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

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Shaklee Chris

I took this photo on the road in front of a certain Amishman’s farmhouse.  That Amishman could only be “Shaklee Chris.”  I have written about him before, when he and my husband went to a car show.  Here’s the story of how he got his name.

Chris was born in an Amish community in Kansas, but has lived his adult life in Lagrange County, Indiana, where he had eight children, all of whom remained Amish.  One of his sons runs the farm now, and Shaklee Chris lives in the “Dawdi Haus” across the driveway.  (When one of the children takes over the farm, his parents usually move into a smaller home on the same property.)

Anyway, Chris is in his mid-eighties now, but for quite a few years he has been a dealer in Shaklee products (health and cleaning products, sold by home distributors like Tupperware or Mary Kay Cosmetics).  He has a small retail-like shop set up in a back room, and once a week for many years, he has had a driver take him on his rounds, picking up Shaklee products and then delivering it all over the countryside.

Chris is a very, very good Shaklee dealer.  Quite a few years back, he received a letter asking him to attend the annual Shaklee convention in California.  He didn’t take the letter seriously, he told me; besides, California is a long way from Indiana by train.  (The Amish don’t fly.)  But after a few more letters, he asked his Shaklee supervisor, who assured him that his sales were so high, that he qualified to attend. 

Once there, he discovered that his sales were high enough to qualify for a car!  (A program no longer in existence, for the top Shaklee distributors in each region.)  Obviously he had no use for a car… so Shaklee made him a special deal.  They told him to select and purchase a brand-new buggy and a buggy horse, and send them the bill.

Over the years Shaklee Chris won eight (8) horses and buggies.  Each time he purchased them and then passed them on to one of his grandsons who was coming of age.  I can only imagine the publicity that Shaklee got from this!  But Chris tells the story with amusement and pride.  This is one special Amishman—and he still sells Shaklee.

Postscript - Shaklee Chris passed away on April 5, 2017.

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