The Store that Beat Walmart by Giving Up Electricity

By Published on September 30, 2015

The world was supposed to end on December 23, 2012, and Lehman’s, the largest purveyor of non-electric goods in the U.S., knew it. Anytime the apocalypse is nigh, Lehman’s sees a surge in business. And usually the Ohio-based store hears from their customers exactly what impending doom is expected to upend humanity this time around.

The year and a half before Y2K, for Lehman’s, was almost overwhelming. Tens of thousands of people started calling. Orders for appliances like wood stoves, oil lamps and hand-cracked washers started to backlog. Sometimes they wouldn’t be fulfilled for weeks, even months.

. . . At this point, Lehman’s has weathered decades of would-be world-ending events, to become a superstore for purposefully old-fashioned, non-electric everything. During the store’s first decade or two in business, its main customers were locals, many of them from nearby Amish communities. But now Lehman’s caters to everyone from off-the-grid environmentalists to missionaries to preppers. Now, more than ever before, there is a demand for the wares the store sells. By sticking with the tried and true, the old and unnecessary, Lehman’s has become surprisingly trendy.

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The Habit of Nearness
Robert J. Morgan
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