Some time I might write about the old Wanberg Popcorn Company building on the eastern edge of Middlebury. You can still see the silos at the bend in the road on County Road 16, headed east towards Shipshewana. There’s a new shop called Joyfully Said in there now, and a farmers’ market outside on Saturday mornings in the summer.
There also used to be a shop that sold a lot of bird feeders and bird food, but they’ve moved down the road a bit and are now in a newly built store called “The Country Barn” (above). It has become my favorite stop for bird-feeding supplies for our fancy backyard setup.
The owner is an Amish couple named Lavern and Sue Graber. In 2017 Lavern bought the stock of the bird feeding store that was in the old Wanberg popcorn building. Then in December 2018 he opened a newly-built store across the road and a bit to the east and named it “The Country Barn.”
Sue had always wanted to own a store that stocked unique and hard-to-find items. When her husband built the new store building, they decided to use the space to fulfill both their dreams. So—the left side of the shop has all the bird-feeding supplies you would ever need (and a lot more animal-related stuff). And the right side of the shop has all kinds of hard-to-find and useful gift items for the home.
I asked Lavern how he ended up in the bird business. He said his background is in farming, but he always loved nature. A few years back he helped and advised the original owner of the bird feed shop in the old Wanberg building—so when the owner decided to sell out, Lavern decided to take over the business. It wasn’t long before his plans outstripped his floor space in the Wanberg building, and so he moved down the road.
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