holmes County, and that's actually my favorite place in the world! I hope to get down to Daviess County this spring for the first time, and of course at some point I want to get to Lancaster County. I look forward to following your blog and learning more!


  6. Betsy, you'll need to come to Westen PA where the Amish are in little settlements all over the place. Not too many tourist either. Lots of Amish shops right off their homes. Smicksburg in my little slice of heaven on earth. Thanks for stopping by!

  7. Thanks for the information! I'm writing this suggestion down and adding it to my list of places to visit.


  8. Hi Karen, I just wanted to tell you how much I enjoy reading your blog. Your stories and photos are wonderful. My sister lives near Rural Valley, and I make the 2-hour drive from my home several times a year to visit with her. We are regular customers at Lydia's store, and love the Sunshine Flour she sells. In fact, I was just there and bought a 10lb bag two days ago. I'm always baking, and I go through the flour fairly quickly, so I'm thinking of getting a 25lb bag next time.

    Yesterday, my sister drove me to Roman Troyer's workshop. My sister already owns two of his oak/hickory rockers, which I must say are absolutely gorgeous! I purchased two rockers yesterday; one for myself and the other for my mother. I was wondering if you could direct us to some of the other Amish owned workshops in the area? And do you know where I might buy an Amish made quilt? Thank you very much!

  9. Dear Christine Lewin, et al.,
    We saw Roman Troyer rocking chairs near Staunton, Virginia (The Cheese Shop) and would like to buy a few plus see what else he makes. Will you please provide address and contact information for his shop?
    -Bryan Decker-
    Leesburg, VA