We’re thrilled to say that Governor Whitmer has continued a tradition we started with the help of Governor Granholm over a decade ago, of issuing a proclamation to officially designate seven consecutive summer days each year as Buy Michigan Week (July 28-Aug 4). Now around here we like every day to be about buying local throughout our state so you may wonder what the point of focusing on one week each year is. To shed some light, here’s a quick look back at the history.
When we started this campaign in 2007, even people in the automotive capitol of the world had stopped caring where the car they were driving was assembled. Online shopping was just taking off. People frequently told me that it was a global economy now so there was no point in caring about buying local. Then conditions got even more dire, favorite businesses closed, unemployment skyrocketed, people lost their homes, and the auto industry tinkered on the precipice of collapse. Suddenly my friends and neighbors started to agree that maybe it did matter. By selecting just one week, we knew we could capture people’s attention, including the media, and send a strong message that purchasing decisions do make a difference…that EACH OF US can make a difference.
A decade later, businesses all over the state are proudly touting that they are Michigan-based. Local products are frequently labeled as such. Consumers are paying more attention to where their dollars are going, and the economy is much more robust. That last piece is exactly why we still need Buy Michigan Week. Whenever anything improves, complacency becomes an easy trap. For example, communities gather together and rally behind a local retail store and save it, only to forget about them months later and return to online shopping. So, once a year, in bad times and in better times, we are calling upon you to stand up, take notice, make a little extra effort, and inspire those around you to join in. Old habits really are hard to break. The small businesses of our state, who overwhelmingly provide the majority of our jobs, need us to remember to put them first when making buying decisions whenever we can.
Here are just 10 ways you can take part in Buy Michigan Week July 28-August 4, and have fun doing it.
- Buy some kind of fresh Michigan produce that you’ve never tried before from a farmers market or independent grocer. Pick a new recipe and tantalize your palate.
- Host a barbecue or party and serve up local food, beer, wine or craft cocktails. Ask each of your guests to bring a Michigan-made product as a gift for another guest…like a “white elephant,” but everyone ends up with something great. Who says gifts are only for December?
- Submit an editorial, letter to the editor, or comment to your favorite newspaper or online site encouraging people to buy locally. If that’s too much work or not your style, then how about social media. List 5 Michigan-made, grown, or assembled products that rock your world on your social media feed and challenge others to do the same. Use #BuyMInow so we can follow along.
- Ask your favorite restaurants and stores to carry more Michigan-made wine, beer, and food.
- If you own a business, analyze any of your expenditures that are going out of state and see if there is a way to keep more of that money local. Where does your insurance come from? Who hosts your website? What kind of coffee or water is in your breakroom? Divulge changes you make on social media and tag @BuyMichiganNow so we can brag about you.
- Make a point to stop into your 3 of your favorite locally-owned businesses during Buy Michigan Week, and tell them why you purposefully stopped by.
- Invite friends and family from out of state to come visit!
- Talk to your kids about the benefits of buying locally and taking pride in their home state. Ask them to do a little research and come up with a list of their favorite products made here at home.
- You know that locally-owned shop, restaurant, bar, etc., that you’ve been driving by for years, but never been in? You have a whole week. Pick a day between July 24 and August 4 and see what it looks like in there.
- Come to our official party. Gather a bunch of friends or family and attend, volunteer, or become a vendor at the 11th Buy Michigan Now Festival in downtown Northville August 2-4.
Don’t be complacent, take on an active role. Together, we will continue to revitalize Michigan’s economy…one product, one purchase, one person at a time.