Small Business Spotlight
Local developer and entrepreneur, Elmer Lengacher, has been working hard over the last few years to help establish the Town of Grabill as a draw for backyard Amish tourism and exciting things are happening! In March of 2020, Mr. Lengacher purchased the historic Grabill Bank Block building located in downtown Grabill and has been converting it from a flea market into a workable mall called Grabill Country Shoppes. This downtown structure, most notably known as Souder’s Furniture Store, is a collection of structures that have been connected and wrapped with a boardwalk and awning. In 2020, exterior improvements have been made at the rear of the structure including new siding, awning, and patio space. Interior improvements have included installation of a new heating and air conditioning system and working with the Shoppe’s 130 vendors to better organize the space. Several other offerings have been added including: a miniature train station exhibit, popcorn, fudge, hand-dipped ice cream, and saltwater taffy. Portions of the property have also recently been rented out to other new, small businesses including Common Grounds Coffeehouse and Claire Lindsey Boutiques. Since March, sales have been increasing and several new employees have been hired.
Current Grabill Country Shoppes improvements include a restroom remodel as well as website and social media development. A scanning system is also being implemented to keep better track of vendor sales. Lengacher believes the redevelopment will be completed over a five-year plan timeframe and will include the addition of parking nearby. The Town has recently received confirmation of funding for an adjacent streetscape project to be completed in 2021 as part of the NewAllen Indiana Regional Stellar Community Designation.
Over the years, Lengacher’s investments have included leading a community-wide venture to bring the Sav-A-Lot Grocery Store to town. This was followed by the establishment of a bulk food store – bakery –lunch buffet called Grabill Country Sales. Lengacher also owns Grabill Amish Pastries which serves 150 gas stations throughout the region, Kate’s Country Kitchen, and the Woodhouse Restaurant. Lengacher explained that he would like eventually to bring more tours to the community and to package some of the experiences into daily ticket sales.