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Buy Michigan Now Experiment - May 1-24

by Guest Blogger: Jennifer Berkemeier on May 24th 2010

Hello all you fans of Michigan! Thanks for taking the time to check out the blog. 

To anyone who is new to the blog and the Buy Michigan Now experiment, here is a quick summary: I challenged myself and boyfriend Pat to buy only Michigan-made products, or items from a Michigan-based store, or things made with Michigan ingredients for six months. Could we possibly do this?  
Ok, so here we are moving quickly into week TEN of the Buy Michigan Now experiment. Let’s tick a few things off here…I think I’ve got all my basic necessities covered: Lawn care – check! Groceries – check! Pet food – check! Morning coffee splurge – check! But what about the fun stuff? Read on with me and see how I handle two anniversaries and three birthdays…and find a little something for me, too.
May 1 - I’m feeling a little pressure this blog; why? It’s my two year old niece’s birthday, that’s why. It’s crucial I get this right…I have to be the best aunt. No, it’s not that serious (but close). To find my beautiful little niece that perfect dress, I head out to St. Clair Shores to the amazing Connie’s Children’s Shop on Greater Mack Avenue. People, this is the place you need to go when you need THAT dress, that frilly, charming, adorable dress or outfit that will make all the other two year olds go “waaah”. Pat and I bought not just “the” dress, but also a sporty Puma number and the cutest little pjs. Pat got a very manly little get-up for his nephew too that will make him the envy of all his play dates. Connie’s has been locally owned since its inception decades ago; the staff is friendly and helpful too. Make the drive out to St. Clair Shores; it’s definitely worth the trip! 
Now, I’m just getting started. My sister’s anniversary is coming up and I can’t keep falling back on the gift of gourmet food! How can I be creative and functional at the same time? Pat and I decide to drive to Plymouth to the Plymouth Pottery Guild, and we were blown away. We had never seen so many gorgeous works of art, and all so reasonably priced. We got a beautiful serving platter and a deep azure blue bowl for my sister and her husband; I hope they weren’t expecting gourmet pastries. The Plymouth Pottery Guild is simply a delightful store filled with treasures you won’t believe; the drive alone is worth the trip and I look forward to November for their holiday sale!
Pat and I finish off the day to get some basics for our nieces and nephews; socks, stretch pants, tank tops and shirts with little race cars on them at the ultimate Michigan shopping mecca, Meijer. Meijer has become our great fall back for just about everything. 
May 2 – Pat decides ENOUGH IS ENOUGH and it’s about time he used that Christmas gift card, so he makes a trip to Dunham’s Sports for a little treat for himself. Because he’s a friendly person, he chats with the cashier who tells him that not only is Dunham’s a locally owned store, it used to be simply a bait and tackle shop, way back when. All outdoorsy people (like myself) could not be more thrilled and happy that the quick-thinking people at Dunham’s decided to expand to hiking shoes, kayaks, running shoes and socks, and any type of sports wear you can imagine, and offer it all at very reasonable prices. Pat ends up with baseball cleats and a new bat to help him out on his new league; he’s just happy to finally use the gift card that’s been burning a hole in his duffel bag for a while.
May 5 – I take a needed break from work downtown and decide I’m going to amble down to see my friends at the Inside Detroit Welcome Center. Not only is this the best place to get info on Detroit, you can also buy t-shirts, soaps, candles, books, and little green purses with flowers on them for your niece! So buy I did, a shirt for Pat, purse for the niece, and little Detroit t-shirt for the nephew. It’s very possible that at this point I just may have enough gifts for the little ones!
May 7 – I can’t resist and after trying to hold back I do buy a romantic dinner cruise for two aboard the Charity Island Ferry, departing from East Tawas. I learned about this very cool little day trip when stopping for gas last summer up north. I was hooked! Pat and I will leave the mainland, cruise out to the island and we’ll be served a nice dinner while the sun sets. Then we and our new boat load of best friends will head back with lots of photos and memories. There are many trips like this out to Michigan’s countless islands; you just have to look!
May 12 – Now that the shopping for the little ones is out of the way, I can focus on Pat and my brother-in-law. How am I keeping all these celebrations straight?? Lots of sticky notes. Anyway, I kill two birds with one stone and head to Meadow’s Fine Wine and Liquor in Farmington Hills. This extremely friendly store has aisles and aisles of wine and beer (and even a little diet Faygo for me). The owners are proud of their Michigan wine and beer selection, and have all the Michigan home brews well-marked. It is nearly impossible to decide but I leave with some DragonMeade, Arcadia Ale and some GhettoBlaster beer; the guys will love it.
May 13 – Spoiler alert! If you’re Pat, please don’t read any further! I do know what will make him happy and buy two tickets to a Tigers game in July. Now we just need to hope that Mother Nature cooperates and gives us a beautiful night for some peanuts and popcorn. 
May 22 – Where do I go when someone gives me books and cds on their birthday list? Isn’t it obvious…Border’s Books, OF COURSE? What a great, friendly, comprehensive place to shop for someone who likes books and music (my brother-in-law). Being an avid reader myself, I get lost wandering around, and thirty minutes later have almost forgotten I’m not there buying for me. I do end up with two cds, yes more little ABC games for my niece and a book. And none of it for me; hard to believe. 
May 22 – After all this shopping, I am exhausted! I need a little pick-me-up, and what is going to be the best way to do that?   The obvious answer to that is how to best pamper myself – I’m thinking ice cream and a little online beauty shopping. I pull up to the now familiar parking lot in front of Ashby’s Sterling Ice cream and try their chocolate peanut butter ice cream and some Snicker’s ice cream; that’s right…TWO scoops! It is sooo good and so worth it. 
I head home and decide to try a new (to me) online beauty shop called I do have an excuse for indulging in skin care in that I have very hard to buy for skin; I have such sensitive skin on my face that I search and search and buy and throw away usually. Online, I buy a jar of the Organic Girl Everyday Cream, and it is like a little bit of heaven every time I smooth it on. It’s made with all natural ingredients and I feel younger already. Was it the ice cream or the face cream? Not really sure.
Oh and by the way, for my parents’ anniversary – we’re taking them to Mexican Town!
Join me next time when I give you some practical tips to get you started on your way to being a true Michigan shopper!

User Comments (2)

I think there are two ice cream places you should know about; Ray's Ice Cream located on Coolidge Rd. in Royal Oak, MI. and Ritter's Ice Cream located on 8 Mile Rd. at Merriman Rd. in Livonia, MI. Each of these stores has quality ice cream and each is different from the other. Ray's is open year-round, whereas Ritter's is open from April thru December. You just have to try these two stores! Each is different from the other, but each is top notch on its own. My wife and I love both stores, but since we now live in Livonia, Ritter's is our choice. Happy summer eating.
Hi Jennifer - Did you have any luck finding greeting cards for all those birthdays and anniversaries? You should try Avanti - based in downtown Detroit, they have cards for every occasion, and you can buy them at many of the Michigan stores you are already shopping at, including Meijer. I work for Avanti so this is shameless self-promotion but I also really think what you are doing is pretty cool, so keep up the good work!

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