The Big Box Amish Discount Store

caution-amish-buggy“Oh!” my wife exclaimed.

Amazing what one little word can say.

In this case, the rising inflection indicated surprise and delight – whereas the pitch spoke perfectly of only one thing: shopping.


She held up our local newspaper.

“Ruben is retiring!”

“Who is Ruben?”

“I don’t really know,” she confessed.

I had a feeling it wouldn’t end there.

“The ad says he’s closing his Amish furniture business, so everything is 33% off.”

“Don’t be fooled,” I told her, “There was a furniture store in Saint Paul that went out of business for a full thirty years.”

“Are they still going out of business?”


“What happened?”

“They went out of business.”


One can hardly argue with that.

“It would be a great day to drive down to Amish country and we need to replace the Adirondack chairs down by the pond,” she said.

This was true. I have tried to save them but wind and rain has taken its toll and when I replace them I am going to do it with Polywood, a polymer guaranteed to outlast the earth crashing into the dying sun.

I planned to do it at The Big Box Patio Furniture Discount Store.

I explained this to my wife then asked the obvious.

“Why would we go to Amish country to buy plastic furniture?”

“Because silly,  it’s 33% off.”

Again, who can argue with that?


Still it was a great day for a drive. The sky dazzled us with a bright blue that one rarely sees and each woodlot wore the first green haze of spring.

We passed out of the flat farmland of south central Minnesota into the rolling hills and steep ravines of the southeast. There the shoulders of the road widened and black buggies swayed and rattled behind the clip-clop of horses.

Amish country is also tourist country and every quaint little town is surrounded by a sprawling ring of stores hocking everything Amish.

Ruben’s was the largest of the lot.

Fortunately, a small forest of polywood patio furniture stood out front, so it took all of 30 seconds to locate our turquoise Adirondack chair replacements.

I whipped out my credit card hoping to get out of there before…


Yeah, that oh.


“I just want to look around.”


Suffice it to say, we returned home with more than two turquoise polywood patio chairs, which came in cardboard boxes. An odd thing for Amish furniture.

Sure enough, when I opened the boxes, I found a tag on each chair from The Big Box Patio Furniture Discount Store.

Author: Almost Iowa

38 thoughts on “The Big Box Amish Discount Store”

    1. There is a fairly large Amish community in Minnesota, centered around Harmony south of Rochester, which extends well into Iowa.

  1. Was the sale price still more than the discount place?

    I once bought my wife a custom garden cart from a place in Wyoming. When it finally arrived, the box said Harbor Freight.

  2. Thanks for the Polywood recommendation! Yippee! My patio chairs haven’t weathered well and my husband and I have been ruminating over what to do about them.
    Red Polywood, here we come!

  3. Your wife is so smart!
    33% discount, but 33% better views. Sounds like a beautiful, as well as profitable adventure!

    1. I am looking toward the pond now and honestly can’t tell the difference.

      The only thing different about the picture is the two geese who return every year to breed – and lose their chicks to coyotes, raccoons, big snapping turtles and feral cats. I wish they would find a safer place.

      1. Oh dear, that is tough to witness. Sure, sure, circle of life, yadda yadda – you still feel for the creatures who end up as snack food.

    1. True, it was a beautiful drive. Can’t wait for warmer weather to take my bike down to the Root River Trail! Hope the state doesn’t close it – but you never know.

  4. I hear that Justin Amish may run for President. 😉

    P.S. We can assume he wasn’t made in China, or he wouldn’t be eligible to run.

    1. Is anything made here any more.

      You know…. it used to be that stuff made in China was inexpensive – but once the Chinese gain control of a market, they jack the prices up above what we used to pay.

  5. Thank you for the laugh. It reminded me of my wonderful family trip to Williamsburg. We did the tour. We took the photos. We shopped in the store. But, when I picked up this beautiful basket to purchase, what did it say on the bottom but ‘made in China.’ The basket didn’t come home with me, but I hope the chairs last a lifetime. . 🙂

    1. Years ago, my father-in-law treated all the kids and in-laws to an Alaskan cruise. As we were entering Skagway harbor, we could not help but observe a vast storage area of shipping containers – from China. My brother-in-law observed that Skagway has no transport out or in other than ship and has almost no winter population. In other words, everything in that vast area full of shipping containers came in by ship and left by – cruise ship;.

  6. At least you got the chairs. I thought you were going to drive all that way and come up empty. But of course, Ruben will have more in the barn.

  7. Discount store says it all.
    Code for made in China by slave labour.
    Coming to a store near you soon.

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