Featured Retailer: Yoder Department Store

If you can’t find it at Yoder’s, there’s a pretty good chance you don’t need it.

The U.S. Census Bureau lists the population of Shipshewana, Indiana, at 658, which is roughly the same number of people who’ll be in line in front of you, waiting to get into the Yoder Department Store parking lot. Yep. People who need stuff, get stuff here.

“It’s not uncommon in the summer for folks to wait ten, maybe fifteen minutes to park their car,” said Andre Yoder, the third-generation general manager of this little town’s massive mercantile. “The flee market and auction across the street can draw up to 10,000 people in a two-day stretch, and a lot of them stop by because they know what we have to offer.”

What Yoder’s has to offer isn’t so much a step back in time—you’ll find all the latest clothing styles mixed in with tons of traditional favorites—it’s just that the style of service customers enjoyed decades ago is still thriving here.

Take, for example, the fact that second-generation owner Janet Yoder started working at the store when she was 13 and just recently retired at the age of 77. Many of the current employees, too, have been working here for more than 10, 20 or even 30 years. These are people who know how to treat a customer.

And if, for some reason, you want eight pairs of jeans with a 66-inch waist and they only have five (they really do have this size, by the way, and they have that many in stock), they’ll get them for you. Pronto.

That’s service you don’t see all that often.

“People come here to be taken care of and because they’ll find quality products at fair prices,” added Yoder. “Those are the same reasons we carry Stormy Kromer: great apparel, good prices, made in America. Those things matter here.”

As if to prove the point, Yoder’s menswear/work apparel manager, Tim Hethcote, recalled the story of a fellow who stopped in to get his son-in-law a gift. “He bought a couple Stormy Kromer flannel shirts, took them home, gave into temptation, tried them on, and kept them,” said Hethcote. “He eventually bought his son-in-law something else.”

No doubt he found it at Yoder’s.

A Stormy Kromer Send-Off

Last fall, we were contacted by the Detroit Skating Club.  We were somewhat ashamed that we didn’t realize such an illustrious group was here in the fine state of Michigan, and we sure are glad they reached out to us.

You see, the Detroit Skating Club in Bloomfield Hills is the training home to some of the most elite figure skaters in the world.  We’re talking Olympians, National and World Champions – names like Todd Eldredge, Tara Lipinski and Alissa Czisny.

Jerod Swallow, Managing Director of the club let us know that each January they send the skaters off into the world to compete in a series of events, culminating in the World Championships.  As a part of their send-off, they like to give them a little something to remind them of Detroit Skating Club.  Of Michigan.

Naturally, he thought of Stormy Kromer.

We thought these fine folks deserved something a little special, so we put together some special edition caps in the Club’s colors.

The skaters just returned from their travels and finally had a few moments for a photo shoot in their caps.  Turns out the club members fared quite well at the World Championships:  French couple Nathalie Pechalat and Fabian Bourzat received a bronze medal in ice dance, Canadians Kaitlyn Weaver and Andrew Poje placed fourth in ice dance, Italian Valentina Marchei placed eighth in the women’s event, and American Jeremy Abbott placed eighth in the men’s event.

Congratulations and hats off to a job well done everybody!

How Does a Guy Say No To This?

Even though the wedding date’s not set yet, you can tell that Linnea Rivard and Michael Balda’s upcoming nuptials aren’t necessarily all that traditional.

For starters, the happy couple met at an online matchmaking site. They didn’t even get to go out alone on their first date (she brought a friend along, just to be sure). And after a few short months of courtship, she proposed marriage to him.

On Stormy Kromer’s Facebook page, no less.

“We met in September, and a month later he was bugging me with ‘When are you going to ask me to marry you?’” said Linnea, a bartender in Wisconsin Rapids. “When I told his mom, she looked me in the eye and said “He loves you and wants to marry you. He’s just scared to ask.”

Not too timid to take matters into her own hands, Linnea put a plan in motion.

Michael, who’s working toward his Master’s degree in Project Management, was heading to Florida for an extended stay, but before he left, Linnea made sure his favorite Kromer cap stayed home.

“It was weird, but before my trip, she wanted to know what caps I was bringing with me,” said Michael. “I’ve got 15 or so, and I did bring a couple of the cotton ones to Florida, but I couldn’t figure out why she cared. Then I saw her Facebook post.”

Posed in her boyfriend’s best Kromer Original, Linnea popped the question “Marry me?” in a picture presented for the whole world to see. And let’s just say Michael wasn’t the first to see it.

“Some other guy beat me to it,” said Michael. “One of the posts said ‘If he says no, I’m saying yes.’ Really, though, there was only one answer for me. She was wearing my favorite cap; it was awesome. I had to say yes.”

We couldn’t be happier for the Kromer-loving couple, and we’ll keep you up to date on their wedding plans. We thought you should also know, however, that they’re not the first to be wedded with our caps.

In 1946, Bernard Kolesar (you may remember him as one of our Living Legend finalists) proposed to Zella in his Stormy Kromer. She said yes, and the rest is history.

This has to be one of the best lookin’ wedding parties we’ve ever seen.

Are there other Kromer wedding stories we need to know about?