Saturday, February 21, 2009

Home Team and Hellos.

Every morning is like Christmas. I get up at the crack of dawn, stagger to the computer, and receive a gift. If I’m lucky, I receive two. The gifts are the kind letters of support for Made in Michigan. It’s very affirming and a phenomenal way to start each day.

I must let you know though I do not do this alone. Made in Michigan is a team. Actually, it’s more like a family. You hear from me or read my words but it’s the group that makes this work. Emil is my business partner and cofounder of the vision that became Made in Michigan. We’re polar opposites of each other in so many ways but together we find the balance to make this work. There are our spouses that faithfully support us and our children that we work hard for. In addition, there are instrumental people that work pro bono for us. They bring phenomenal talent to the table, diligently work hard, and are enormous supporters of this movement. Lastly, there are the many volunteers scattered about the state that do everything from generate membership to offer assistance on just about anything. To all of you, I extend my most sincere thanks.

We are the home team and we want as many people to be part of it. Recently, a woman told me that Made in Michigan was the daily bright spot in a world falling apart around her. That sentiment has been echoed several times from others. Times are tough, but my experience tells me that we, Michigan people, are that much tougher. I don’t believe that job losses, a credit crunch, or even a recession will keep us down. It won’t be easy, some days will be harder than others, but we will rise above it all. That’s how tough we are.

This is the time for Michigan to solidify its true identity. It’s time to lend a hand to each other. Buying Michigan made is only one part of it. Let’s pool our resources and redevelop this statewide community. Maybe it’s a hand with the snow or a ride to the store? Or, when the weather breaks maybe it’s an invitation for hot dogs and lemonade? It starts by walking next door and reintroducing yourself. I’ll start.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Why Do We Do What We Do?

First, let me thank all of you once again for the warm reception the Made in Michigan Movement has received. We at Made in Michigan are constantly reminded why we are doing this and your encouragement drives us further each day.

We are days away from launching our website. Our programmers and designers believe in our mission and our working hard to provide you the most comprehensive resource available on the Internet today. I want to take a moment to thank them for their diligence.

I’m always amazed that in the midst of doing something positive, there are always those who feel the need to take their shots. It reminds me of a bucket crabs. A crab by itself can usually find its way out of a bucket. Put more than one crab in the bucket and as one tries to escape the others will pull it back in the bucket. So to our supporters, I say thank you. To the naysayers, what are you offering?

Recently, I was asked why we are doing Made in Michigan and what the rewards of our movement are. We’re doing this to raise awareness of Michigan products, their quality, and the impact that supporting those businesses have. An Economics student challenged me in a recent email. He said that supporting Michigan business is a closed-minded approach to solving our state’s economic woes and does little to stave of our national crisis as it relates to some theory in a text he recently read. While I am an educated man, I cannot attest to the effect our movement has on neighboring states nor do I have the slightest idea it has on the nation. I don’t live anywhere but Michigan, but if I did, my thoughts would still be the same: BUY LOCAL FIRST. I cannot wax poetic on economic theories nor would I pretend to. I do know that there is a guy just like me working the loading dock at a company in Grand Rapids and a woman working a sales route in Monroe that rely on the people of this great state to buy the products and services their companies offer. It is our responsibility first and foremost to take care of our neighbors here in Michigan. Made in Michigan was built on this premise: To take care of our Michigan family first. As far as the rewards go, I can honestly say it is all about the people we have met, and will meet, and the relationships we make. We look forward to spending a night in a B&B in Grand Rapids or sampling new micro-stilled Vodka in Detroit. Further, the handshakes, warm smiles, and the sampling of our state culture make this all worth while.