The Amish community in Loudoun may be scarce, but its cultural and economic impact is growing.
It was in September last year that Lincoln residents Joseph and Tina Loveless opened Miss Tina’s Amish Country in a nearly two-century-old building on the corner of Colonial Highway and Laycock Street in Hamilton. The 375-square-foot shop is stocked with all types of food, clothing, home décor and other household goods that come straight from Pennsylvania’s Amish country. Although Lovelesses are not Amish, their ties with the culture are deeply rooted and were first cultivated more than a decade ago, when they first visited Lancaster County, PA—a place that’s not far from the region where Tina’s family lived for two generations.
Tina Loveless said that the visit, coupled with the reading of her first Amish fiction novel, Beverly Lewis’ “Annie’s People,” inspired her to start an Amish book review group on Facebook and to travel back to Pennsylvania to get to know the people behind the culture.
Aside from the sense of peace and beauty that she found in the Pennsylvania countryside, which was
much different from the environment she was used to when growing up in Southern California, it was the couples’ budding friendship with the Amish families there that kept them going back.
“I’ve always had this strong pull to a different type of living,” she said. “I just feel really at home with the simplicity of the life.”
Fast forward 10 years, the couple decided to bring a piece of Lancaster to Loudoun. They sell candles, hand-made baskets and quilts and food like pot pies, soups, pretzels, pies, seasonal popcorn, jams and more—all of which is made by Amish or Mennonite families in Lancaster and transported by Tina and Joseph to their Hamilton shop once a week. “That’s part of staying true to the charter,” said Joseph Loveless, who works full-time in the worlds-away cyber security industry.
He said that the food they sell is pure and wholesome because it’s made with no preservatives and not heavily processed like the majority of food that the English—a term the Amish use when referring to Americans—eat on a daily basis. “That’s been received really well,” he said.
In the weeks leading up to Thanksgiving, their pies were flying off the shelves. And as soon as turkey day had passed, interest shifted from pies to cookies. Of course, it’s their jam and cheeses that are a hit no matter what the season.
“We’ve had a lot of positive feedback from the community,” Tina Lovelesssaid. “It’s just been a very humbling experience.”
In addition to selling Amish products, the couple also wants to bridge the gap between the English and Amish communities by showing people that the Amish live similar lives. To do that, they’ve invited a few of their friends down from Pennsylvania to visit the store and interact with customers. “This was more than just setting up a store for us,” Joseph Loveless said.
Customers can further connect with the culture by purchasing a piece of clothing crocheted by author Kathleen Fuller, with the purchases entering them into a raffle to win an autographed copy of one of her Amish novels.
As for growing the business, the couple wants to expand their online sales, having already sold products to customers in New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Arizona and California.
They’re also hoping to throw whoopie pies from an authentic Amish horse-drawn buggy during the Hamilton Day Parade in May.
To learn more about the shop or place an order, go to facebook.com/misstinasamish.