Amish Business Women


Grandpa & Grandma's Bed & Breakfast

Grandpa & Grandma Esh’s Bed & Breakfast in the 1980’s

Amish Business Women.

I’d venture to say many of my friends have never put those three words together in a sentence, but in this short post I’d like to introduce you to three women who held that title, and are a tremendous inspiration to me: Aunt Sadie Zook, Aunt Sarah Glick, and my Grandma Lydia. All three of them were wives, mothers…and successful entrepreneurs.

“In my dealings with them I have found Amish business women to be self-directed: i.e., highly motivated, making autonomous business decisions, seeming to be little concerned with others’ opinions of them.”~ Beth Graybill, in her research entitled “Amish Women, Business Sense: Old Order Women Entrepreneurs in the Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, tourist marketplace.”



My Grandma was an amazingly industrious woman. She was Grandpa’s right hand woman on their dairy farm and rental properties. In addition, she ran a beautiful and welcoming bed and breakfast out of their home in Churchtown, PA. They entertained guests from across the country all seasons of the year. She had great working business relationships with hotels and other B&B’s in the area, and networked with local tourist-driven businesses.

Grandpa & Grandma Esh

Grandpa & Grandma Esh

Grandma & Grandpa were wonderful hosts, and created dear friendships that lasted for decades and continue on in our family today. I remember helping Grandma prepare the rooms for their guests. We washed towels, scrubbed floors and cleaned bathrooms. I still marvel at her fastidious housekeeping standards. She even ironed the sheets and pillowcases for her guests to make the room as beautiful and welcoming as possible.

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Ariel view of Aunt Sadie’s Bake Shop | Image via Google

Aunt Sadie Zook was my Grandpa’s oldest sister. For all my life she was the owner and manager of her busy and successful bake shop nestled between farmer’s fields in the beautiful hills of Narvon, PA. Visit online reviews for “Sadie’s Bake Shop” and you’ll quickly see that her baked goods have an amazing reputation. I’ve never tasted a donut as delicious as one made by Great-Aunt Sadie and her staff, and (most wonderful of all) of all, she also made the best Shoo-fly Pie around!

The home where my Grussmommy grew up. (The little white building you see in the background next to the tree on the right side is where Aunt Sarah’s health-food store now stands.)

Finally, there’s my Aunt Sarah. (She married my Grussmommy’s brother Davy Glick). Aunt Sarah managed her thriving health food store called Glick’s Natural Products, next to her family home. It was always fun to visit Aunt Sarah’s busy store, with its perfect rows of nutritional supplements, bins of organic produce, refrigerators filled with wholesome food, and shelves of natural wellness books. The Amish community is very holistic when it comes to matters of family health, so there was a constant stream of customers. As it was a great store, there were also plenty of “English” people who also frequented Aunt Sarah’s business! She had years of experience in her field, was extremely knowledgable, had great advice & product recommendations for anyone who asked, and above all she genuinely cared about her customers and had a passion for what she did.

Look at a day when you are supremely satisfied at the end. It’s not a day when you lounge around doing nothing; it’s when you’ve had everything to do, and you’ve done it. ~ Margaret Thatcher

That’s a quote any three of these dear woman could have said. I’m thankful for the great example all three strong and lovely women in my life, and the lessons I learned from all of them.

~ Justina Dee


Trip Advisor Reviews on my Aunt Sadie’s Bake Shop

Amish Women Entrepreneurs

Amish Women: Business Sense

Business Insider: 13 Money Secrets From the Amish





2 thoughts on “Amish Business Women

  1. Very well written. My mother (your Grandmother) also worked at Zerbe Sisters as a certified nurse, and later, she worked for Nurses’ Available (in-home care for the elderly).

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