Owner Talks History & Success of a Bremen Favorite
Photographer / Jubilee Edgell
Leroy Hochstetler first opened the Rentown Country Store in Bremen in 1987 with one shelf of product. He ran it until 2010, when his son, Dennis, took over. Today, Dennis runs the store with his wife. In 2015, the decision was made to expand the store across the street to facilitate the number of people coming to visit the store.
“We added on four times until the county said we can’t add on anymore,” Dennis explains. “[In 2015], we built the new store where it is now, and we’ve just been going from there.”
The rich family history stretches back before the store opened, with Dennis’ grandfather and his friend coining the name “Rentown” in the 1950s and 60s. The men were well-known for being involved in the community after their retirement, spending time out and around the town.
“In the Pennsylvania Dutch language, ‘rum-renna’ means ‘getting about,’” Dennis says. “These two neighbor guys were always going here and there, and they said if we don’t watch us, people are going to call us Rentown.”
Today, the store is known as a magnificent hub for fresh produce, deli meats and cheeses. Dennis and his wife prioritize supporting local farmers and selling it in their shop. Currently, they are selling product from four growers within a 10-mile radius. Their main focus, though, is their meats and cheeses.
“Four years ago, I went through my invoices and added up all the cheese we sold, and it was a little more than two tons of cheese,” he says. “We always try to keep the freshest cheese in Northern Indiana and the lowest price.”
They also value giving back to their community. Once a year, they host Rentown Old Fashion Days. This year, it will take place on September 6 and 7. This family-friendly event not only brings people to the area, but it acts as a fundraiser for Rolling Meadows, the local parochial school.
“We have train rides for the kids, a petting zoo, pony rides, there’s a steam show, and of course lots and lots of food,” Dennis says. “That is just around the corner from the store, on Birch Road. We have more than 50 antique vendors there. Painting, popcorn, hamburgers, brats, we make all that stuff. There’ll just be a lot of fun for everybody.”
On Friday night, the festivities begin at 3 pm and run until dark. On Saturday, folks are welcome from 9 am until 3 pm. All proceeds from the event will go directly to funding the school.
If you’re itching for more after the Old Fashion Days, make sure to come back on November 9 for their Super Saturday. The store, along with 11 other businesses, will slash prices for one day in preparation for the holiday season. There will also be a $500 cash giveaway, too.
You can visit Rentown Country Store at 1533 3rd Road in Bremen or give them a call at 574-546-9010. They are open Monday through Friday from 8 am to 6 pm, and they are open on Saturday from 8 am to 5 pm.