Sunday, March 29, 2009

The 10 Things I’m Going to Accomplish in Michigan This Year

In no specific order, these are the 10 things I will accomplish this year. I added an 11th to challenge myself.

1. Go do something in the UP.
2. Visit the Detroit Institute of Arts.
3. Watch the sun set at Sleeping Bear Dunes.
4. Try 12 different independent microbrews.
5. Go mushrooming.
6. Purchase a vegetable share from a CSA.
7. Spend time on Mullet Lake with my family.
8. Go to an unusually themed festival.
9. Attend a county 4-H fair.
10. Share a meal with 50 people I have never met before.

11. Plan a Made in Michigan Thanksgiving meal with family.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Swimming Pools and Thread

Did you ever ask God for something really big and be ill prepared to properly receive it? For instance, you ask him to quench your thirst and all you bring is a shot glass when you should have brought an Olympic-sized swimming pool. I think I brought the swimming pool this time.

The Made in Michigan Movement has experienced phenomenal growth and momentum. At a time when businesses are contracting, we are expanding our reach to every corner in this great state. Our opportunity to really make a difference has presented itself.

We were featured on the front page of The Detroit News and interviewed on the radio. That is all fine and well but the best part we have experienced is the opportunity to engage in the many new relationships. I have had the chance to listen to one phenomenal business story after another. In time, I want those business owners to share with you what they so graciously shared with me. In the end, it is all about the people and the ability to relate to each other. I once heard that relationships are as thick as a single thread. When properly nurtured, that thread is woven with another thread and the relationship becomes as strong as rope. However, when not properly treated, the relationship easily snaps. We are the threads that make up the rope.

It is amazing what happens to you when you do not allow yourself to get in the way. Stand back, shut up (for once), and receive it. That is what has happened to this effort.

Our Facebook page has grown over 1,200 people in the last week which, since this morning, takes us over 8,000 loyal people. This is just on Facebook. We have several hundred people receiving our twice-monthly e-newsletter. Not bad, considering our last newsletter in February went out to 23 people.

Big is now moving on to bigger. We are hosting the Made in Michigan Expo in August. We are looking to feature over 200 businesses from around the state. Next year, we will feature over 600 businesses from around the mitten.

We are hosting a fundraising event to benefit Covenant House-Michigan. This will take place at the Detroit-Windsor International Film Festival. It will be co-hosted through the generosity of several Michigan-based coffee and tea companies. Our goal is to raise $5,000 dollars for this phenomenal organization.

The website is evolving. It is going to become a key component to our success. It will not just look better, but it will become more functional for all users. It will be better organized and quicker. We are relaunching the site in less than two weeks to better serve you.

This is not about me or even the Made in Michigan Movement. It is about us, all of us, the HOME TEAM. The ‘home team’ badly needs a win and together we are going to make that happen.