Amish store seeks permit

Published 5:46 pm Wednesday, July 12, 2017

A Cumberland County man is seeking a conditional use permit to operate a general store at the intersection of Plank and Airport roads that would be managed by and operated primarily for families in the Amish community and those living in the surrounding area.

County Planning Director Sara Carter said Benjamin Lapp submitted an application for a conditional use permit for Lapp Store, which would sell bulk foods. Carter said the establishment may also sell baked goods.

She said Lapp and members of the Amish community would work together to operate the store.

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The county planning commission is set to hold a public hearing for the sought permit July 24, and pending approval, the board of supervisors could hold a public hearing Aug. 8.

The two parcels of land at the intersection are a combined 25.38 acres, according to the permit application. There is an existing house on the larger of the two parcels.

Lapp, who lives in Dillwyn, said he once lived in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, which has a large Amish population. He said he’s familiar with Amish lifestyle.

“It’s just a need for the Amish to work their way into the community and to help them and help us at the same time,” Lapp said of the proposed store.

Members of the community have worked with Lapp’s Farmville-based construction company, Ben Henry Construction LLC.

In early April, Lapp and members of the Old Order Amish community in Cumberland and surrounding counties collaborated on opening a general store that would sell bulk foods, fresh meats, cheeses and other goods.

Lapp said the store would provide resources for people in the Amish community in addition to resources for people in Cumberland.

The Old Order Amish, Lapp said, is a lifestyle for people who live off of the land, grow their own produce and raise their own food sources and do not use electricity or electric appliances.

For people who have interest in the store, Lapp said it would sell fresh foods and produce.

“There’s going to be good food, good bulk food. There will be fresh meat and cheese,” Lapp said. “It’s going to be a nice place where people can get fresh foods. It’s on the other side of the county, and we want to have good service and good prices.”

Lapp would act as the store landlord, while the store would be managed by Amish community member Omer Petershien, Lapp said.

He said details regarding the store are still under discussion.