Three stores make up the vast emporium that is Sol's in Berlin. Each building is comprised of booths that crafter's from Ohio and across the United States rent booth space and sell their goods from. From antiques to modern day items and homemade goods and crafts, Sol's has something for everyone.
Junior and Suzie Stutzman started Sol's Exchange in 1993 with a mere 30 crafters selling their goods to the locals and tourists. Jamie Swartzentruber, daughter to Jr. and Suzie and current manager, grew up into the family business, helping around the shop.
As the store began to grow, so did the need for more space to showcase additional crafters. Sol's Palace was opened roughly one year after Sol's Exchange, followed by Kit-N-Kaboodle in 2003. Now unique items and crafts are showcased from over 300 crafters.
"Customers usually spend a couple of hours touring our store," said Swartzentruber. Sol's Exchange is the original building with its main attraction being a wide selection of snacks and food items. Dips, sauces, cheesecake mixes, dressings, BBQ rubs and salsas are sampled out daily and a large array of nuts, candies and fudge are available to choose from. Specialty teas and coffees and huge selection of local cookbooks are available to inspiring chef's.
After sampling all the fine Amish cuisine while visiting the heartland, tourists may return home with a longing for the delicious meals they enjoyed during their stay. Purchasing a cookbook "is a great way to take a piece of that home and try to duplicate what they had," said Swartzentruber.
Sol's Palace is the largest of the three buildings with around 20,000 square feet and holds around 250 booths. The main focus of this building is to show of talented crafters locally and across the U.S. Items such as homemade jewelry, candles, dolls and primitive décor and furniture can be found among three floors and many rows of booths.
Finally, Sol's Kit-N-Kaboodle can be accessed by a connecting hallway from the top floor of Sol's Palace. A full inspirational room can be found on the lower level with a full selection of P. Graham Dunn artwork and products as well as personalized, laser engraved products. The upper level of the Kit-N-Kaboodle features handmade children's toys, NASCAR and sports memorabilia.
Swartzentruber said their most popular item has been their cornhole boards. "We have the nicest corn hole boards around. People drive three to four hours just for them." All corn hole boards are made in-house and are customizable.
This February, Sol's will be holding their annual February Frolic sale Feb. 11-16. For the whole week, all items will be 10 percent off storewide. The store will also feature prize giveaways and free donuts on Saturday. "It's something exciting in the winter," said Swartzentruber.
Also during this week, a new event will be taking place in Berlin call "Berlin's Sweet on You." Various stores throughout the town, including Sol's, will have specials and deals to offer.
If you can't make it into their store or you have returned home from your visit to Amish country and wish that you would have purchased something you saw in the store, Sol's offers an online catalog. However, with the massive amount of crafters found at Sol's, you may not find everything Sol's has to offer. If you are not able to find what you are looking for, give Sol's a call or send them an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sol's is always looking for new and creative crafters to sell their work in their store. If you have an interest in selling your products, stop in or give Sol's a call and see how they can help your small business.
Sol's is located 4914 W. Main St. in downtown Berlin. Regular hours are Monday-Saturday from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Sol's offers extended hours in June-October, Monday-Saturday from 9 a.m.-7 p.m. For more information call 330-893-3100 or 330-893-3134 or visit their website at www.solsinberlin.com. Also check out their facebook page, www.facebook.com/SolsinBerlin, for event and special sale information.