Midwest Living Review
Lehman's is famous as both a tourist magnet and a supersize store specializing in goods from days gone by. Started in the 1950s as a one-room hardware store, it hasmushroomed into a 32,000-square-foot space jam-packed with oldfangled and hard-to-find merchandise ranging from apple peelers to composting toilets to oil lamps to sleigh bells to wood-burning cookstoves to zippered piecrust bags. Sound like a lot? It is. Originally founded to help the local Amish maintain their way of life, Lehman's was discovered by folks who want or need old-fashioned tools and nonelectric appliances (campers, missionaries, Peace Corps workers and the go-green crowd), and the store just kept growing and growing. Lehman's latest expansion came about in 2007 with the introduction of an 1800s barn that holds the Cast Iron Cafe as well as the Buggy Barn, where shoppers can sit in church pews to watch films about Amish history and beliefs. Big picture, the store represents a symbiotic relationship with the Amish. On the one hand, Amish folks obviously patronize Lehman's because it has the things they need, but they also make many of the items the store sells. The end result for the visitor is a one-stop recreational shopping destination that provides nostalgia, amusement, food and the satisfaction of easily finding and buying locally made products.