10 Things Jay Lehman Says

Editor’s Note: This article was originally published in April 2016 for Jay Lehman’s 87th birthday. In honor of Father’s Day (this Sunday!), we’re sharing it with you again. We wish everyone a Happy Father’s Day!

“Dad is a man of few words,” said Galen Lehman, son of Jay Lehman and CEO of Lehman’s. Continue reading

Before Lehman’s: Jay’s service years in Europe

Jay Lehman, circa 1951

Jay Lehman, circa 1951, the time of his service with the PAX program. Four years later, he founded Lehman’s.

Jay “Junior” Lehman, a 21-year-old farm boy from Ohio, sailed to Europe in 1951 as part of the first wave of conscientious objectors to military service in a new program called Pax. Their freighter docked at Antwerp, Belgium, on April 6. Waiting for them on the dock was the program’s first director, Cal Redekop.

Redekop escorted the group of 20 draft-age men to Germany, where their first job was to turn Nazi poison-gas bunkers in Espelkamp into housing for World War II refugees. The Pax “boys,” as they were called, had no power tools or mechanized machinery. “It was all back-breaking labor,” said Redekop. Continue reading

Happy Earth Day: 40,000 Trees (Give or Take)

jay and galen with trees

Jay and Galen Lehman stand with a tree on Jay’s property outside Kidron, Ohio. Nearly all the trees in the photo were planted by Jay.

Today is Earth Day. And yesterday, our founder, Jay Lehman turned 86 years young. It’s fitting that Jay’s birthday neighbors a holiday dedicated to caring for the earth. Because Jay has spent decades – literally – planting thousands of trees – literally – around our store in Kidron, Ohio,  our office and warehouse building, and his home. It’s a “hobby” he’s passed on to son Galen (Lehman’s President) and grandson Matthew as well. And what a legacy it is – read on…

Fun Facts about Jay, Galen and TREES:

As of Spring 2014 (last year) Jay and Galen estimated they had planted about 50,000 trees.

They plant nearly all hardwoods – a mix of walnut, oak, cherry and sugar maple. This should allow a sustainable harvest of quality hardwood over the next 100 years.

jay with tractor of trees

Those are baby hardwoods in the back of Jay’s tractor. Jay planted them around our office and warehouse building in 2008.

Galen says: “200 years ago, when the first settlers arrived here, the land was covered with hardwood trees. It is said that you could walk from one side of Ohio to the other without seeing the sky. … I suppose Dad and I are just trying to put things back the way we found them. Most of the trees back then were chestnuts. Some of the beams in the oldest parts of our store, reconstructed from barns and cabins dating to the early 1800’s, are made of chestnut. A few lonely chestnut trees still stand near our our Kidron store. Somehow, they survived the blight that nearly wiped out the American Chestnut back in the 1950’s.”

Read more about Jay, Galen and planting trees here:



Happy Earth Day!

Youthview: Loving Traditional Family Thanksgivings

Alli Ervin, Youthview blogger.

Alli Ervin, Youthview blogger.

Last year we hosted Thanksgiving at our house for the first time in several years – I enjoyed the holiday more than I ever had before and that’s saying something because it’s one of my favorite occasions. It makes me feel warm and loved to have family (I am talking aunts, uncles, cousins, the whole gang, ranging in age from four years old to 84 years old) at our home.

I love helping my mom prepare the food and put out seasonal decorations. We live in a woods so tree branches, leaves and pine cones, artfully arranged in a large glass bowl, add great fall touches. I always get to choose which music we are going to play and what drinks to serve (a simple one is grape juice and 7-Up, garnished with orange slices) and, when everything is ready and the house smells like turkey and stuffing, we wait for the doorbell to ring.

The turkey is always a centerpiece of my family's traditional meal.

The turkey is always a centerpiece of my family’s traditional meal.

I have such a big, fun family and I love it when we’re all together*. The food is always amazing, especially at Thanksgiving. My mom and I often bake bread together, which is what she used to do with her mother. Our Thanksgiving menu is very traditional – we briefly discussed doing something different (how about a baked potato bar?) but the outcry was heard for miles. Turkey and ham, mashed potatoes, corn casserole, seven-layer salad, fresh bread, and more pies that you can count. My mom made deviled eggs last Thanksgiving (that’s one of her specialties) and forgot to get them out until after the meal. We enjoyed a round of appetizers after dessert and had a good laugh.

Even though it’s more work, hosting the holidays at your house is a great experience. It’s all about being with family and friends so if the cooking stresses you out, make it a pot luck carry in, or even call ahead and order something. Enjoy a meal and then, afterwards, (at least in my family), the men retire to watch football and yell at their favorite teams and the women do a craft (we had a fun one this year – more on that in the next blog).

No many how many times I get asked what grade I am; how I am doing at school or how tall I am (I grew 5 inches over the past year and am 5’8”, by the way) it’s always so much fun when my family is all together.

*Editor’s note: Allison’s grandfather is Jay Lehman, founder; her uncle is Galen Lehman, president; and her mother is Glenda Lehman Ervin, vice president.

Jay’s Puzzle: Phone Booths in Amish Country

amish phone booths,lehman's puzzle

Jay Lehman stands by his collage of phone booth photos. Now a puzzle, this poster can still be seen in our store in Kidron, OH.

In an age where “smart” phones are the norm, phone booths have become a rarity lately. Most people not only have a phone with them, they have instant access to the Internet (talk about coming a long way from the rotary phone!)

It’s no wonder some folks are surprised when they visit rural Amish Country. What has been deemed as no longer relevant is a necessity here. Because the Amish don’t use telephones in their homes, phone booths provide a place for them to make calls in case of an emergency or for business purposes. Continue reading

Want to visit Lehman’s in Kidron? Ignore your GPS!

These nice folks came all the way from West Virginia! Their GPS sent them to our offices. Silly GPS!

These nice folks came all the way from West Virginia! Their GPS sent them to our offices. Silly GPS!

It’s a long story…but let’s just say that Kidron’s not Brigadoon, even if your GPS insists there’s a different location.

You see, our warehouse and business offices are just a couple of miles away from our Kidron store. Both are located off Ohio State Route 30, and both locations are on streets that have names beginning with the letter “K.”

Sometimes, GPS units get confused, and want to send visitors to the office. We find the offices very exciting, but you are probably looking for a more enjoyable place to spend the day.

Here’s a primer on how to get to Lehman’s in Kidron, Ohio. Pair this with these mapping directions, and you’ll be fine. Continue reading