Amish Acres appeals to a growing number of investors

NAPPANEE, Ind. - After 50 years, the historic Amish Acres property is hitting the auction block. The owners of the former Michiana mainstay are retiring. The property now broken up into several parcels is set to go to auction Feb. 5th.

The 28-acre plot is much more than just property to those in Nappanee. It was a landmark for great food, an amazing theatre and family-friendly good time before closing its doors for good on New Year’s Day.

“I can remember going there as a small child for lunch.” “Then I can remember taking my grandkids there and just enjoying the area,” Sonja Scherer, one resident said.

Residents remember the historic Amish Acres, in all its glory.

“You just watched the people come and go. Growing up here I watched it when it was downtown and to watch it move out there and to just grow as to what it has grown into, it hurts to see it close, but I understand,” Sheila Losee, one resident said.

The family farm, store, restaurant and round barn theater were in operation for 50 years but the owners are retiring and now the land is being auctioned off on Feb. 5th.

The 28-acre plot has already been divided into 16 different parcels.

“We’ve got a whole plethora of different types of properties from commercial to the venues themselves,” Roger Diehm with Schrader Auction Company said.

He said selling the land in parcels helps sell the whole property.

“Hopefully it will be a more robust sale and it brings more people to the table that might have a use for the smaller pieces – versus one buyer for 28 acres is going to be a, there’ll be less people that might be interested in the 28 acres as a whole,” Diehm said.

Three of historic buildings could disappear--the Meat and Cheese building, the Soda and Fudge Shop and the Cider and Grist Mill can be moved off the property by any new owners, the rest have to stay put.

Several investors have already taken a close look.

 “A lot. There’s been a lot of interest,” he said. “We’ve had people from Florida, we’ve had people from several states.”

“The interest comes from different levels because we do so many things here. Many people are coming for the foodservice opportunities, others coming because of the lodging opportunities and/or the theater opportunities,” Richard Pletcher, the owner said.

However, Nappanee residents say they hope the Amish Acres legacy is carried on and that it stays in the city.

“I would like someone to purchase the major components of it and keep it going if we can,” Scherer said.

“If another group comes in I just hope they keep it all together and it can thrive again just like it was before,” Losee said.

“Obviously if we had our choice, it would be someone who would pick up where we’ve left off, continue it on and expand it and change it into the future. If that’s not possible than any combination of those things would be a benefit to the community as well,” Pletcher said.

There have been reports out that HGTV celebrities Chip and Joanna Gaines are interested ABC57 reached out to their publicist who says those claims are false.

On Saturday there is an open house, three of four that are taking place before the official auction on Feb. 5th.

However, Pletcher said that the entire property can be bought before the auction if someone chooses that option.

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