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).
What's your favorite Michigan-made product? Tell us in the comments below.