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Buy Michigan Now Experiment - June 1-22

by Guest Blogger: Jennifer Berkemeier on Jun 25th 2010

Welcome to my BuyMichiganNow blog! I am halfway through my six month commitment to buy as many Michigan-made products from Michigan-based stores as I possibly can…and I’m LOVIN’ it! 

For those of you new to the blog, my boyfriend Pat and I made a six month commitment to alter our habits and change our mindset about the way we typically shop and where we spend our money. The Buy Michigan Now Experiment emphasizes keeping as much money in Michigan as possible.
When we started back in March, we had no idea how the experiment would go! I have to say, I’ve been completely surprised at how EASY it’s been to find Michigan products and stores for nearly all of our basic needs…and also how fun it’s been! We have met some of the most wonderful people, been introduced to some exciting and innovative new products and broadened our horizons with things I would have never known about if we hadn’t taken The Pledge.
Many people feel they don’t have enough time to make a similar commitment, or even make just a few changes. I would counter that and say most people actually do have enough time to make a difference. Here are a few tips on how YOU TOO can become a Michigan shopper in eight easy steps:
1) Take the Pledge! Make a firm commitment to change as many of your buying habits as possible. Determine the areas in which you feel you can make these changes and then go for it!
2) Identify your basics. These could be areas such as groceries, lawn care, kids, pets, hobbies, etc. Figure out what you “need” in life and find a Michigan based store or product to meet those needs. For me, it took about 20 minutes one morning doing online searches, using the BuyMichiganNow Blue Pages or doing other online searches to cover all my basic purchasing needs. You can also just pick up the phone and call any company to ask them if they’re a Michigan-based company.
3) Download the Grocery Guide from the BuyMichiganNow homepage. This is easy to do and puts so many Michigan-based products at your fingertips. Keep it in your car or purse or someplace easily accessible. Purchase items off this list as much as possible, no matter where you shop. 
4) Be aware. So many of us just jump in the car and go shopping, go out to eat, or go online and click to purchase without taking a few short minutes to find out where that store is based. Again, it just takes a minute to pick up the phone and call that business before you go to find out if they’re a Michigan store.
5) Be willing to take a little more time. Yes, quite often in the quest to Buy Michigan I do drive out of my way…but not too much and it’s worth the extra one or two miles I may have to drive. This is part of the commitment! 
6) Talk to people! I have found one of the most effective ways to find new Michigan products is to open your mouth and start talking to people about it. It turns out that almost everyone knows about a Michigan-based store or product and they’re happy to recommend it.
7) Have some fun! Once you’ve identified your basics, indulge yourself and figure out what your splurges are. Is it ice cream? Beauty products? Books and music? Photography? Sipping coffee on an outdoor patio? Go ahead – indulge. You will have no problem satisfying your not so guilty pleasures and hobbies using Michigan-based stores and products.  
8) Think local. Turn to the city in which you live for help and guidance. Go online to your city’s local government page and sign up for entertainment updates, things to do in your city, new restaurant openings, art festivals, concerts in parks, etc. You will most likely be amazed at what your city, and neighboring cities, have to offer. 
If you do all of these things, you will be amazed at how quickly you too can become a true blue Michigan shopper. If you follow all of these steps, I can guarantee you will up the percentage of how much of your money stays in Michigan to at least 60%. You can do it!!
Now, here is your tip for the week on how to get started being a Michigan shopper. I can tell it to you in two words: FARMERS MARKET. Get up on a Saturday, drive to the closest or biggest farmers market that you can find, and let yourself go. I have found that this is the single best place and way to truly buy Michigan. Not only can you buy fruits and vegetables, you can also find flowers, plants, herbs and eggs; moving on to the fun stuff you can also find chocolates, honeybee candles, naturally scented soaps, pottery, photography, breads, muffins, coffee…the list goes on. This is one of the best and most relaxing ways to spend a Saturday morning, and you can’t get much more local than a farmers market.
Thanks for reading! Until next time – Buy Michigan!

User Comments (1)

Hi, Jen. I have really enjoyed reading your blogs, but haven't seen one in a while. How is your experiment going?

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