“Once upon a time, a cat and a dog and a mouse and a little red hen all lived together in a cozy little house….”
When the hen asks her friends to help her plant some grains of wheat she had found, they all refuse:
“Not I!” said the dog.
“Not I!” said the cat.
“Not I!” Said the mouse.**
A time-tested story about how we reap what we sow, The Little Red Hen, a children’s book, has delighted both parents and children for decades.
One local parent, Cindy Zachrich, enjoyed reading the book so often that her children, now grown-ups themselves, suggested she name her Courtyard of Arts store after the book.
The name and store, Little Red Hen House, was born.
How the store was named is an interesting story. Why the store was created has its own story, an equally interesting one as well.
Cindy and her husband Randy live near an Amish community in Michigan. Many of the families owned furniture-making businesses.
In 1999 during an economic downturn, the couple observed the community struggling to survive financially while also preserving their way of wife.
“Let’s help these families,” Cindy expressed to her husband. “Let’s sell their furniture.”
So they did.
Sometimes Cindy would design furniture pieces and her Amish neighbors would build them. Other times, the families would come up with their own creative designs.
Cindy recalls one particular Amish family who had eleven children. “They really struggled hard,” she said. This family’s barn caught on fire, destroying nearly everything inside it, including their furniture-making business. Cindy and Randy helped the family salvage what furniture they could, discounted it, sold it, and helped the family get back on their feet.
“The husband told me they never would have made it without our help.”
The Zachrich couple expanded their business to the Shipshewana Flea Market. Then, in January 2012, they saw an old brick house on Morton Street sitting empty.
“We set up shop here and love it.”
Inside the Little Red Hen House, you’ll find very interesting items…items with their own stories, just like the hen story or the Zachrich’s story.
They continue to sell furniture from their Amish friends. They also sell primitives, furniture made from reclaimed wood, old doors, and other antiques.
One piece that caught my eye was this old wrought iron chandelier; its diameter was so wide, it took up an entire table! Still, I couldn’t help but imagine what it would look like hanging over my dining room table.
I also noticed the number of items they had outdoors. Benches, metal flags, wash stands, old buggies, a ladder… Everywhere I looked there was something interesting to cast my gaze upon.
The moral of the hen story is that you reap what you sow. Cindy and Randy have sown a lot of good within their little town; I hope they reap an abundance of happiness and joy in their own Little Red Hen House…store, that is.
Little Red Hen House is located on the Courtyard of Arts,
Located at 125 Morton Street, Shipshewana
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**Galdone, Paul. Little Red Hen. New York: Houghton Mifflin Co., 1973. © Paul Galdone.
To read an introductory blog about several stores you can find at the Courtyard of Arts, click here.