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This Family Business Has Thrived for 64 Years by Selling Old-School Products Popular With Nostalgia Lovers–and the Amish

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Editor’s note: This tour of small businesses across the country highlights the imagination, diversity, and resilience of American enterprise.

Galen Lehman will take on anyone with his scythe. “I can cut grass fast or faster than a weed eater,” he says. Furthermore, after that grass is shorn, his electric-tool wielding opponent will be left with ears ringing and the stench of burnt oil clinging to his skin. Not Lehman. “I won’t smell like petrochemicals,” he says. “And my ears will have been filled with birdsong and the gentle swish, swish, swish of my scythe.”

Lehman’s, a family business in the small farming community of Kidron, Ohio, harks back to the days when a product’s bells and whistles were actual bells and whistles. In 1955, while the rest of the country swooned over newfangled inventions like wireless TV remotes and  microwave ovens, Jay Lehman started selling all things non-electrical to the local Amish population. Over the next six decades, others discovered the business, says Galen, who is Jay’s son and the CEO. (Jay’s daughter, Glenda Lehman Ervin, is vice president of marketing.) Today, gardeners, environmentalists, preppers, homesteaders, and the chronically nostalgic flock to this 120-employee business for their cook stoves and canning jars, candle-making supplies, and composting toilets.

Galen Lehman, CEO of Lehman’s.Angelo Merendino

What those populations share is the desire for a simpler life. Simple doesn’t mean easy, Galen explains: “It is not simpler to light an oil lamp than it is to flip on a light switch.” At Lehman’s, simpler means closer to nature. It means labor performed with your hands. It means understanding how products work just by looking at them. Often it means working alongside neighbors: easing one another’s loads.

Those values are cherished by the Amish, who still account for 20 percent of retail sales. The company also wholesales some products, like gas refrigerators, into Amish communities. In addition, about 250 of Lehman’s roughly 1,600 vendors are Amish. “Now we are buying more from Amish manufacturers than we are selling to the Amish,” says Jay Lehman, 90, who remained active in the business until a few months ago.

As more tourists and other outsiders (known as “English” in the Amish community) have descended on the store, most of Lehman’s Amish customers have retreated to the company’s second, smaller location in nearby Mount Hope. “The outsiders are sometimes a little invasive with their cameras and their questions and even just staring,” says Galen.

The Lehmans, who are Mennonite, embrace technology for their company: using high-tech to sell low-tech, as they like to say. E-commerce comprises half of sales, and the business is active on social media. But walk in the store on a given day and you might see a wood carver fashioning country scenes for display in the buggy barn or wander into a yoga class that incorporates goats.

Hank Rossiter, a retired nurse who lives nearby, has been buying sprinkling cans, kerosene lamps, axes, wood splitters, kitchen gear, and many other goods at Lehman’s for decades. Trying to give up plastics, he and his wife Marilyn recently went there to pick up some stainless steel drinking straws, and the tiny brushes to clean them. “I may think, how can I simplify this? How can I reduce my carbon footprint?” Rossiter says. “I’m pretty sure Lehman’s will have the answer.”

What would the Amish do?

Jay Lehman was born and raised in Kidron, a farm kid who plowed and planted, then worked as a mechanic in the local garage. In 1955, the owner of the local hardware store was retiring, and he got loans to take it over. For the first few years he had to pay rent on the building, so he drove a school bus while his father looked after the store.

Jay Lehman, founder of Lehman’s.Angelo Merendino

The previous owner had carried a large stock of goods for the Amish, and Jay decided to stick with that strategy. In the evenings, he roamed around the countryside in a pickup truck delivering purchases too large to fit in his customers’ buggies. “I would do it until the houses had no more lights in them,” says Jay. “Then I knew it was time to go home.”

The business grew slowly. Then, in 1961, Jay moved to Africa, where he arranged travel for missionaries. A period in New York doing similar work followed. His brother, David, ran the store until Jay’s return in the mid-’70s. The oil crisis was in full swing, “and everyone was panicking,” says Jay. “They said, what do we do? Well, what do the Amish do? They get along without these things. If the Amish can do this, we can do it too.” Sales soared.

Then a magazine called Organic Gardening published a laudatory article about the Victoria Strainer, a product sold by Lehman’s for separating out seeds from applesauce and tomatoes. Orders poured in from around the country; and the new customers wanted to know what else Lehman’s sold. The company mailed out product brochures and a catalog that by century’s end would reach more than a million customers and eventually earn Lehman’s a place in the Smithsonian’s National Postal Museum.

During the 1980s and ’90s, nostalgia largely drove new sales “People in their 60s and 70s wanted to do things the way they remembered when they were younger,” Galen says. Eventually, the rosy glow of a cherished past gave way to the dark clouds of an uncertain future. Lehman’s next big surge occurred in the late 1990s. Y2K fears stoked the Prepper movement, and even non-survivalists stocked up on lanterns, water filters, and kerosene cookers. Subsequent end-time panics–the end of the Mayan calendar, the blood moon prophecies–sparked mini-booms.

Angelo Merendino

But recently the Preppers have grown less important to Lehman’s. Galen is OK with that. “We don’t think being prepared means hunkering down and arming yourself against the zombie apocalypse or whatever is out to get you,” he says. “Being prepared is being ready with supplies that can help you and your neighbors and your family.”

Looking for the last big thing

For a business that regards “new and improved” as an oxymoron, sourcing can be a challenge. The non-electric market has been shrinking since the store’s earliest days, causing manufacturers to shut down or switch product lines. As a result, the Lehmans have sometimes scrambled for new suppliers, sourcing kerosene cook stoves from South America and gas refrigerators from Sweden, for example. The large majority of products, however, remain American-made.

The company has occasionally acquired expiring product lines, like apple peelers from the once-mighty Reading Hardware Company. In 2015, Lehman’s took over the struggling 108-year-old Aladdin Lamp Company, whose kerosene models incorporate a mantel over the wick to produce an unusually bright, hot light.

Occasionally, Galen designs products himself. Working in Lehman’s R&D facility–a corner of the store with some plywood benches and hammers–he recreated the Daisy butter churn, which had been out of production since midcentury. “It’s a pretty good replication of the original with some improvements,” he says. “It churns faster because of changes I made to the paddle.” He has also produced a hand-cranked grain mill out of cast aluminum rather than cast iron, which allowed him to cut the price in half.

Angelo Merendino

The store’s Amish-made products are extensive, ranging from rocking chairs and cherry baskets to whisk brooms and croquet sets. Amish manufacturers suit Lehman’s because they operate on a small scale and so don’t require huge minimum orders. The flip side is they typically can’t or won’t ramp up volume when demand for something unexpectedly surges. “A lot of times they will say, ‘I can’t make your product because it is time to make hay or I need to plant the fields,'” Galen says.

Wherever they’re sourced, many products arrive without instruction manuals or other documentation. As a staff resource, the company maintains a library of old books on subjects like canning and butchering. Galen has bolstered that knowledge by interviewing people in their 60s, 70s, and 80s about the finer points of operating old-style tools and devices. Working with an employee he created training programs for the company’s main product lines. Employees certified in the operation of oil lamps, water pumps, and other devices receive a bump in pay.

While the company’s nostalgia-driven demand is, by law of nature, declining, Lehman’s is enjoying both more and new business from other sources. The Amish population is growing both in the United States and around the world. And those notoriously screen-addicted Millennials have been surprisingly receptive to the company’s message of living simply and well.

“You talk to people who work in technology,” Galen says. “They go home, and more than anything else, they want to get some dirt under their fingernails.”

Leigh BuchananEditor-at-large, Inc. magazine

21.7M subscribers
Peter instills in us that doing things a different way can be the right way. Your own way. He walks the line of family business and business being his family flipping traditional business models upside down. While some would caution never to mix the two, he has by putting “place first” creating an environment that is welcoming to all those who are lucky enough to find this hidden gem of a restaurant – 2017 Restaurant of the year in Portland, OR – HAN OAK. With special thanks to core the TEDxPortland organizing team, 70+ volunteers and cherished partners – without you this experience would not be possible. Our event history can be found TEDxPortland.com In the spirit of ideas worth spreading, TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. At a TEDx event, TEDTalks video and live speakers combine to spark deep discussion and connection in a small group. These local, self-organized events are branded TEDx, where x = independently organized TED event. The TED Conference provides general guidance for the TEDx program, but individual TEDx events are self-organized. Peter’s restaurant, the Korean-inspired Han Oak, was Portland Monthly’s 2017 restaurant of the year. Inside its walls unfurls a world rooted in both tradition and fresh interpretations on authentic cuisines. Peter cut his teeth in New York for 13 years in the kitchen of Michelin star chef April Bloomfield before his desire to be closer to his family called him to the Rose City. In 2017, he was recognized by Food & Wine as best new chef and is currently nominated for a James Beard Award for Best Chef Northwest. This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community. Learn more at https://www.ted.com/tedx

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The Top Ride On Trains On The Market – Family Hype

The train has been a staple child’s toy for many years. When you think of a toy train, you tend to think about a small train set where the train goes about its journey, be it hand or battery powered. These trains are very small, usually too small for even your pet to catch a ride on.

Source: flickr.com

However, another type of train that kids, especially toddlers and younger children love is the ride-on train. With these, your little boy or girl can be the conductor as they take themselves on a one way ticket to fun. There are plenty of ride-on trains in the market. Which ones are the best? Let’s find out.

What To Look For In A Ride On Train

Tracks Or No Tracks?

There are some ride on trains that have their own tracks. These tracks can be built and your child can ride on them. Some trains don’t have tracks, and are just train-shaped carts they can ride on. Who needs tracks? Some kids will like the creativity that comes with building and riding on tracks, while others may like a train where they can ride everywhere that has a solid surface.  Some trains have the option for both. This may be good for a growing child. At first, a set track would be the safest, and as they grow, they can drive around outside the tracks.

Battery or No Battery?

Some trains are battery operated. They move on their own, with gear and braking systems. Then there are those that are powered by pushing or feet. Obviously, the battery powered means that it will be more expensive and can break down more, but it can be more fun. Of course, your budget matters at the end of the day.

Source: maxpixel.net

Design

Does your kid want a train shaped like their favorite character, like Thomas the Tank Engine, or do they want a more realistic train? This can determine which train you buy. Some trains are cheaper and made from plastic, while others will have a steel look that you will love too.

Now, let’s look at some trains.

National 6V Talking

This is a train that can do a lot. It has a 19-foot track and can go up to a mile an hour. It’s not exactly a train that can take you across the country, but for a young child with an imagination, it might as well be. It makes noises too, just like a real train. Your child can shift it forwards or reverse, it has a braking system that activates automatically, and it’s an all-around decent buy. With that said, it does have some durability issues, so if your kid is a roughhouser, you may want to look elsewhere.

Step2 Up & Down Coaster

Step2 is always a good name when it comes to toys for tots. This coaster has the face of Thomas the Tank Engine. Thomas is a character who is beloved by generations of children. Odds are, you may have liked him when you were a kid.

It has a little ramp your kid can use, but it’s not as complex as the other ones. It’s great for young children, as its nonslip steps, handrails, and other safety features ensure a safe and fun ride, but it lacks features that older kids may want.

Source: flickr.com (Rizu14)

Kiddieland Minnie

Minnie Mouse is a great character for your little girl (or boy.) This is a plastic train that has its own track. It has music and sounds you may recognize and its caboose can fit the rest of the toy, making it great for travel. With that said, the toy is very slow, so it’s another one that’s great for little toddlers, but bigger kids may want more.

Morgan Cycle Santa Fe

This is a great steel train that is built for durability. It has a padded seat that’s comfortable, safe, and can be detached to clean. That’s always a plus, isn’t it? It’s non-electric, colorful, and quite fun to steer. It’s great if you want a toddler-powered train that can last, though some kids may want an electric one.

Source: flickr.com (Jason Mrachina)

Rollplay Steam

This is a quite advanced ride-on train. It makes real steam, allowing your kid to think they are really riding on a train. It’s battery powered and rechargeable and a full battery can have two hours of adventuring. Overall, it’s a great train with many uses, and we recommend trying it out. Oh yeah, and it has working headlights, so you may see your kid on it when you think they’re sleeping! All aboard.

Power Wheels Thomas & Friends

Again, who doesn’t love Thomas? This toy will make your child think they are really riding everyone’s favorite blue train. This toy can move forward, steer around, and stop. It comes with a track, and it can go outside its track as well, which is always a plus. It makes real sounds from the show as well, which is always a plus. You can easily assemble it too.

Source: airforcemedicine.af.mil

VTech Sit-to-Stand

This battery powered train not only is fun to ride on, but it can teach your kid about the ABCs. Oh yeah, and it has a piano your kid can play with as well. It has its own learning center to teach your toddler about all the basics. For a toddler, learning has never been more fun, and we know your little one is going to love what he sees. If you want to get your child to learn their alphabet, shapes, numbers, and more, then you should take them aboard the learning train.

Source: flickr.com (Penguino20)

Peg Perego Santa Fe

This is another cool train that can go on a track or off the track, too. The track itself is 12 pieces, and the train has a classic design that is aesthetically pleasing. It makes sounds that resemble a real train and no steering required. Your kid is going to love every bit of it.

 

DISCLAIMER (IMPORTANT): This information (including all text, images, audio, or other formats on FamilyHype.com) is not intended to be a substitute for informed professional advice, diagnosis, endorsement or treatment. You should not take any action or avoid taking action without consulting a qualified professional.   Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions about medical conditions. Do not disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking advice or treatment because of something you have read here a FamilyHype.com.

Source: The Top Ride On Trains On The Market – Family Hype

20-year-old college student says Uber driver left her on side of the road when he found out she was getting an abortion

A 20-year-old college student’s Reddit post about “the worst, most backwards day” of her life is gaining traction online after she recounted how she was dropped on the side of the road by an Uber driver who disagreed with her decision to get an abortion.

Claire Montgomery, a pseudonym, was faced with a difficult decision after finding out that she was pregnant in March. The college sophomore at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, tells Yahoo Lifestyle that she was talking to her boyfriend, who attends school in North Carolina, about how her period had been about a week late. And although she had put aside the anxiety of possibly being pregnant because she had previously taken Plan B, an emergency contraception pill, she took a pregnancy test and realized that what she feared had come true.

“The minute I saw that the test was positive I called my boyfriend, hysterical, and told him the news,” Montgomery says. “I cried for the rest of the weekend and stayed in bed. I didn’t go outside unless I absolutely had to. I shut down.”

The student explains that she felt that she couldn’t confide in anybody at school about the pregnancy or her decision to get an abortion because it wasn’t “an appropriate or proportional response to innocent small talk” taking place on campus or in class. Montgomery also felt uncomfortable about unnecessarily burdening other people with her “personal problems.”

Montgomery faced more discomfort, however, when she turned to Uber for a ride to a doctor’s appointment on March 21, where she was going for a non-surgical medical abortion by herself.

“The minute I got into the car, there was inexplicable tension. My driver didn’t greet me or confirm my name or the destination; he was just silent. After a few minutes, he asked if we were going to a Planned Parenthood,” she says. “I was confused about why he would ask me this, considering there was nothing in the address I put in that would suggest it was a Planned Parenthood or even near one. I said, ‘No, I’m just going to a doctor’s appointment.’ A few more minutes of uncomfortable silence passed. Then he asked, ‘Are… are we going to an abortion clinic?’ I was dumbfounded.”

Montgomery admits that tears immediately came to her eyes, and she felt like her heart had stopped beating.

“All the embarrassment and shame I had been feeling the last week or so rose to the surface,” she says. “I looked at him pleadingly, silently begging him to stop.”

The driver, identified only by Montgomery as Scott, continued to press her for information before describing the procedure to her in detail.

“I know it’s none of my business, but you’re going to regret this for the rest of your life,” he allegedly told her. “There’s so much they don’t tell you. You’re making a mistake.”

Montgomery checked the map on her phone in the moments that she had service, as they were driving through a rural area just outside of Ithaca. The ride would still be another 35 minutes when the driver suddenly pulled over near a small gas station and antiques shop on Route 38 and told Montgomery that he couldn’t take her any farther.

The young woman says that despite the sudden end to her ride, she thanked him as she got out of the car on the side of a road in Upstate New York.

“I was scared and I felt more alone than I had ever felt,” she says.

But she was still set on finding a way to her appointment.

“I took refuge on the porch of the antiques shop and called my parents, each three times. No answer. I called my boyfriend, who I had been texting throughout this whole ordeal, and he picked up on the first ring. Through my heaves and sobs I managed to tell him the situation,” she recalls. “As I called the three cab companies closest to me, my Uber driver waited 10 feet away, probably expecting me to go back to Ithaca with him. After about 15 minutes, he asked me once more if I wanted him to drive me back. Firmly, I said no thank you. He drove away, and about 15 minutes later a cab came.”

Montgomery paid $120 for a cab that took her the remaining half-hour of the drive. When she got to the clinic an hour after her appointment time, she felt “incredible relief” to be in the company of doctors who treated her with dignity and respect. She admits that her ride home was also uncomfortable, but she didn’t feel unsafe as she had during the Uber ride prior.

“I debated sticking up for myself, justifying my choice to get an abortion with my young age or my inability to provide for this child financially had I brought it to term, but I knew I shouldn’t have to justify my choices to anyone, least of all my Uber driver,” she says. “Was responding to this man’s harassment potentially worth my life? Would my responding actually change anything, or deescalate the situation? Maybe, but to me, it wasn’t worth the risk.”

For a split second, Montgomery says she even considered exiting the vehicle while it was in motion, thinking that even a life-threatening injury was preferable to being in the car.

But Montgomery opted to not take action in that moment, which she notes “is a decision I’ll always regret.” Once she was home though, she reported Scott to Uber and filed a police report with the Ithaca Police Department.

“The officer I met with who filed the report was very sympathetic, but he insisted that nothing criminal had actually occurred,” she explains. “Uber comped my ride, and after telling them I filed a police report against the driver, a representative immediately got in touch with me and apologized for my experience on Uber’s behalf. He said they would launch an investigation, during which Scott’s account would be suspended, so he’d be unable to pick up riders. Within a few days, the representative said Scott was permanently banned from the app.”

Uber confirmed to Yahoo Lifestyle that the driver was removed from the service as his actions violated the company’s community guidelines. Montgomery says it was a small price for Scott to pay.

“Sometimes I think of Scott going home to his family and feeling like a hero for what he did. A job driving for Uber is a small price to pay for a misguided attempt at saving a life, right? I imagine his colleagues at his main job (if he has one) patting him on the back, congratulating him for his courageous decision to leave a 20-year-old pregnant girl on the side of the road, alone, in March, with no way back home except with him, in the back of the car he just expelled her from,” she says. “He’ll never understand the ramifications of his actions. He’ll never know the pain he caused. He’ll never pay for what he did in the way that I’ve paid for it, emotionally and psychologically.”

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To help with the emotional pain, Montgomery turned to Reddit, where she shared her story and received more than 3,500 responses — most of which she says were positive. Now, nearly a month after that fateful day, she said that Reddit played a part in her healing.

“Writing about it felt akin to writing in a diary; I was rushing to get it all on the page, and writing it down helped me to process it,” Montgomery says. “Reddit was an unbelievable comfort and resource, and I’m not sure what I would have done without it.”

Montgomery has since taken to the legal advice subreddit, where she’s looking for guidance on how to pursue further legal action.

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Source: 20-year-old college student says Uber driver left her on side of the road when he found out she was getting an abortion

Empathy should be at the top of your family values list  | Online Marketing Tools

Q: How can dads teach compassion and empathy for others? I think it’s the most important lesson to be learned, and the earlier, the better.

Oh, hey! Big question! But I’ll tell you what I know.

I agree that empathy and compassion are incredibly important lessons for us to teach. Sometimes the difference between a person with high character and someone without is their ability to think about others as much as we think about ourselves.

The greatest lesson, taught by most major religions in the history of this world, is the Golden Rule: Do unto others as you would have done unto yourself. That’s for a good reason. It’s as difficult to teach it as it is important that you do so.

Read more…

Source: Empathy should be at the top of your family values list  | Online Marketing Tools

 

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Couples Time – Instagram post by Armin Hamidian • Jan 25, 2018 at 12:39pm UTC | Online Marketing Tools

6 Likes, 1 Comments – Armin Hamidian (@onlinemarketingscoops) on Instagram: “@americanstyle …Couples Time…#couplegoals #coupleshot #coupleshirts #couplestuff…”

Source: Instagram post by Armin Hamidian • Jan 25, 2018 at 12:39pm UTC | Online Marketing Tools

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