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Explore Wayne County

By Catie Noyes • Editor Published: March 3, 2014 12:00 AM
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Wayne County is home to some of the most iconic brand names that have become household names all over the country. The businesses behind these brand names have their roots in the northernmost point of Ohio's Amish country. Plan your own Wayne County tour and put these stops on your list of must sees during your next trip to Amish Country.

Smucker's

Jerome Monroe Smucker began the legacy that is the J.M. Smucker company by selling some of his homemade apple butter from the back of a horse-drawn wagon. His own seal and personal guarantee of quality was placed onto every crock he sold. It didn't take long for Smucker's brand products to become a household name throughout the nation and the J.M. Smucker Company became associated with wholesome, high-quality fruit products.

You can learn all about the rich history behind the Smucker's brand and more when you tour the museum located in the J.M. Smucker Company Store and Café. The hallway of history offers insight into the humble beginnings of the J.M. Smucker Company as well as the process of getting the fruit from the farm to the store.

The store was built in 1999, renovated in 2007 and looks like a quaint little barn that complements the countryside just south of Orrville. A beautiful windmill and giant archway welcome you to the Smucker's store. Painted across the entryway to the building, their slogan - "With a name like Smucker's it has to be good" - tells customers that Smucker's offers a product that is wholesome and good for the whole family.

Upon entering the building your eye is immediately drawn to the back wall where a display of colorful, lighted jam jars are displayed beneath a "Strawberry Chandelier," made completely from jelly jars. Colorful signs and bright attractive displays showcase all the products the J.M. Smucker Company has to offer.

The Store and Café showcases a wide variety of the J.M. Smucker Company's most popular brands from jams and jellies to fruit spreads and peanut butter. The Store and Café also showcases the company's family of brands - Jif peanut butter, Folgers coffee, Pillsbury baking goods, Crisco and much more.

Stopping in around lunch time? The Smucker's Café offers soups, sandwiches and pizzas made in a wood-fired oven. The Sundae Shop allows you to build your own sundae and choose from a variety of Smucker's brand toppings. Enjoy your lunch and/or dessert in the patio-style dining area that is perfect no matter what the weather is outdoors.

Who doesn't love a free sample? At Smucker's sampling station you can try out some of the newest and most popular products Smucker's has to offer. They're willing to open up a jar of just about anything for their customers to sample.

Share a little bit of Smucker's goodness with a friend, family member or even co-worker. Put together a custom made basket of goodies that you can personally pick out yourself or let the staff help you tailor the perfect basket.

Smucker's sees people from all over the nation on a daily basis and being on the edge of Amish Country, travelers are always passing through the doors. The Store and Café offers shipping of products for their long distance travelers and to make it more convenient for those wishing to send their gift baskets out to friends and family.

The J.M. Smucker Company Store and Café is located 333 Wadsworth Road (SR 57), Orrville - a quarter mile north of U.S. 30. Hours of operation are Monday-Saturday from 9 a.m.-6 p.m. and closed Sunday. For more information call 330-684-1500 or visit www.smuckers.com.

Lehman's

A portal to the past, Lehman's sells products that help you get back to simplicity. You could spend hours wandering the many rooms of Lehman's and learning a little about the past and even the present culture that surrounds Kidron.

Lehman's was founded by Jay Lehman in 1955 to better serve the Amish - who believe in simple living without electricity or other modern conveniences. He feared that one day, the modern world would take over and the Amish would not be able to maintain their simple ways of living. His goal was to preserve these authentic, old fashioned products and continue to produce them for those seeking a simpler way of life.

Today, Lehman's continues to carry authentic, hand-powered kitchen appliances, oil lamps, gas refrigerators, wood burning stoves and a variety of other unique items. Each room within the giant store has a purpose whether it's gardening, lighting, hardware, house-wares and even a toy land for the children.

Lehman's products are not only enjoyed by the surrounding Amish community but, by those looking to live a simpler life; by those looking to cut back on their costs of living; by those who want to become more environmentally conscious; and even by those who just want to reminisce about days gone by.

"We still have everything you need to live without electricity - heat, food, light and water," said Glenda Lehman Ervin, Vice President of Marketing at Lehman's.

The heat can be found in a room filled with hundreds of wood-fired and gas-powered stoves. History looks down from above with displays of old-fashioned pot bellied stoves lining the walls and even scattered about the floor.

Stop by the Cast Iron Café for a quick break and a snack. The Soda Pop Shoppe offers over 220 varieties of glass-bottled soda in some of the most unusual flavors such as: PB&J, cucumber, bacon and more common flavors like colas and root beers.

One of Lehman's most popular areas is their home goods section. Here you can find mixing bowls in every shape, size and style; whisks, wooden spoons and over 600 different cookie cutters. Find some of the finest locally made pottery pieces and even some unique up-cycled creations.

The oldest section of the store is dedicated to lighting your home. All shapes and styles of oil lamps are available along with a selection of fragrant candles. Find old-fashioned hardware and hand-powered tools for around the home and garden.

The kids will love exploring the toy barn. You won't find USB ports or tablet styled games in here. Instead you will find puzzles and card games; wooden games for both indoors and out; games that will bring the family together and encourage activity.

"Technology is great, but Lehman's is a place to unplug for a while," said Ervin.

There is history around every corner. The main lobby area is full of items from the past with old pumps and pulleys hanging from the ceiling and a rack filled with miscellaneous items like machinery parts and household items that may take you on a trip down memory lane. Challenge yourself to guess what each item is.

A walk through Lehman's is like walk through past. Come spend some time in a store where time seems to stand still and imagine what life would be like if you lived a little more simply.

Lehman's is located at 4779 Kidron Rd. in Kidron. Hours are Monday-Thursday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. and Friday-Saturday, 9 a.m.-6 p.m. from January-May 26. Monday-Saturday, 9 a.m.-6 p.m. from May 27-December. For more information call 888-438-5346 or visit www.lehmans.com.

P. Graham Dunn

The story of P. Graham Dunn begins with Peter Dunn and his wife LeAnna. In 1972, as newlyweds, the couple began a mission for runaway girls in New York. To keep the girls off the streets and out of trouble, Peter and LeAnna put them to work on small woodworking projects carving plaques and gifts, and selling them at local outdoor markets.

Once the mission was complete, Peter and LeAnna returned to Dalton, Ohio, to LeAnna's family farm. During the day Peter built silos for area farmers but at night Peter kept up with his woodworking projects with some of the tools he brought back with him from New York. LeAnna would sell the pieces during the day and keep up the book work for Peter's small woodworking business.

In 1977, Peter received an order for his wood crafts so large that he was able to devote all his time and energies into his woodworking business and leave the silo building business. Initially, Peter and LeAnna began selling products from an old chicken coop on the farm but eventually out grew it.

In early 2008, construction was finished on the 140,000 sq. ft. manufacturing facility and retail store that sits along the historic Lincoln Highway today. P. Graham Dunn sells their products to 40 different countries around the world and sells their goods through many independent dealers and retail chains throughout the U.S.

As you enter the retail store, you are greeted by the most "awe-inspiring" lobby and seating area complete with two handsome stair cases that meet on the second floor of the retail store. Just behind the stair case and all throughout the second-floor store, large windows look out over the manufacturing facility where you can watch the products come to life on your own little tour while you shop. (Guided tours can be requested.)

The 20,000 sq. ft. gallery displays every piece that P. Graham Dunn makes from mounted pictures, to frames and wood carvings each with a short scripture carved or painted on them. Custom laser engraving can be done to almost any piece to make that perfect gift or souvenir.

P. Graham Dunn also sells Pandora, Vera Bradley and an assortment of furniture pieces. The Threads boutique features a trendy selection of fashion clothing and accessories.

The Factory Outlet towards the back of the store features overstocked, scratch and dent, prototype, discontinued and unfinished merchandise at bargain prices.

A large pond west of building completes the landscaping that visitors can enjoy sitting around in the summer months and ice skating on in the winter months.

What started from humble beginnings has grown to a nationally recognized business. While products may change over time, their concepts stay the same - making quality products and keeping the Christian faith.

P. Graham Dunn is located at 630 Henry St. in Dalton. Store hours are Monday-Saturday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. For more information call 866-922-0306 or visit www.pgrahamdunn.com.

The Cat's

Meow Village

The iconic black cat makes its appearance on hundreds of little wooden cutouts of homes, buildings and even landmarks all over the world. It's that black cat stamped on to every piece that lets you know that you have an authentic Cat's Meow piece.

Faline Jones created the Cat's Meow from the basement of her home in the fall of 1982. "I've always done crafty things to make money," said Faline.

She saw a little wooden house in a store that she sold her crafts to and began envisioning creating little villages of her own. She started out with 12 original designs that she sold at local Wooster stores but it didn't take long for these little wooden creations to reach popularity nationwide.

With demand for her product growing, Faline knew she would be needing a larger facility than her home basement to keep up with the requests. Three buildings later, the Cat's Meow company can now be found off of Old Lincoln Way in Wooster.

Faline's first set of wooden creations was just an imaginary village of her own creation. As she traveled the world, she would take pictures of iconic buildings and different architectural styles that she would later use to incorporate into her special collections such as her Halloween and North Pole collections.

Faline's recreation of iconic buildings and landmarks throughout the U.S. are very popular among consumers. Cat's Meow pieces make perfect keepsakes and souvenirs of places traveled.

National and International collections are favored by the world travelers or those inspired by other countries. Her state collection, released in 2000, is comprised of all 50 states and painted with their signature trademarks. Other unique pieces include the Historic Trails and Waterways of America collection featuring: historic Route 66, the Boston Freedom Trail, the Jersey Shore Map, Lewis and Clark Trail and much more.

Each year, Faline unveils new pieces to add to her village collections. Faline also selects a charity each year to design a Cat's Meow tree for. Last year she chose Cystic Fibrosis and created a tree with purple ribbons. All the proceeds from the piece are donated to the charity. Faline has supported Breast Cancer Charities, Down Syndrome Charities and many more over the years.

Custom designs have become very popular at the Cat's Meow factory. Retail stores, churches, schools, non-profit organizations, historical societies and many other unique organizations request unique pieces used by that group as fund-raisers, service awards and gifts. These pieces are often commissioned pieces designed specifically for these organizations.

Anyone can request their own personalized Cat's Meow keepsake. The My World program allows individuals to submit a photo of their own home, organizations, favorite buildings and more, and a designer will create a piece in the Cat's Meow fashion complete with the trademark black cat stamped somewhere on the piece. Send in a description however long or short to be printed on the back and complete your personalized keepsake.

A visit to the Cat's Meow Village could also mean a free tour of the "Mewsuem." In here you will find a collection of Faline's very first Cat's Meow pieces along with pieces that have been taken off the production line over the years.

Amish country pieces from scenes of barn raisings, Amish homes and farms and popular buildings in the Holmes and Wayne County areas are very popular among travelers. Faline is inspired by the surrounding Amish country and has created memorable keepsakes for those wishing to take a little piece of Amish country home with them.

The Cat's Meow Village is located at 2163 Great Trails Dr. in Wooster. Hours of operation are Monday-Friday, 9 a.m.-4 p.m. For more information call 330-264-1377 or visit www.catsmeow.com.


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