An American religious group made business news with a recent study showing that the number of Amish involved in commercial business has surpassed those who farm for a living.
In some Amish communities, 80 percent of the population work in factories or small businesses, according to the second edition of "Amish Enterprise: From Plows to Profits," written by Donald B. Kraybill and Steven M. Nolt (Johns Hopkins University Press).
Overall, the figure could be as high as 60 percent -- 20 percentage points higher than a decade ago.
One of the most striking discoveries is the success rate of Amish entrepreneurs, 20 percent of whom are women. Only 5 percent of Amish small businesses fail, compared with the national default rate of 50 percent.
"These folks are not just making buckets and brooms," Kraybill said, adding that the most popular Amish products include fine furniture, lawn furniture, storage sheds, quilts and leather goods.
"Many of these firms are sizable operations with annual sales over several million dollars," he said.
Brainerd Dispatch ©2013. All Rights Reserved.