LAKE TWP. – Located on Cleveland Avenue on the border with North Canton and Plain Township, Yoder’s Bulk Foods & Deli has just celebrated its fifth anniversary in April. The small local market specializes in a rich selection of bulk food and Amish meat and cheese.
Approaching the market, you are greeted by a bright blue-green welcome sign, matching Adirondack chairs and pink flamingos. Once inside, you will see shelves neatly loaded with jams, syrups, candies, spices and more. The delicacy desk attracts as well as the freezer, full of cakes, pies, cheeses and meats.
The market has a friendly feel and is spotlessly clean.
“If I’m going to work here every day, I want to have fun,” said co-owner Diana Koblenz, who owns and operates the market with her daughter Rachel Koblenz, when I stopped by.
I caught up with co-owner Rachel Koblenz to learn more about the store.
Q. Where does Yoder’s name come from? Is it a last name?
A. “The name Yoder is actually my aunt’s last name. She and my mother opened the store together five years ago. They wanted something more common than our family, and it made them feel like it was a store that would carry more Amish goods. Three years ago, my aunt decided she didn’t want to be part of the store anymore and sold half of it to Diana. So even though it’s called Yoder’s, no Yoders work here (now). ”
Q. How did the idea for the market come about?
A. “The store was originally Diana’s idea. She has experience in the food service industry and thought North Canton didn’t have anything to offer.”
Q. How is business in five years and while surviving a pandemic?
A. “Business is good in five years. The pandemic was a huge boost for our business, as people could not go out to eat as before and were much more at home. We are also a very small store, so many people felt safer coming to us than in a larger store.
“With the boost of business, we also had some problems with growth. Our store is small and there is not much space to distribute or add more products. Our parking lot is also small and can be narrow days like Saturdays when we are busiest.
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“Oddly enough, we now have more problems getting products than during the pandemic. Some things that we would like to be able to wear and that we have worn are simply not available to us at the moment. Of course, times are tough now as prices rise. a lot, but it’s something that’s happening everywhere for everyone. ”
Q. I see that you offer a lot of articles from the Amish country. What do you offer, what are some of your most popular items and where do your products come from? Do you offer home-made goods?
A. “Of all the things we have in the store, the most popular is the delicacy. We get most of our delicacies from Troyer Cheese or Walnut Creek Foods. Everything in our delicacies is cut fresh; it is never pre-cut. We make our own salad with ham and chicken salad and they are very popular.
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“We carry a wide variety of jars of goods such as jams and pickles, for example, which are privately labeled for us.
“We get baked goods from several bakeries in the Amish country and bread from Ideal Bakery in Lakemore.
“We have two coolers with some daily staples, such as eggs and sour cream, and we also have some special items like our cajun crab dip or cream cheese roasted paprika.”
“We also bring dog treats from Sugar Creek Natural Pet.
“Some things we have that aren’t in most grocery stores: We get nuts from CJ Dannemiller, a Norton company that bakes its own nuts. We have a large selection of their nuts and they are of very good quality. We have a large selection of Albanian chewing gum and various candies. We have a large selection of spices. We try to wear things that are of high quality and are not found in the stores where we are. “
Q. I see that you often offer special offers. Can you tell me a little more about them?
A. “We make special offers every week. They run from Tuesday to Monday. We post them on Facebook and they are usually meat and cheese and something else from the store.”
Q. Anything else you would like to share about Yoder’s?
A. “I think what sets us apart from other stores is our work ethic. We are the owner of the store, but we are there every day at work. If you come and visit us, the person who cuts your meat and cheese is one of the owners.
“And because we are the owners and we have high standards, we want everything to be perfect for you. We do a lot of hard work to try to make the store work smoothly. We have our moments, but I am very grateful that I can work with my mother every day. She has always been a great example of what a hard-working and strong woman she is. “
Yoder’s Bulk Foods & Deli is located at 8600 Cleveland Ave. NW in Lake Township and is open 9 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Monday and Thursday and 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday. For more information, find Yoder’s Bulk Foods & Deli on Facebook.