Amish Country Store

Local Sam Thompson (left) assists with the construction of the new Amish Country Store site, located on the lot of TJ’s Liquor in Malmo, owned by Karen and Gene Miller (right).

Between summer celebrations and a recent addition of Sue’s Bait Shop, TJ’s Liquor – at the corner of Hwys. 18 and 47 in Malmo – has done its share to keep the northeastern end of Mille Lacs Lake busy.

Gene and Karen Miller, TJ’s Liquor owners, have new propositions in store this summer. They’ve teamed up with the Amish community on Hwy. 18 to offer an Amish Country Store in Malmo, and this is just one of several planned new vendors to be operating at TJ’s Liquor.

Gene Miller explained that the idea came about because he had been hearing from other area locals who were driving down to Hwy. 18 every Saturday morning to visit the Amish community directly.

“We heard how wonderful their food was,” said Miller, “and that they made awesome butter.”

When Miller had a chance to meet with the Amish, he offered them the opportunity to sell their wares at his lot in Malmo.

“This is a very busy corner,” he added.

Dan Herschberger, a member of the local Amish community currently helping set up the new country store, said he expected to see the shop opened by now.

When asked what the store would have to offer, Herschberger indicated there would be baked goods including pies, cookies and cinnamon rolls.

Chris Herschberger, another family member helping, added, “The women are going to be doing (the baking), so I don’t know what they’ll all make.”

The Herschbergers also expected homegrown produce and small craft items to be available through the store. Chris added that they would need time to get the shop set up, but they were willing to offer “whatever might sell.”

Miller indicated that, in the future, the Herschbergers also plan to sell handcrafted furniture at the location, though the furniture wouldn’t be available until a future date.

Given the capacity that the store will be able to maintain, Miller expects the baked goods will be available on Fridays and Saturdays.

Outside this time frame, Miller said that items from other local crafters will also be available at the store, and he said the store would offer items unavailable at any other store in Malmo.

“There are a lot of ladies looking for things to do while their husbands are fishing,” Miller said. It was Miller’s aim to provide an venue for interested shoppers at his lot, and this summer, he plans for the other sheds at the lot to be rented out to local vendors, in addition to the wares available at the Amish Country Store.

The Millers are in the process of seeking vendors interested in renting these spaces. Those interested can call the Millers at 320- 684-2566 and ask to speak with Karen Miller. The Millers plan to have their corner market up and running by May 1, and they plan for it to run through September.

In addition, Gene Miller is also planning for summer celebrations, and he has four festivals planned for the upcoming year. These celebrations include Saturday of Memorial Day weekend, Saturday of Fourth of July weekend, Saturday of Labor Day weekend, and an Oktoberfest celebration. These festivals will feature a performance from a live, six-piece band, as well as the state fair food vendors that the Millers have hosted at previous celebrations.

Miller has other plans in the works, and he advised his regular patrons to stay tuned, as he plans to announce a new business venture in the near future.

“It should be a fun summer here in Malmo,” he added.

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