Tuesday, May 5, 2020

Buried under demand

I've been following the situation at Lehman's since the economy took a nosedive.

Lehman's, as you know, sells an enormous variety of merchandise geared at simplicity and self-sufficiency. Originally it began as a source of non-electric goods for Amish customers, but it's blossomed over the years as many other people discovered non-electric goods do indeed make life simpler. Their philosophy is "Prepared, not scared."

With the advent of the coronavirus, it seems a lot of customers are in the latter category and attempting to move into the former. This can be nothing but good news, but it also means places like Lehman's are overwhelmed from people desperate to obtain products like canning supplies, emergency foods, non-electric lighting options, and other tools of self-sufficiency. It seems every time I log onto the website, the banner message at top hints the business is getting busier, not slower. Shipping times are taking longer, and many items are out of stock.

Curious, I emailed the vice-president of marketing, Glenda Lehman Ervin, and inquired: "I thought things would have slowed down by now, but I guess I'm wrong. How are you on getting new inventory in? Are your sources down?"

Glenda replied: "We have not seen any slowing down of demand. The warehouse is about a week behind (we normally ship within 24 hours) and our vendors are having trouble keeping up. We have lots out of stock. We are also getting some major media coverage like the LA Times and the Wall Street Journal. Our hope is this movement has a long tail and people realize how important self-sufficiency is; not operating out of fear but our of a desire to live a simple, more fulfilling life. As a marketer, it feels good to be promoting the same message we have been for years and not taking advantage of people who are scared."

She makes an excellent point. Homesteaders and preppers were once considered "fringe," but they have emerged to be the rock stars of self-sufficiency.

Glenda also would like to pass on the following statement from Lehman's:

"We apologize for any delays in our response and appreciate your patience during the time of this pandemic. While we are still open, we have limited staffing and have an emphasis on receiving essential inventory and processing orders. Our normal order turn-around time is 24 hours, but our warehouse staffing capacity is limited by social distancing rules and orders are running higher than normal, so orders are currently taking up to two weeks to fill. Our vendors are also having trouble producing merchandise, so our out-of-stock situation is much higher than normal. Thank you for your patience as we work very hard to catch up!"

If you plan to order anything from Lehman's you won't be disappointed with the quality of their goods; but this is also a plea for understanding from a business that's doing its very best to keep up with demand.


  1. Understandable. Thank you for relaying the message!

  2. Good article Patrice. I am happy they are doing well. I hope along with her (and I'm sure many of your readers) that folks will wake up a little and be more thoughtful in their daily decisions.

  3. I am not at all surprised they are so busy. I like their stuff.

  4. I'm not surprised they are so busy and hopefully people will have patience in the circumstances. Suddenly people have realised that self sufficiency isn't a bad thing!! Even here on the other side of the Atlantic there has been a massive shift in interest. Both canning and garden groups that I belong to have seen membership Treble in weeks. On the downside I cannot get Tatler lids and seals any more nor can I get a new and a spare seal for our presto canner. There's an export opportunity there as interest in the UK has ballooned!

  5. As a local resident near Kidron Ohio always amazed at the amount of interest Lehmmans draws. On occasion I will shop there because they have quality items. But I really hate to deal with Amish peeper crowd that are drawn there to browse.