Keep your dollars close to home for the holidays
By Terry Oparka
C & G Staff Writer
Whether you’re doing a weekly grocery run, looking for locally brewed ale or starting your holiday shopping — it’s easier than ever to keep your money in Michigan, supporting local businesses and purchasing products made in the Great Lakes State.
The website www.buymichigannow.com features a comprehensive grocery guide and holiday guide, listing products from companies across the state that satisfy one of these three criteria: the company headquarters is in Michigan, it is a franchise owned by a Michigan resident or the company operates entirely in-state.
Lisa Diggs founded Buy Michigan Now five years ago as a campaign staffed by volunteers with the aim to get people thinking about buying local or Michigan-made products. About 3,500 businesses are currently listed on the site, representing different price points and geographic locations throughout the state.
“We hear from people that they would do it (buy local) more but they didn’t know how to start,” Diggs said. For example, in the dairy section of the grocery guide on the website, Zingerman’s Creamery, Guernsey, Calder Dairy and Country Dairy are listed. Breweries listed are Arbor Brewing, Atwater Block Brewery, Founders Brewing Company, Keweenaw Brewing Company, Michigan Brewing Company and Schmohz Brewery.
The holiday guide will feature 25 categories. Companies and products on the website are searchable by keyword or category.
“If they’re on our list, we’ve checked it out,” Diggs said. “And if your store doesn’t carry it, or products aren’t labeled, ask the retailer. Any retailer will make a change, if that’s what their customer wants to buy.”
In its sixth year, The Farmington Downtown Development Authority Wish List Window initiative offers a chance for those who shop in downtown Farmington between Nov. 23 and Dec. 17 at businesses listed on the website at www.downtownfarming ton.org/Downtown-Events/Whats-Happening/Wish-List-Win dow to win a $600 prize package for every $100 spent at the participating businesses.
“We had a lot of community support,” Annette Knowles, executive director of the Farmington DDA, said. “One of the members took the lead and doubled the number of participants this year. There are 11 $600 prize packages.” Businesses on the list run the gamut and include salons and spas, a shoe repair shop, a book store, a jewelry store, a barber shop, pubs, a restaurant, chiropractic clinics, florists, a photography studio, a clothing store and a skateboarding store.
“It’s an opportunity for local businesses to make themselves known and encourage local patronage,” she said. She added that participating businesses were very busy last year on the Saturday after Thanksgiving as a result of the program.
Troy resident Beth Ingram started Ingram’s Candies nine years ago as a hobby, which she said turned into an obsession to make products without preservatives. Her top sellers include toffee, gourmet Granny Smith caramel apples and chocolates.
She opened her first retail outlet in Troy at 1117 Long Lake, off Rochester, last month. Before that, she was strictly wholesale, and her products were sold in Nino Salvaggio International Marketplace, Beaumont Hospitals gift stores and Plum Markets.
“I bake fresh every day,” she said. She uses Belgian chocolate and organic dried cherries from Traverse City. “I was adamant that the store would be in Troy, and I’ve never seen such an outpouring of love,” she said of the community response since she opened. “People from the neighborhood were waiting for the opening. One woman sent us a freshly baked pie to welcome us.”
Another new venue is welcoming customers at the Mall at Partridge Creek: Art-Is-In Market, at 17420 Hall Road in Clinton Township, features work from more than 60 Michigan artists that ranges in price from affordable — starting at $10 — up to high-end, for thousands of dollars.
Owner Debbie LaPratt described the store as a one-of-a-kind place where artists come together. “It’s like an ongoing art show. The items change. It’s always evolving,” she said.
Items currently include a Christmas tree made from bicycle parts with reflectors as ornaments, fiber arts, candles, a sculpture, a 6-foot bear made from tree bark, photographs, metal garden art, Detroit-themed t-shirts and holiday items. A couple of artists are donating a portion of the proceeds from the sale of their work to charity.
LaPratt also owns and operates Art-Is-In Market stores at 12 Oaks Mall in Novi and Laurel Park Place Mall in Livonia.
The contributing artists also volunteer their time at the store, LaPratt said. “They’re really cool people with great stories,” she said.
Artists who wish to have their work considered for sale at the store may send an email to artisinmarke firstname.lastname@example.org. For information on store hours, check online at www.shoppartridgecreek.com/directory.
Detroit-themed items and many Michigan-made products are also sold at the Detroit Shoppe in the Somerset Collection North in Troy. Items include Faygo soft drinks, Better Made and Germack snacks, Sanders sweets, McClure’s Pickles and Pewabic Pottery pieces.
The store first opened in fall of 2010. A portion of the profits from merchandise sold benefits local charities. Food items are popular sellers at the store.
“Better Made chocolate-covered potato chips are flying off the shelves as we go into the holiday season,” Peter Van Dyke, publicist for the Somerset Collection, said. “The Made in Detroit apparel by Detroit rocker Kid Rock is also popular,” Van Dyke said. He added that, in addition to his signature beer and apparel, Kid Rock designed a barrel-style grill for cooking food outdoors, which sells for about $10,000, and a portion of the proceeds benefit local charities.
Feedback on the store from all generations is positive, Van Dyke said. “The new generation loves the Detroit-themed t-shirts and the older generations love to come in and reminisce. Elements in the store appeal to all generations.” For additional information about the store, check online at www.detroitmovesme.com.