Bins of saltwater taffy brim with flavors of cherry, banana, strawberry, apple, vanilla and more.
Glass jars full of Jelly Belly candies line the back wall, and an old-fashioned cooler stores bottles of Coca-Cola Classic and IBC root beer and cream soda.
Nearby, an overturned barrel plays table for a checkers set, inviting customers to take a load off and sit awhile.
H. Souder & Sons General Store, at 13535 Main St. in Grabill, is tiny in square footage, but the sheer amount of goods to see, hear and smell makes the store seem much larger.
A lot (of people) from Fort Wayne come, sales clerk Lori Bearman says. I think they like it because when they walk in, it reminds them of their childhood.
Grabill is a small town on the map, centered in the midst of country roads that are often dotted by horse droppings from the buggy traffic in the area. Somehow, it only adds to the towns quaint appeal.
A good part of Grabills old-fashioned appeal comes from its large Amish population, which arrived to the area in 1852, according to Grabills town website.
Drivers are just as likely to see buggies driven by Amish families as they are to see a motorcycle or minivan. The Amish own a good number of the businesses in the area – including restaurants and home stores selling cheese and quilts – and on the drive into Grabill, their homes stand out because of the lines and lines of laundry drying in the sun.
Also adding to Grabills appeal is its lack of any type of major shopping center or super store. Time is more leisurely, and the old-time feel of H. Souder & Sons is replicated throughout the town, making Grabill a perfect springtime getaway for a day.
What to do
The general store is near the corner of Main Street and Grabill Road (which doubles as State Street), sharing the spot with the Country Shops of Grabill (13756 State St.), a two-story sprawling building that includes an antique mall and flea market.
Bearman says the two spots are definite draws for the town, as are NAPA Auto Parts store (13430 Main St.) and the two Amish-operated grocery stores, Save A Lot (13325 State St.) and Grabill Country Sales (13813 Fairview Drive).
The latter offers Amish bulk foods, such as powdered soup mixes, noodles, dried fruits and a variety of nut butters stored in clear plastic containers stacked next to the grinding machine.
The butter looks thick and delicious, with flavors like hazelnut peanut butter, chocolate peanut butter and almond butter.
Where to eat
The biggest food draw in town, Bearman says, is the Grabill Inn (13706 Fairview Drive), which features down-home food such as steaks, fresh pies, apple dumplings, Texas barbecue, pizzas and more.
Upon driving into town, before you hit the country store/antique mall corner, there is a green house on the right.
It is home to a coffee shop, featuring coffee beans roasted by H. Souder & Sons. Even the prices hearken back to an older time – coffee is 50 cents and iced cappuccinos range from $1 to $1.99.
The café seems more specialty shop than coffee shop, with gourmet teas, hot chocolate flavors and more in the adjoining shop.
Before you leave, be sure to stop at Grabill Dairy Sweet (13305 State St.), an ice cream stand with more than ice cream – get dinners (fish, frog legs, Buffalo wings) or sugar-free yogurt; dine in or eat out.