A third-generation grocer and member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is currently gaining attention with a new crowd — the Amish.
Store owner Greg Arlint recently opened a new Provo location of his Apple Creek Amish Market, an old-timey grocery business created out of inspiration and aid from Amish neighbors living near his home in Montana. It is located at 1331 S. State Street.
Foreseeing better business forecasts out of state, Arlint turned to Utah, where he opened a first location in Willard more than two years ago.
The store has been well received in Utah and, to Arlint’s pleasure, among the Amish community.
“I was kind of hesitant in the beginning,” he said. “I knew after meeting with the people back east that the great majority of stores back there that are Amish-style stores are owned by Mennonite and Amish. Me not being that, I did wonder how I would fit in. But they know us back there now.”
Arlint and his employees stock the stores with products shipped from two main distributors: Troyer, in Ohio, and Dutch Valley, in Pennsylvania. These sources supply the majority of the store’s meats and cheeses, jarred goods and bulk products.
Arlint prides the store on being authentically Amish while employing the use of modern conveniences and drawing on his family-taught experience to create a pleasant atmosphere for customers.
“I knew that we’d have to be a little bit more refined in how we do things,” he said. “Coming from a grocery background, I’ve been able to make a good balance with keeping it like a market environment but not making it into a Wal-Mart feel either.” Because they live in communities, no Amish currently work at the store.
Provo Apple Creek employee Sierra Anderson, a Willard local, was one of the first to begin working with Arlint. She said she’s constantly “running all over the place,” fulfilling many rotating duties at the store. But she’s a fan of the many unique items offered at the market.
“I spend so much money here,” Anderson said with a laugh. “I think Greg makes more money off of me!”
One of the challenges Arlint and his workers noted, however, is the difficulty of shipping. To wipe out their stock, it just takes one Relief Society president buying out a product for an activity, or a regular coming back for a favorite item, he said. Because products are sent from a great distance by only two main distributors, shipments are only received in large loads every few weeks.
“One of the biggest issues we knew going into this, that’s different from a traditional store, is our shipping and deliveries,” Arlint said. “Because you can’t just ship out a little every day, like they do at other stores.”
Anderson has seen this challenge with customer satisfaction. “We get people who are regulars, and when we don’t have (what they want), they get upset,” she said. But because of the nature of the store, she said, they “generally understand.”
Arlint said that over time, he and the employees will be able to get used to the rhythm of what does and doesn’t sell, making it easier to predict customer shopping patterns and make changes to shipping.
Despite needing a more readily available option for groceries, Arlint believes the store’s unique model appeals to the city’s residents.
“In Provo especially … we’re definitely different,” he said. “You won’t find our store out West anywhere.”
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