LINCOLN, Maine — They might live according to a lifestyle and ethic attuned more to the 19th Century than the 21st, but the Amish are smart and hardworking business people, Cynthia Libby said.
“They are easy to do business with. They know their product. They know what they can sell it for to any of the people in that community,” Libby said Wednesday. “They are all that way. They profess not to be business people, but they certainly are.”
A manager at the new Mainely Log Home Furnishings store on West Broadway, Libby sells goods made by the Amish communities in Smyrna Mills and in Ohio.
About 85 percent of the store’s offerings are made by the Amish. Bed frames and headboards, dressers, hutches, chairs and dinner tables, and sofas and loveseats are among the items the store offers.
“We are in an area of 13 lakes-plus. There are plenty of homes, camps and cottages that we think maybe this would appeal to,” Libby said. “We are certainly in an area open to many wilderness kinds of spaces that would have that kind of home. We thought that maybe there would be a need.”
Store owner Sterling “Boody” Osgood had the two-story family home on the lot at 64 West Broadway razed in June to make way for the furniture and dry goods store. He toyed with the idea of running it as a wholesale seafood outlet before deciding to sell Amish furniture.
Amish culture has many riches that today’s society lacks, Libby said. She recently visited the Amish settlement in Smyrna Mills and found it “a pretty humbling experience.”
“I spent the good part of the day up there one day,” Libby said. “It just seemed that there are so many people within that community that have their own gift that they do and they are doing it like people used to do things, when they had work ethics and pride in their work.
“So much of that is lost in our society today that … it is a humbling experience,” she added.
The store is the first of two new outlets opening on West Broadway. A restaurant called Coffee Pot Cafe will be opening later this month, its owner said. Ruth Birtz, the town’s economic development coordinator, referred comment on new businesses to Dan Whittier, the town’s code enforcement officer.