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Doing God's Work

Dutch Discounts owner Yoder says
he is returning the blessings

He enjoys helping people in need
with good pricing on food

HANOVER, Ind. (October 2017) – Mervin Yoder believes he is doing God’s work by operating a store that gives people the opportunity to buy discount food for their families.
“We are blessed with what God has given us so we can return the blessings to people in need. I just like to help people,” Yoder said.
Yoder and his family operate the Dutch Discount Market at 3498 W. State Road 56 in Hanover, Ind. It is an independent store and not part of a larger chain.
“This is my third store,” Yoder said. “My first was in Pennsylvania, then we were on a church outreach program that caused us to move to Indiana. Seven years ago we moved to Hanover. Our second store was in Vevay. I only own this one now.”

Photo by John Sheckler

Mervin Yoder poses inside his Dutch Discounts store near Hanover, Ind., holding a block of his popular cheese. He sells 300-400 pounds a week, he says.

The Dutch Discount Market is in a steel farm-style building that sits near the intersection where State Hwy. 62 peels off State Hwy. 56 and goes around the hilltop of Madison, while Hwy. 56 goes over the hill to downtown Madison.
The bakery sells a lot of homemade bread similar to that someone would see being sold by Amish ladies at a farmer’s market.
“It sells every day, all day long,” said Yoder. “We have cinnamon rolls, wheat, white, nine grain honey and oat. There is also banana nut and other seasonal breads like pumpkin, jalapeño bread and apple bread.”
At the back of the market is a huge deli case.
“We sell a lot of great cheese,” said Yoder. “We have 42 type of cheese. Colby Longhorn is the best seller. We usually sell 300 pounds a week. We sell 400 pounds on a good week.”
The cheese in the store is a top quality cheese from Holmes County, Ohio.
The deli also features Virginia ham, honey ham, brown sugar ham, black forest ham and apple wood ham.
“All our lunchmeats sell well,” Yoder continued. “We also do a lot of bulk flour and candy.
Yoder is especially pleased with the produce room. Unlike the usual grocery stores, the entire room is temperature and climate controlled. Shoppers pass through a thick plastic door to enter the room.
Yoder got into the discount market business 17 years ago.
“A friend did a bit of a warehouse closeout. He had an excess of merchandise, and that got me started,” said Yoder.
Yoder and his family are connected to the Mennonite community in Lexington, Ind. All the girls who work in the store are from that church. 
“It is a family run business,” he says. “My two daughters and 12 other girls work here.”
Yoder is very thankful for being able to own a business like this and especially thankful for those who help him.
“I have done this for 17 years,” he said. “It is in my blood. I like it. My wife (Ada) and daughters work with me. My wife does a lot of my office work. I have a very good staff. They are just like family. I couldn’t do it without them.”
Christine Schlabach is Yoder’s longest working employee.
“In October, I will have worked for him for six years. I do a little bit of everything. I work the deli, stock shelves, work the register,” she said. “I like working in the deli the best. I like working with the meats and cheese, and I know people and I like the contact we can have. We all enjoy our work. It is a really relaxed atmosphere. There is no tension.”
She added, “Some day, I want to own my own store. That would be my dream to own a store.”
The selection of groceries at the store is different all the time.
“We do a lot of warehouse overruns and overstock purchases,” Yoder said. “We buy it by the semi load, so it is never the same items on groceries. If they are damaged or close coded, customers are able to buy at a reduced price.”
The store has large bins of fruit that allow people to buy peaches or apples in bulk at an affordable price, so they are able to do home canning.
His early life on the farm made Yoder the type person to take on the difficult life of a store owner.
“My wife and I both grew up on a farm. On a farm, everyone worked all the time,” he said. “When we got married, we got day jobs. We would get off at 4 or 5 and needed something to keep us busy. We are hard working people. On May 30, 2000, we started our first store. We started the store to help people and to serve people. God has really blessed us.”
Yoder said he is thankful he can help people with small food budgets.
“We have a pleasant place for the public,” he said. “We help a lot of people in need. We have a place where people with food stamps can stretch their dollar.”
Yoder said he feels everyone needs to go to the big box store occasionally because of price. He feels the Dutch Discount Market reduces that need to shop the big store.
“Every way we look at it, we all need each other,” he said.”
A lot of our hard work shows how God has blessed us. People live from check to check. Having a place to buy groceries less expensively helps them.
This allows them to spend more at other things they do.”

The Dutch Discount Market is open Monday through Saturday but closed on Sunday.

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