While it might seem like a fleeting phenomenon, the truth is that the “shop local” movement is much more than a passing fad. Be it the change in the economic climate that has forced many of us to rethink the way we spend, or, the rising popularity of craftsmanship in America, the simple practice of shopping local is actually serious business that can have a real, lasting and measurable impact on our environment.
A recent study by the Michigan State University Center for Community and Economic Development compared independent business with national chains and found that local businesses provide significantly better economic and cultural benefits to communities. The study found that for every $100 spent at a local business, $74 dollars stays in the community; but, for every $100 spent at a chain, only $24 stayed local. Findings also demonstrated that that local businesses create more jobs, contribute more to local charities, reduce environmental impact, offer better customer service and add uniqueness to neighborhoods.
This year’s Small Business Saturday yielded a lot for local retailers, but, if you are not one for pre-ordained shopping days (or you just can’t stomach the crowds), there’s still plenty of time to finish your Christmas shopping. And if you’ve still got some stockings to fill and some people to wow— here are some Michigan-made gift ideas that will both delight your loved one and help your community. Who, after all, doesn’t appreciate a two-fer?
Deneweth's Garden Center
Deneweth's Garden Center in Hartland offers several Made in Michigan products including Towne Club pop.
From the Vroomer's Facebook page: Vroomers is proud to introduce our line of vintage vehicle inspired slippers. Classic cars and vintage travel trailers started the line, with expansion into classic boats and retro trucks.
Colasanti's offers a variety of handmade gifts baskets.
BETTER MADE SNACK FOODS, Detroit – 313-925-4774
Who can resist the taste of a freshly made Better Made Snack Foods, especially their new Zesty Party Mix and Jalapeno Cheddars Cheese Puffs! Better Made has a delicious variety of snack foods for any party, office gathering, celebration, birthday and more, including a Sampler Box containing 15 different varieties of snacks. Available at stores throughout Michigan and at the company’s on-line store. http://bmchips.com/Chip-Store.aspx. Prices vary.
DETROIT POPCORN COMPANY, Detroit – 313-387-1600
There’s something about this time of year that brings out the popcorn lover in all of us! Whether it’s freshly popped movie-style popcorn on the stovetop or a trio of different gourmet popcorns in a beautiful tin, popcorn is tastier this time of year. Maybe it’s the weather, maybe it’s the changing colors, or perhaps it’s the excitement of the holidays. The Detroit Popcorn Company has several ways to enjoy your favorite flavor of popcorn. 14950 Telegraphs in Redford. www.detroitpopcorn.com. Tins run between $$19.99 to $40 depending on what you order.
Founded in 2010 by Ferndale resident Noelle Lothamer and her business partner Molly O’Meara, Beau Bien Fine Foods produces fine jams and condiments. The simple and beautiful jars look gorgeous on the shelf and their ingredients are sourced from Detroit-area growers and retailers (whenever possible) and include the following flavors:
- Blueberry Lemon Vanilla (top seller)
- Cranberry Bourbon Sauce
- Mixed Michigan Berry
- Peach Chipotle
- Peach Lemon Lavendar
- Peach Bourbon Vanilla
- Strawberry Hibiscus
- Plum Cardamom
- Plum Orange
- Plum Star Anise
- Cranberry Apple Chutney
- Blueberry Chutney
- Peach Ginger Chutney
- Cranberry Mustard
- Spicy Apple Mustard
Owned by Ferndale resident Carey Gustafson, Glass Action! has become a favorite among localcrafters and collectors for her pop culture-themed glass nightlights. Gustafson is Ferndale-based — and in addition to being a co-founder of local urban craft fair, Handmade Detroit—is a cool, young mom who has helped to produce several local events including the incredibly popular DIY Street Fair in Downtown Ferndale.
Earlier this year, Gustafson’s handmade Conan O’Brien-themed nightlight made it to the Top Three entries in O’Brien’s NYCoCoMoca exhibit in NYC. Gustafson will make customized nightlights (just provide her with a hotograph!) and has an Etsy store here: http://www.etsy.com/shop/GlassAction.
For custom requests email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Tom Perkins, owner of locally based Perkins Pickles has fast made a name for himself in the pickle business. Sound silly? Maybe so, but, the tiny upstart won the Leelanau Peninsula Pickle-Off last year, and even got a thumbs up from celebrity ginger, Mario Batali who called the treats the “best he’d ever tried.”
Perkins Pickles are unique in that they are made fresh every week and are kept cold from start to finish. “Most pickles are heated during the canning process. Ours are not. That keeps them a little crisper and fresher. We also do small batches each week and make just enough to sell over the next week,” says Perkins. So, if you are buying a jar of Perkins Pickles, you are never getting pickles that are more than a week old. There are no preservatives at all. Perkins Pickles has also started to make chow chow, a pickled vegetable medley.
Perkins Pickles products are sold at:
- Whole Foods in Troy
- Whole Foods in West Bloomfield
- Whole Foods in Rochester Hills
- Holiday Market in Royal Oak
- Western Market in Ferndale
- Plum Market in West Bloomfield
- Door To Door Organics
- Eastern Market in Detroit
- Royal Oak Farmers Market
- Rust Belt Market in Ferndale
DEARBORN SAUSAGE CO.,Dearborn - 313-842-2375
Nothing says holiday season quite like the taste of a delicious, fresh spiral cut Dearborn Brand Ham with its sweet crunchy glaze! Available in a wide variety of price ranges, Dearborn Brand hams are good cold or warmed up and are great for any holiday meal or as a thank you gift to family, friends, clients and employees. www.dearbornsausage.com Prices vary with size and order. Also new for 2012 is a traditional holiday-style fresh Polish sausage, which is made with coarser ground chunks of meat the way grandma used to make!
SRODECK’S PIEROGI AND POLISH FOODS – Hamtramck, 313-871-8080
With over 30 varieties of fresh home-made Pierogi - from fruit to potato/cheese, to kraut and meat - and hard to find traditional Polish items like candies, breads, pickles, relishes, Kiskas, liquors, and more, Srodek’s at 9601 Jos. Campau has everything you need for a traditional Polish holiday season! Now with three generations of Srodek men at the helm, the store prepares all their products in house and has in-house smokers. Srodeks’s caters to many of the area’s largest Polish festivals. www.srodek.com.