I popped into the new store located where the tourist-favorite Cinnamon Stick used to be—on the main street in Middlebury, also known as State Road 13, which runs from the tollway to the north, through downtown Middlebury, and on south to State Road 20 and beyond. Middlebury General Store is the latest retail business to open in my new home town to cater to the needs of the ever-growing Amish population in and around Middlebury. It’s similar to Shipshewana’s Country Road Fabrics, which is just north of E&S Foods (and owned by the same family, the Chupps). Country Road is much bigger, but carries the same kind of items… They’re both essentially an Amish department store, having most of the items needed from day to day in an Amish household.
Fabric is always a mainstay of any store that caters to the Amish, and this one is no different. This photo also shows some of the architectural features of this old, historic building, including the original creaky wood floors.
Lots of ready-made clothes are also to be had here. Notice the darkness of the outwear in the first picture below, compared to the brightness of the men's shirts and the little dresses! As always with the Old Order Amish, printed fabrics are not used for clothing.
Hats are always needed, both straw for everyday and black felt for Sundays. The Sunday hats are handled carefully and taken care of, since a new one like this costs about $125. (They look gray in the photo, but that was just the light; they're actually black.)
Pants are usually made at home, but suspenders are not. A common type are worn by the men in this Amish settlement; suspenders differ from place to place.
For the women, "koppa" (prayer caps or coverings) are worn in public--usually white, but on occasion, black. The second photo below shows the bonnets which are worn over the caps, which are made to fit over the koppa perfectly. Sometimes in more informal settings, a woven scarf is worn instead of the bonnet. And at home, doing chores, a white kerchief is worn over the hair, instead of the koppa.
What do you notice about the display of shoes below? In the Amish community, for baptized church members anyway, "You can have any color you want, as long as it's black." Middlebury General Store has a large shoe room in the back. They sell a lot of clocks here, too. And notice the wonderful old brick interior walls that used to separate the storefronts!
There are lots and lots of other things to be had here... A wonderful display of birdwatching books (the Amish love birds), baby things and dolls (the Amish love their kids); a selection of songbooks and other books (the Amish love to sing); and lots of sewing notions for the necessary sewing that falls to an Amish wife.
I could go on and on, but why not drop in and see for yourself? Middlebury General Store is owned by Myron Yoder and is located at 102 W. Main Street in Middlebury, Indiana. Phone is 574-849-6955.
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