Lehman's is as much woven into Amish lore and culture as hot dogs, fireworks, and apple pie are into the Fourth of July. Long a mainstay in rural Wayne County, this unique outpost got its start as a humble hardware store in the 1950s serving a generally Old Order Amish clientele. As the rest of society modernized and the Amish didn't, however, that left the plain people in a bit of a conundrum: if that 1890s butterchurn breaks, where to get a new part? Well, Lehman's was - and still is - the answer. Although today they serve a clientele that includes plenty of non-Amish as well.
I've been to Lehman's a couple of times, most recently in November of 2010 when I was an invited author at the Buckeye Book Fair in Wooster. Rachel and I stopped at Lehman's while we were in the area and discovered a store that has really morphed into something special and sprawling since my last visit back in the early 90s. Yes, you can still find a part to that old butterchurn, but they also have an array of everything else from cast-iron cookware to cookie cutters and about everything else in between. We bought some massive skewers for some friends of ours as a Christmas gift. They like to camp and you could stick a hot dog or a marshmallow on those bad boys and just sit back and never have to worry about your hand roasting along with your supper. That's the type of unique item you can find at Lehman's. We saw a mix of Amish and non-Amish at Lehman's. My understanding is that many of the Old Order Amish now go to Lehman's second store in Mt. Hope as a more low-key alternative. While I highly recommend visiting Lehman's if you can (you could spend a whole day browsing), you also can get the Lehman's experience by visiting their website.
I posted this on the old site back in 2010 but I thought it was worth re-posting since we have so many newcomers to this new site. I did an interview with Glenda Lehman Ervin about their store, which still a family-run business. Glenda is the daughter of the store's founder. Jay, who still involved with the business 55 years after its founding. Click here to watch the interview with Glenda.
Have you been to Lehman's before? If so, share your experience with us? Did you come away with any unusual items?