My Thoughts About One of My Favorite Places--Northeastern Indiana's Amish Country

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Yoder's Department Store

If you’re a people watcher like me, and you find yourself in Amish Indiana, then Yoder’s Department Store is a good destination to keep in mind.  There is excellent people watching to be done in the rocking chairs which can be found in the central corridor.  Often men can be found relaxing while waiting for their wives to finish their shopping.  I like to while away the afternoon hidden behind my sunglasses, watching life parade by.

Yoder’s is a favorite with both locals and tourists alike.  On one side of the central corridor is the famous Yoder’s Department Store.  On the other side, in the front, there used to be a grocery store; this has been replaced by a restaurant called “Seven Sisters” that seems to have stalled mid-construction.  Farther down the corridor is Yoder’s Hardware, an old-school hardware store.

Besides people watching, there are lots of other reasons to stop in.  It’s a good place to come in out of the rain, cold, or heat. The shopping is good.  And—there are decent restrooms there, down the corridor on the right.

Yoder’s Hardware is, as I mentioned, old-school.  There are lots of local products, tourist trinkets, and just plain useful stuff.  We have purchased a birdhouse there.  I’ve bought work gloves.  We have found kitchenware we liked.  Once I found a replacement rain gauge glass tube that I hadn’t found anywhere else.  It’s the kind of place where you can wander down the aisles, just seeing what they’ve got.  You can even purchase garden seeds by the scoop.

Yoder’s Department Store, 60 years old and going strong,  is legendary for its quilting department, where over 12,000 bolts of fabric can be found at last count.  But there’s lots more.  A quick look around makes it obvious that they serve the local Amish population with clothes, shoes, and felt/straw hats and bonnets.  There are also large sections of hunting apparel, work clothes, and other types of clothing.  We often buy high-visibility yellow items here for my husband, who is required to wear them at work.  We also buy his flannel shirts here—they stock a brand called “Big Bill” which fit his outlandishly long arms.

This is another place where one could spend an hour, learning more about the local culture than any book or museum could convey.  And like I said, it’s a great place for people-watching.

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