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Over the Post Blog

Over the Post Blog

September 2018

Dutch Country General Store

Hard Work and Persistence Really Does Pay

Dutch Country Living Lands Spot on Inc. Magazine’s List of Fastest-Growing Private Companies – the Inc. 5000

By Levi Good, Proprietor, Dutch Country

A couple months back I got an email that was humbling and also exciting.  It was from the editor of INC Magazine, letting us know that we had been selected to be on their 2018 list of the 5,000 fastest growing companies in the United States. There is only 1 other retail company in Iowa on the list.  I was blown away! So many great companies have been on the list in the past including Microsoft, Dell, Domino’s Pizza, Timberland, Yelp, to name a few.

Dutch Country Living Logo
Inc. Magazine’s - Inc. 5000 Logo

Many people don’t know that Dutch Country Living is the parent company that runs Dutch Country General Store, Amish Made Poly & Poly Furniture USA, and is headquartered right here in rural Davis County, Iowa. My wife, Erica, and I run the company with the help of our amazing team including managers Brenda and Jack.

In 2012, when I was all of 21(and a little crazy… ok I still am) I took over the reins at Dutch Country General Store, which was in some rough territory at the time. Since then, we’ve been able to grow the retail location about 250% or so.  It’s a huge blessing to be able to do what we do. Trust me when I say I never thought, growing up on my dad’s dairy farm in Virginia, that I’d end up an entrepreneur. We focus on delivering a great experience through all our brands, both in the store and online, and delivering authentic Mennonite and Amish made products throughout. That’s what makes us special, I think.

Our store, just outside of Bloomfield, Iowa, is a popular tourist stop. On any given day about 75% of the cars in our parking lot are from out of town, and many out of state.  People seem to love our Amish wood furniture, bulk foods, candy, candles, heirloom quilts, fabrics, wooden toys, jar goods, and more. They come back over and over and they shop online at the website from wherever they live.  We ship orders all over the country every week!

In 2016 we started Amish Made Poly, a poly furniture company.  Right away we experienced huge growth and it continues to double in size every year.  Still, we try so hard to remain true to authentic Amish roots. Our poly furniture (adirondack chairs, rockers, gliders, swings, etc) is not made in a big factory somewhere; it’s made in small shops on Amish farms using the same traditions of quality building that they’ve been using for hundreds of years. Sure, the material is now recycled poly, rather than wood, but the tradition of fine craftsmanship remains the same.

All in all we are so thankful to our customers, to YOU, for all your support and love of our products.  We try our very hardest everyday to deliver great service and quality items we can stand behind. Without you we could have never made the Inc.5000 list for 2018, so THANK YOU!

Levi

July 2018

Mom Levi Elizabeth

Summer 2018

Good day to you and yours,

Sunday afternoon took me to the couch looking through my old photo album when I was a pipsqueak. Ah yes, the joys of Summer as a child… As you can see in the photo, even at a young age I was an accomplished cherry pitter. My oldest sister, Heidi, was sorting them, I was pitting them, and I think Mom was acting as the inspector/supervisor. My other sister, Elizabeth, is probably hiding behind the couch in the living room reading a book. 😉 (But don’t worry, I’m sure I found and made her wash all the dishes.)

After pitting the cherries we would lay them on cookie sheets and freeze them so they wouldn’t all stick together in one big clump. After they are frozen we would then put them in pint or quart bags. We could then enjoy them all summer long in smoothies, with mixed fruit, or in cherry cobbler.

We had two cherry trees behind the calf barn, and it was always my job to protect them from the blackbirds, which I always thought was counterproductive because for each cherry the birds ate, that was one less that we had to work up…

Photo taken June 2006. I was 15, Elizabeth on the right was 16, and Heidi on the left was 17.

I also ran across this photo which was taken a few years later in the summer kitchen. We were still doing cherries and, yes, it looks like we found Elizabeth (the one with the towel on her head) and made her help this time. 🙂 It also looks like mom must have fully trained us and no longer needed to supervise the work. You’ll note we were still using the same cherry pitter all those years.

Now comes the great responsibility of teaching my own children the value of hard work, along with the concept that by working now, one can then enjoy the fruits of one’s labor later. There really is nothing like eating food that you prepared and put up yourself, especially when you get to work as a family.

I also swindled my mother out of her amazing cherry cobbler recipe 🙂 (Yes, that is her actual recipe card; some people still use those…)

Cherry Cobbler RecipeI hope you have an amazing summer, filled with the joys which God’s creation affords. Don’t eat too much cherry cobbler and be sure to share some with your neighbors.

Hope to see you real soon!

Levi Good

March 2018

Easter

Hello folks,
Well winter is almost over, and boy am i glad. The ice on the ponds is melting and the ice houses are about full and will hopefully last till the ponds freeze over again next winter, so now we can get back to building chairs and taking care of our customers in the store. Before we know it it will be Easter and the flowers and lilies will be coming on. One of my favorite memories of Easter is when i was growing up in Virginia we would all drive across the mountain into West Virginia to go to Uncle Jimmy’s Place for Sunday lunch. After we were all fat and full, in the afternoon, we would all go outside for an Easter egg hunt. Uncle Jimmy would always hide the eggs and some of them would have candy in them and some would have $1 bills and some $5 bills. Now that’s great but what no one realized was that he always hid them in the same place, and there was always one hid on the far side of the property in an old fence post hole. This one was extra special – it had a $10 bill in it. Jackpot!!! Every time !!!
Now that I am a little bit older and don’t get too many thrills out of hunting Easter eggs, one of my favorite things about Easter is Communion and foot washing on Good Friday. I know a lot of you have probably never even heard about foot washing but it is still a common practice in our circles, and one of my favorite ceremonies. It’s a time where we are reminded that no matter what our walk in life – no matter what our position in family or church or business – we are to be like Christ and serve Him by serving others. It’s a real special thing that means a lot and has a great message. No matter what you are doing this Easter, take some time to remember what it’s all about.

Levi Good, Proprietor
Dutch Country General Store

October 2017

5th Anniversary & Fall Festival

The weather is startin’ to change which can only mean one thing — fall is upon us! And that also means we are celebrating our 5 year anniversary of owning Dutch Country General Store. My wife, Erica, and I bought this place believing that we could help our family (and yours!) by providing great products and that old-fashioned kind of service we don’t see much anymore. It’s been a long journey — and we still have a ways to go — but we always enjoy seeing you all at the store, talking to you on the telephone, or even emailing through our website. (The website part isn’t that old fashioned…we know.)

To celebrate the arrival of fall and our 5th anniversary we are offering 25% off everything in our online store for the entire month of October! (Except our Amish Made Poly Furniture — you’ll have to call me and try to talk me into that!) But, hey, they say it’s never too early to start your Christmas shopping so get a start on it now! The kids will love finding some Melissa & Doug toys under the tree this December. It’s all 25% off when you use the code ‘5YRS‘ at checkout. Of course, we’ve also got our best selling Amish jar goods, bulk items, old-fashioned candy, and more so take a look. We appreciate your support and we look forward to serving you for another 5 years and beyond. Many blessings to you!

August 2017

Over the Post #2

Howdy!

This summer must have wings because it’s just flyin’ right by! Here we are in August and we’ve sold a ton of peaches, sweet corn, and poly furniture and we’ve given away a lot of watermelons in the store. Nothing says summer like that combo, right? I also got a wild hair one day and picked up an order of kayaks. Now, I’m no mermaid (or merman, would it be?), but I’m definitely sure that you can picture me floating on the open water in a bright blue kayak. It’s gotta be something I try sometime. Maybe by Labor Day I’ll do that…

Now speaking of Labor Day, it’s coming right up, and I do plan to relax a little with my family. Hopefully you get time to do that, too. Time goes by way too fast, and you’ve got to enjoy yourself a little. I see my little girls growing up and I don’t want to miss a moment of that. I’ll sit down with my sweet tea on my favorite poly chair – made by our Amish craftsmen right here in southern Iowa – and tell them some tales of days gone by. I’ve got a lot of stories, including how I used to sneak into the fair every summer… but I better keep my mouth shut on that before my mother sees this!

See y’all soon at the store or online!  

June 2017

Post 1

Howdy!

Man, what a week. Yep, ever since the weather started warming up we have been busy trying to keep up with our outdoor furniture website (amishmadepoly.com). We sell Amish made poly Adirondack chairs all over the country! I thought I had finally figured out a way to speed up our production by buying my guys some cordless DeWalt tools and an inverter for them to charge their batteries and man it was slick! Well, until they got caught anyway. Turns out the Amish Bishop didn’t appreciate my English engine (or however you spell it). He prefers the Yankee screwdriver over DeWalt, now that’s kind of hard for me to take coming from Virginia and all, but don’t worry we’ll get it figured out. You just sit there and drink your glass of sweet tea and I’ll keep selling chairs. Sweet tea really is the best but of course I’m a teatotaler so I might be a little biased! Peach Tea is a close second right up there with a Coke.

Speaking of peaches, I heard the peaches are going to be scarce this year: both of the Carolinas got froze out (I almost said ‘plum’ froze out I don’t want to confuse you). About one half of Georgia got froze out, too, but we will still be getting some in. They are saying that the quality is just as good as always but they will be smaller and a lot fewer. We will be only able to get them for 5 weeks and come the middle of July we will be plumb out of Georgia peaches 🙂 That being said, we’ve decided to make June Dutch Country Peach Month! Now I know what you are saying “Levi, August is National Peach Month!”. Well, smarty pants, yes it is but with the frost and all we’re going to go ahead and celebrate early while we have peaches in the store. Now, since I can’t ship these all the way to timbuktu I’m going to do something special on the website. All our peach related items are 50% off! We’ve got Peach Gummi Rings, Peach Jam, Rhubarb Peach Jam, Peach Salsa, Vanilla Peach Halves, No Sugar Peach Jam, and 2 jar sizes of Peach Halves (16oz and 32oz). Hopefully things will be peachy for you and yeah, if you’re looking for a set of DeWalt tools I may have a set for sale…still working on that.