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 four Michigan-made gift ideas that will both delight your loved one and help your community. Who, after all, doesn’t appreciate a two-fer?
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
Beau Bien Fine Foods will be setting up shop 5-11 p.m. on Friday, December 7 at the 3rd Annual Holiday Food Bazaar (2900 E. Grand Blvd.,
Detroit) and 5- 9 p.m. on Wednesday, December 12 at Mix at the Max at the Max M. Fisher Music Center (3711 Woodward Avenue, Detroit; 313- 576-5111).
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: email@example.com
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
Royal Oak Brewery Beer
Have a beer lover in the family? One of the many benefits to the surge of microbreweries is the availability of and appreciation for local craftsmanship. And nowhere does this appreciation better belong than the Royal Oak Brewery, a quaint Royal Oak Brewhaus that offers some of the most delicious locally made beer in the region. ROB’s Brewer, Tim Selewski, could not be more excited about this year’s Winter Lager. “It’s an amber lager with a high hop content,” says Selewski who is also working on something he’s calling Whiskey Barrel Double Cream Porter, a special
2012 brew that we hear is something to behold.
The Royal Oak Brewery offers a Growler Gift Pack which includes four logo pint glasses, a free growler and a certificate for one free fill-up. Growler Gift Packs are $25 each. Authors note: Growler beer typically lasts about a week if unopened. Once opened, it should be consumed within 48 hours. Visit royaloakbrewery.com for more information.