CARTERVILLE — Mike Eader, owner of Firemasters, believes when people think of the Amish, they think quality.
Firemasters had a large space on the west end of its building that was being used for storage, but Mike Eader, owner of the business, thought the space could be put to better use. In fact, he thought about places that would be unique to the area, but also the kind of place he likes to go.
“When people think Amish, they think quality and homemade. It’s a good thing,” Eader said. “And, there’s nothing in our area like that.”
Eader begin doing some research, and learned that most Amish stores carry items that are not made by the Amish.
“We wanted to make sure everything was 100 percent Amish-made,” Eader said.
He traveled to Kentucky and Pennsylvania to talk to Amish manufacturers. He found Amish-made outdoor furniture and baskets in Kentucky, bread and cheese in Arthur, jams and jellies in Ava and Arcola.
Eader said most people know there is an Amish store in Ava, but few people realize three manufacturing plants are located in the small town. Two of the plants, Millers and Country Kettle, manufacture food items. The third makes skylights.
The Amish Store opened at 9 a.m. Monday and Eader says the reception from the public has been really good.
“Amish products cost a little more than products at other stores. It’s different, and you can taste the difference,” Eader said.
They sell fresh bread, fresh cakes and fresh pies. They only last so long. They have to be sold or thrown away.
“I have really enjoyed dealing with the Amish. They are unbelievable. They always have time to give advice or help a guy out,” Eader said.
Eader said he discovered some pretty unique items during his research. For example, he is stocking tables and chairs made in Pennsylvania. The tables range in length from 42 inches to 16 feet and seat from 4 to 26 people. But, the range of sizes is not the only way they are unique. The tables incorporate reclaimed wood in their design, so they are not blemish-free.
The store also carries gooseberry jelly, homemade buttercream frosting and just about any kind of pickle you could want, including pickled green beans and Brussels sprouts. They have a selection of gluten-free items, too.
The Amish Store is located on Illinois 13, just east of the new Wolf Creek Interchange.