To this…in 31 years!
From Ponies and Carts to Amish Sheds and Garages
When my dad started Sheds Unlimited back in 1988, he had two things in mind. First, he was looking for ways to keep his five growing sons busy on the family farm in Lancaster County, PA. Second, dairy farming was not enough to support the family of seven children, and he had to find another way to keep the family fed.
The five sons living on the farm got up early morning after morning to milk the cows, feed the calves and care for the animals. During the spring, summer and fall, corn had to be planted, cared for and harvested to keep the fourth-generation family farm alive. If the crops failed, or the milk price plummeted, the ends simply would not meet.
I was the second of those five sons and while I helped milk the cows, plant the crops and feed the animals, I also loved working with my hands and creating things.
My Early Building Experience
From a young age, we learned the old-fashioned Amish and Mennonite values of hard work, honesty and business acumen. Dad taught us a lot about all this. We brothers started driving big farm tractors at 6 or 7 years of age, almost before we could reach the brakes! The story around our family is that at 9 years old my oldest brother Alphie drove the tractor, chopper and wagon and went to a neighboring farm to bring in the hay for the cows!
Dad also gave us the freedom to try our hands at other projects. We helped him fix and build things around the farm, helped Mom with repair projects at home and built things into the house. I remember building mom a pantry in the 100 year old farm house with a hidden cavity behind the pantry wall. We filled the cavity with old tattered Bibles we had accumulated over the years but would never have thrown away. They would be there in case our faith at some point would be repressed and our Bibles taken as in communist countries at the time.
Dad bought us woodworking tools that started my own interest in crafting items from wood. One of my early big projects was building the pony cart featured in this story. We had a few ponies on the farm over the years and the brothers loved driving them to the local grocery store and running errands for Mom. When the cart needed rebuilding, it was I who had the fun of taking rough-cut wood and crafting a masterpiece.
How the Pony Cart Launched a Shed Business
The pony cart project did more than give me a place to learn woodworking. It launched me into a lifelong pursuit of creating things with my hands. No doubt, the cart could not handle large sheds, but we did find a way to use it to start a small business making dog boxes for some church friends who had a shed business a few miles away.
My job along with my older brother Alphie was to drive the pony cart to our friends and pick up the materials for the dog boxes. On the farm, we crafted small dog boxes from the materials and then loaded the dog boxes on the cart and delivered them back to the business to be sold.
What began with a pony cart and a few dog boxes has now grown into the nearly 40 person team of Sheds Unlimited. We take our Amish Tradition of hard work and quality products and create customized sheds and garages that serve the needs of people in the Northeastern part of the USA.
A Personal Thank You
As the current owner of Sheds Unlimited, and son of the founder, I welcome you to our family! I really do hope that the entire process of designing a building just for you can be an experience you can look upon fondly. If you have any problems along the way, please ask to speak with me! I’ll do what I can to make sure you get the service and care we always want to offer.
~ Steve Stoltzfus Jr