I've run into many successful Amish businesses that lack the one thing most marketing professors would tell you is crucial: a name.
There is a really popular Amish bakery in Cattaraugus County, New York that seems to just be called "the Bakery on Route 62." In fact, I was working on a cookbook and interviewing the Amish owner of the bakery and I asked for the formal name of her business.
"Oh, we're just called that bakery on 62." she said with a look of surprise.
"Yes, but my editors are going to want to know the exact name," I said.
"That's it, the Bakery on 62," she said. That's just what most locals call it, but there's no sign out front saying so, it's just an informal local moniker. Sure enough after turning in the manuscript, my editors questioned the lack of name:
"Surely there must be one somewhere even if it's on some old corporation papers stored away in a dusty courthouse": my editor said.
But, nope, I told him, I don't think there is.
This photo is of a tiny unnamed garden and seed store in an Amish settlement in Michigan. It might be the smallest garden supply business I've ever seen, operating out of not much more than a shed. But a visit to there in the Spring shows a bustling business and even though the inside of the store is probably not much more than 10 X 10 feet, it is amply stocked with everything from a great selection of seeds to garden tools. So the Amish often turn the advice of other business owners on its head: no name necessary. But the one thing most of them are doing, and every marketing professor would agree this is the most important: put out a great product. And that is something most Amish businesses don't seem to have a problem doing!
Yesterday, outside Goshen Indiana, we were at a little 'Amish grocery on 34'! It was a cute little store and then we found on 'Farther down on 34'! I don't know if that is what they are called, it just seemed appropriate since that's where they were. We had a great day, seeing farms, women working in fabulous gardens and buying cheese, eggs, butter etc. Wonderful day. It was peaceful, very peaceful.
This little building reminds me of my grandfather's single car garage - it started life as a hot dog stand a block away.
Barbara Miller's bake shop is one of the best in the Conewango NY settlement. The place on route 62 always is busy. A good product at a fair price always beats a fancy name.
Tom, very well said! And you knew exactly where I had been, good call on your part:) Amazing doughnuts at that place!
Great post Kevin. I was reminded of a hunt I went on for an "unmarked" Amish business in Ohio. Really only known to the Amish and a few keyed-in locals.
Thanks, Erik, I thought of you when I did that post....some really hidden business gems I'm sure you've found, and many without even a single sign:)
Where in Michigan
And stop calling me Shirley! :P:P