Friday, November 14, 2014

Michigan Holiday Shopping Guide: Buy Local


 In an article published last year, the American Independent Business Alliance highlighted a shift in consumer behavior. More and more frequently, consumers choose to shop at local and independent shops, i.e. buy locally.

There are some great reasons to buy locally, and not just because we believe Michigan makes the best items around (though we do!)  First, let’s do the math. 

For every $100 spent at a local and independent business, $68 stays in the local economy*. This is what economists call the multiplier effect – meaning the money is then re-spent by the owners and employees of the first shop at other restaurants, clothing stores, bars, spas, gift stores, dentists, auto mechanics, and more. By contrast that same $100 spent at big national chain retailers recirculates, at best, only $43. That means the difference between shopping locally and at a chain store is a 58% increase in the multiplier.
*This stat and the others are according to the Andersonville Study of Retail Economics.
Build and Strengthen Your Community – Neighborhood businesses and the surrounding spaces are some of the ultimate social networking sites. Local businesses often purchase their own services from local area businesses, thus helping with the above multiplier effect.
Enhance Choices and Shape Character – This applies both to you and your community. Even a Gap sweater pales if your co-worker has the same one. Supporting local and independent businesses allow for more unique gifts and diverse choices. Michigan has some amazing one of a kind shops and your community stores can help you find the perfect gift for that hard to shop for family member. 
While it’s no secret that we LOVE Michigan companies and that we have a great listing of companies on our website, you may be surprised at what can be found. . . .We encourage you to take a spin around the PTMIM website and check it out. In advance of Black Friday and the Holiday shopping rush, we thought we’d take a moment and highlight a few items for your review. 
Food and Household Items
Michigan is the home of some great craft brews, delicious homemade baked goods, and even some great make at home goodies like PopDaddy Popcorn and Polar Ventures, Whippy Pops frozen treats. There are also wonderful home accents from decorative candles (see North Star or Holly Candle Shoppe) to hand crafted wood products (see Cento Anni and our featured company this week, PegandRail).
Personal Care Items
Tucked away in random places you can locate fun bath time Bizzy Fizz or organic products from Brittanie’s Thyme. Irwin Industries sells its Red Ball Bidet, designed especially to reach those hard to reach areas. From ear plugs to trash receptacles to stainless steel work stations, we really do have a little something for everyone.
One of a Kind Items
For those one of a kind or novelty items, Michigan does not disappoint. You can commission art from Craig Mitchell Smith, collect elegant stemware with a chalkboard base, purchase camp camo’s and delight hunters everywhere. . . for the nature lover in you, check out future oxygen; buy a gift and plant a tree.  
This is just a tip of the proverbial iceberg when it comes to Innovative design, unique to you products and quality craftsmanship. Get ahead of the Christmas rush and go shopping at a locally owned and operated merchant (or website) near you.
Do you have a favorite hidden gem you want to share? Sound off in the comments.
Since 1991, MMTC has assisted Michigan’s small and medium-sized businesses compete and grow. Through personalized services fitted to meet the needs of clients, we develop more effective business leaders, drive product and process innovation, promote company-wide operational excellence and foster creative strategies for business growth and greater profitability. Find us at www.mmtc.org

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