Today was the annual Hershbergers Farm and Bakery Fall Family night. This is a very popular destination for visitors to Ohio Amish Country. See listing at Hershberger’s Farm and Bakery.
This week Wanda and I stayed at The Premier Carriage House Cottages, located several miles from Berlin, Ohio, on County Road 203. I’ve seen the cottages before but this was the first time we’ve stayed there. There are seven beautiful cottages on the property; we stayed in the number seven unit. As soon as we walked into the cottage we knew we were going to enjoy our stay. This unit is very spacious and has about everything you can imagine. It’s a perfect place for a romantic getaway, a honeymoon stay, to celebrate a special occasion, or just to “get away from it all”. [Read more…]
When Eli Hershberger, better known as Junior, opened Farmerstown Furniture in 1969, it was the first such business in the area. Not so today when furniture stores dot the landscape around Holmes County, with more opening every year. What began as an antique restoration shop has grown into a family enterprise specializing in new and unique furniture pieces. As of 2002 Junior’s son Merle has run the business with help from his brother Daniel and their father. “My dad started the business with antique restorations and then got into furniture from there; it’s been about twelve years since we totally quit the restoration end of it.” Merle told me. His father acknowledged “It’s a good feeling” to see his sons taking over the business he started. Merle said it would be nice to see his own sons follow in his footsteps as well. [Read more…]
“Being different from all the other furniture stores in the area” is his biggest challenge according to Galen Swartzentruber, manager at Walnut Creek Furniture since 1999. “You have to keep asking yourself why someone would want to come in here.” He answers that question by “staying unique.” Industrial style furniture, combining reclaimed wood and metal, is often seen in big city loft apartments; hand-crafted solid oak pieces with their smooth, perfect surfaces are more common in Holmes County. While the unblemished wood style is a favorite among local shoppers, the weather-beaten character of re-purposed shop carts and carpenters benches is gaining popularity. After a visit to Walnut Creek Furniture, in the heart of Ohio’s Amish Country, it’s easy to see why.
Galen gave me a tour of the showroom, pointing out pieces unlike anything I had seen before. Owned by Dale and Regina Miller, Walnut Creek Furniture carries traditional pieces made locally from start to finish, upholstered sofas and chairs custom ordered from out-of-state suppliers, and the amazing re-purposed items which make the store unlike so many others. Each of the one-of-a-kind industrial items is sure to be a conversation piece in the buyer’s home or office. [Read more…]
Two years ago Vi and Ivan Hostetler made the decision to purchase the Amish Country Leather Shop in Berlin, a decision that began their adventure in retail. Vi says the church they attend encouraged parishioners to pray about their dreams and about how to pursue and achieve those dreams. After some time spent doing just that Vi says she “finally got up the nerve to come in and talk to” the owners of the leather shop. She is convinced it was not luck that led to ownership of a business that incorporates her appreciation of motorcycles with earning a living; as it happened the previous owners because of health concerns had been discussing putting up a “For Sale” sign so the Hostetlers’ inquiry seemed providential.
Vi was born and raised in Holmes County and Ivan right next door in Wayne County. She laughs when she describes the difference in perspective that came with owning a business supported by tourists as well as locals. Tourist season is “not an annoyance” but rather it is something to look forward to. She acknowledges freely that this county owes much of what it is to the financial contributions made by the many visitors to the area. When asked what she likes most about Holmes County Vi knows straight away what that is. “When somebody is in trouble, it’s like the whole community just rallies around and helps.” [Read more…]
A number of weeks ago, my wife, Wanda, worked longer than normal at the Walnut Hills Nursing Home in Walnut Creek, Ohio. It was National Nursing Home week and she helps create events and activities for the nursing home residents. In the past she has also worked at the Walnut Hills Retirement Home which is adjacent to the nursing home. Walnut Hills has an excellent reputation in the community as a place that provides excellent care. Every summer Wanda and I enjoy attending the employee’s picnic and the “summer gathering” event that is held for families of residents. These events are well planned and executed and we always look forward to going. [Read more…]
Wanda and I stayed at Ferngully Creek Cabins recently and we had an awesome experience. Ferngully is set in a beautiful wooded setting off Holmes County Township Road 319, right in the heart of Ohio Amish Country. Though very secluded and private, the property is only several miles from both Berlin and Millersburg, Ohio. We stayed for two nights but wish we could have spent a whole week here. We arrived the first night after dark. We loved our cabin the minute we opened the door. The ambiance, at night, created by the well-placed, subdued lighting was exceptional. We stayed in The Cherry Blossom cabin which was well-furnished, immaculate and beautifully decorated.
“My history is in publishing,” Joy Schrock begins, telling how she entered the business world over thirty years ago. She began her career working with her father and says she “absolutely loved it, gaining really, really good formalized training over the course of the next decade.” Joy’s father, the late John E. Schrock, added other ventures to the family partnership, building a hotel, a restaurant, and a fitness center in their hometown, Berlin, Ohio. When her father asked for her help with the flagging businesses she left publishing behind and set to work, reorganizing and building new teams of employees, finally turning a profit in her third year.
Success came with a heavy price. “I was working seven days a week, nonstop. That’s what those businesses required to be successful,” Joy says. Even though her successful team-building eventually allowed her more leisure time, her father, whom she describes as “very much an entrepreneur” was acquiring more businesses and bringing them to her to “fix them.” It was a cycle that continued “over and over again.” [Read more…]