Did you know that if every Michigan household shifted just $10 of our weekly spending to Michigan-made products collectively we would put around $38 million a week back into our local economy? That’s nearly $2 billion a year. All politics aside, this is a way that we can each participate in true job creation.
This week, July 30-August 5, has been officially proclaimed Buy Michigan Week by Governor Snyder. The idea is to get people to discover and publicly talk about locally-produced merchandise and Michigan-based businesses in the hope that others will be inspired to learn about them too. You may be thinking we should do that all year round, and I certainly agree, but let’s just start with this one week and make a splash together.
Here are ten ways you and your family can celebrate Buy Michigan Week and contribute to the revitalization of Michigan’s economy.
Discover One New Product: Look in shops and farmers markets for one locally-made or grown product that you have never tried before. Buy it and try it.
Stop and Shop: All of us have at least one independent business that we pass by all the time, but have never been in. Pick one out, pull over, and pop in this week. Small businesses hiring one or two more people are the backbone of a thriving economy. They need our support, and who knows what delights you might discover.
Throw a BBQ or Dinner Party with an All Michigan Menu: From salad ingredients to meats and seafood, condiments to beverages, and appetizers to desserts, it’s relatively easy to create a meal entirely of Michigan-made products. Challenge yourself to do it and invite friends and family to come over and bring a dish too. It will provide a great way to have fun and start a good “buy local” conversation.
Create a 100% Michigan Recipe: If you love to cook then you probably already take advantage of the abundance of fresh foods available in the nation’s most agriculturally diverse state. Mix some of those ingredients and local products together into a recipe all your own, and then share it with the world.
Involve the Kids: If you’ve got children, grandchildren, nieces or nephews, this week provides an excellent opportunity to talk with them about reading labels and knowing where products come from. They may not be making that many buying decisions yet, but they are subconsciously forming shopping habits by watching you. When you make a switch to a Detroit-made potato chip from a national brand, or visit an independent shop instead of an out-of-state chain, have a conversation with them about why you are making the change, and the jobs you are supporting by doing it.
Brag on Social Media: The advent of social media has given us all a platform for sharing opinions, pictures, recommendations, etc. If used well, it can be an incredible tool for small businesses to grow their client base, especially when loyal customers help them. Think about the businesses in your town that you love most and take to social media to brag about them. Take pictures of Michigan-made products you adore and encourage others to try them. Use the hashtag #BuyMIweek to follow what people are posting.
Challenge a Store or Restaurant: Take a look at menus in restaurants and shelves in stores. Are they actively serving and selling local products? If yes, tell them you appreciate that, and make a purchase. If not, ask them why not? Make recommendations of products you would purchase if they carried or served them. You may be surprised how many will adjust if a customer asks.
Download the FREE Buy Michigan Now App: This app contains a directory of Michigan-based businesses and a Grocery Guide that will help you find new products to try. Text BUYMINOW to 57780 and they will send you a link to download the app or search Buy Michigan Now in the App Store or GooglePlay. If you’re not a fan of apps you can also find similar information at www.BuyMichiganNow.com.
Pledge: One way to convince more businesses to buy or sell Michigan-made products is to demonstrate that as a community we care that they do. If you are willing to “…be part of the solution by speaking positively about the state, learning about our products and services, and making a concerted effort to buy from Michigan businesses,” then take that pledge and invite friends and family to join you.
Attend the Buy Michigan Now Festival: For the past five years, Northville has hosted this celebration of local businesses and products. You’ll find Michigan-made apparel and accessories, art, jewelry, pet food, patio furniture, rain barrels, and more. All of the participating businesses are Michigan-based and they come from over 60 communities around the state. It’s also a foodie’s delight, chock full of marinades, spices, sauces, and sweets to sample and take home. Talented local musicians provide the soundtrack, and there’s plenty of activities for the children as well.
Those are just ten ideas of how to actively support Buy Michigan Week and our local business community. I look forward to hearing which ones you try and to hearing other ideas as well. Together we can make a difference.