Category: Community

Explore Local: Shopping local has a real impact for shoppers and communities

Explore Local image

Have you ever wondered what happens to the money when you buy local? Eric Hultgren has partnered with the MEDC and Pure Michigan in order to dig into the impact shopping local has on your community.

Shopping local means that your money has more impact; $73 of every $100 spent locally, stays local. It means you are a name, not a number; vibrant, thriving communities; 52% of Michigan jobs are provided by local companies; and MI continues to move forward.

Related: How to add local Michigan flavor to your holiday shopping style

So, as you shop, please try first to find local Michigan options for the items on your list. A helpful way to get started is by checking out this Pure Michigan Shop, Eat & Stay Local page.

You can also subscribe to Pure Michigan’s Featured Deals eNewsletter and get a look at money-saving Michigan offers. Each month will highlight a selection of packages and specials available throughout the state.

Feeding the Front Lines: See behind the scenes on a day of giving

Serving a meal

It’s a good day when you can bring some of Michigan’s Best food to deserving people, with the help of incredible sponsors in order to help feed the front lines. That is just what happened on Monday December 14, as MLive partnered with businesses to bring meals to hard working health care workers around Michigan.

One of our sponsors, Woman’s Life Insurance Society, was happy to help this effort to acknowledge the work that our front line medical workers are doing every day. “Woman’s Life Insurance Society greatly appreciates the dedicated healthcare workers at McLaren Port Huron and everything they are doing to help keep our community strong and healthy during these especially challenging times,” said Karen Deschaine, manager of communications for Woman’s Life. “We are inspired by their strength and grateful to have this opportunity to express our gratitude.”

Our generous sponsors for this initiative were:

Woman’s Life Insurance Society-Port Huron

The Iles Schropp Group at Merrill Lynch-Saginaw

Rotary Club of Saginaw-Saginaw

Community Foundation of Greater Flint-Flint

Check out the podcast below to learn more about Feeding the Frontlines, and what kind of impact those meals have on frontline workers.

MI Best Stories: In this episode, Eric Hultgren talks with

 

Read the rest of the article and find more at MLive.com/michigansbest.

At Home with Eastbrook Homes: Holidays with the Villegas Family

Welcome to the Holiday-themed “At Home with Eastbrook.” In today’s episode, Eric Hultgren visits with the Villegas family as they share their Christmas decor inspiration, how they remain present during this different season, and tips for engaging the whole family in traditions. Don’t miss this Christmas fireside chat with the Villegas!”

For more pictures of the Villegas home, check out their Holiday Home Tour: https://bit.ly/37kgPzy

How to add local Michigan flavor to your holiday shopping style

Child and parent on a ski/sledding slope

Do you like to cross things off your gift list early or are you more of a last-minute holiday shopper? Would you rather buy online or is picking things out in person your preference?

Each of us in this great state of Michigan is a little different when it comes to how we shop this time of year. And, of course, what we shop for. Just as some of us are looking for Spartans stuff, others of us are eyeing all things Wolverines.

But, however we shop, we’re all Michiganders. That’s important to remember in the midst of the busiest shopping season of the year, especially this year during a global pandemic that has been so trying for so many stores and employees.

Whether we shop early or we shop late, online or in person, when we shop local Michigan businesses, we make a direct, positive impact in the communities where we live. We help both our local Michigan businesses and our friends and neighbors employed by them to thrive. It’s as if both the Spartans and the Wolverines win!

So, as you shop for gifts this holiday season, please try first to find local Michigan options for the items on your list. A helpful way to get started is by checking out this Pure Michigan Shop, Eat & Stay Local page.

You can also subscribe to Pure Michigan’s Featured Deals eNewsletter and get a look at money-saving Michigan offers available this holiday season. Each month, we highlight a selection of packages and specials available throughout the state.

In this eNewsletter you’ll find a Cold is Cool Passport that lets fourth- and fifth-graders ski free this winter. You’ll see unique T-shirts and face masks on sale to support Michigan hospitality workers in need during the pandemic. There are packages on shopping excursions to Grand Rapids, weekend adventures in Ann Arbor and cottage getaways Up North, too.

That’s just a sampling. Shopping local also means exploring vibrant Michigan downtowns, taste-testing craft beer from Michigan breweries and patronizing our state’s delicious array of local Michigan restaurants. Even with sit-down dining limited as a COVID-19 precaution, we can support our local restaurants by purchasing gift cards or ordering take-out. To find carry-out options near you, the Michigan Restaurant & Lodging Association has created this handy, searchable list.

For those of us who prefer to shop from the comfort of our own homes, keep in mind that many Michigan restaurants (and retailers, too) are offering safe online ordering. Many of our local Michigan businesses are delivering items to your home or offering curbside pick-up options through the pandemic.

If you enjoy doing your holiday shopping in person, take comfort knowing that hundreds of businesses have taken the Pure Michigan Pledge to protect the health and safety of Michigan employees, residents and visitors by maintaining cleanliness and social distancing protocols to stop the spread of COVID-19.

Even though we all have different ways of holiday shopping, if we all do more of our shopping from local Michigan businesses this year then more of our money will stay within our state’s economy. That way, we all can have the happiest of holidays this year!

MI Best Stories: Shopping local with the Michigan Retailers Association

Classic plaid Stormy Kromer cap

MI Best Stories: In this episode, Eric Hultgren and Meegan Holland, of the Michigan Retailers Association, break down the importance of shopping local. Check out the MLive.com local gift guide for ideas on filling your holiday shopping list with local goodness, mlive.com/news/2020/11/michigan-holiday-gifts-we-love-to-give-online-ordering-and-downtown-shopping.html

At Home with Eastbrook Homes: A.Y.A. Youth Collective

In the spirit of Thanksgiving, Eastbrook Homes shines a spotlight on a non-profit they’re thankful for: A.Y.A Youth Collective. In this podcast, you’ll hear from Lauren VanKeulen, CEO of A.Y.A Youth Collective, about their mission to provide resources for youths in crisis. Lauren discusses their heart and mission, the people they serve, the challenges they’ve overcome this year, and how those challenges made them grow and innovate.

Learn more about A.Y.A Youth Collective here: www.ayayouth.org.

Learn more about Eastbrook Homes here: www.eastbrookhomes.com

‘Not your typical bread, pie or pastry,’ how to order Michigan-made holiday treats

Crust, a baking company, baker making doughnuts

It didn’t take Shelby Nickerson long to figure out how CRUST, a Fenton-based artisan bakery, values the people, process and the principled techniques behind its products after she joined the locally owned business in 2014.

“The first thing they said to me was to make sure that our guests are taken care of and given a first-class experience from the moment they enter the door or call us on the phone,” said Nickerson, who now manages the bakery’s retail store and leads front-of-house restaurant staff.

Lemon ricotta pancakes from Crust, a baking company“I could see it in everything that was happening here. There were no shortcuts, from the way the baked goods were crafted and prepared to the family atmosphere among the staff and how it extended to the community.”

And it’s that attention to detail and respect for others that drives CRUST staff every day, particularly as the holiday season starts and families across Michigan begin their annual traditions that reflect the same values as CRUST.

“It’s about food and doing things that bring us together,” Nickerson said. “And then to think that through our breads, our pies, our pastries and our Thanksgiving specials, we’re being invited into these homes and into their lives. It’s really important to us.”

Pumpkin pie from Crust, a baking companyCRUST, which opened in 2012 and has expanded to occupy nearly a full city block in Fenton, prides itself on using all-natural ingredients and eschewing preservatives. Its wide range of baked goods include pies, pastries, muffins, cookies, scones and made-to-order event cakes. The restaurant features handcrafted sandwiches, traditional Italian pizzas, salads and soups.

DISCOVER THE SPECIALS: Here are CRUST’s holiday options and its menu for nationwide shipping

The bakery’s in-store pickup, delivery and wholesale retail operations have expanded CRUST’s reach to other parts of Michigan and the country. The ability to order online has been appreciated, said Amanda Lobaina, CRUST’s office manager.

Buche de Noel cake from Crust, a baking company“This is not your typical bread, pie or pastry, and people recognize that,” Lobaina said. “We feel that with everything going on this year with the pandemic and more, that people are going to want to do something special for themselves, for their friends or for their co-workers.

“We’re happy to be a part of those celebrations, to bring some joy to others and maybe make life a little easier.”

Lobaina noted that CRUST’s gift collections are popular choices throughout the year, but the care packages are of special significance around the holidays. Package of cinnamon rolls from Crust, a baking company

The boxes, which are shipped free of charge, can be chosen based on the recipient’s tastes or the time of the day – maybe an office breakfast or a mid-day pick-me-up treat. There are bread offerings for dinners or desserts to share as you swap stories or relax after a long day.

She’s seen an uptick in orders as a general show of appreciation in workplaces, social clubs and among friends. There has also been an influx in corporate gifts, she said.

Among the most-ordered items are:

“There’s something for everyone, and people can take advantage of how we’ve crafted packages for their preferences to satisfy an individual gift or a group.” Lobaina said. “We always hear how much people love giving and getting baked goods.” Cranberry walnut pie from Crust, a baking company

Other holiday specials include a German-style Stollen that has rum-soaked raisins and cranberries, real butter, whole and slivered almonds, crystallized ginger, candied citrus peel, nutmeg, and coarse-ground black pepper.

Lobaina described how the loaf is shaped by hand with an interior rope of marzipan and then after baking is dipped in melted sweet-cream butter, rolled in granulated sugar and finished with a drift of confectioners’ sugar.

Another holiday favorite is a traditional Italian-style Panettone that can be an after-dinner dessert, a sweet mid-day snack or the base for an amazing French Toast breakfast. Bakers craft the loaf with vanilla-soaked dark raisins, candied citrus peel, the zest of oranges and lemons and then finish the bread with a crown of coarse pearl sugar.

Lobaina and Nickerson recommended placing orders in advance to ensure availability for holiday gatherings. Fresh baked bread from Crust, a baking company

“If your heart is set on something, we don’t want anyone to risk coming in and not being able to get it,” Nickerson said. “We want these homemade treats to be a part of your at-home holiday.”

Crust is also offering its first-ever complete Thanksgiving dinner that can be picked up and reheated at home. Orders can be placed until Nov. 21.

The dinner feeds four and includes:

  • Bourbon maple glazed turkey breast with made from scratch gravy.
  • Boursin and parmesan mashed potatoes.
  • Green bean casserole: fresh green beans topped with house made mushroom cream sauce and topped with fried onions.
  • Candied yams topped with House made marshmallows.
  • Sage and Apple stuffing made with crust bread, celery, onions and granny smith apples.
  • Cranberry orange preserves.
  • Challah pull apart rolls.
  • Sea Salt butter.

“We are excited to try something new and see how our guests respond,” Lobaina said. “That’s part of how we try to adapt to what our community wants.”

Check out the video below for a ‘behind the scenes’ look at the Crust bakers at work:

 

Businesses, restaurants partner to Feed the Frontlines for the holidays

Serving a meal

We all could use some encouraging news in our lives right now. On Monday, Nov. 16, MLive partnered with Michigan businesses from across the state to provide meals to health care workers who have been spending lots of hours on the front lines during coronavirus pandemic.

As COVID cases rise here in Michigan, we’ve once again paired some of our Michigan’s Best family of restaurants with our sponsor partners to provide a welcome food hug for our frontline health care workers. Our Michigan’s Best restaurant partners are thrilled to be able to not just help feed essential workers with some of the best food in Michigan, but to also generate some much needed take-out business during these tough times.

Check out the podcast below to learn more about Feeding the Frontlines, how it came to be and how we hope to bring a little joy to our great state.

MI Best Stories: In this episode, Eric Hultgren talks with Amy Sherman about how Feeding the Frontlines came about and what we are doing this third time around. This episode is brought to you by Stanley Steemer of Detroit and Woman’s Life Insurance Society.

 

Read the rest of the article and find more at MLive.com/michigansbest.

At Home with Eastbrook Homes: Home Repair Services

Brad Mooney of Eastbrook Homes and Joel Ruiter of Home Repair Services sit down with Eric Hultgren to discuss the impactful work HRS does in the community. Learn about Home Repair Service’s mission of strengthening vulnerable Kent County homeowners to build strong communities, as well as Eastbrook Home’s tie to the non-profit. HRS offers classes, resources, financial aid, ramp building, and more to the Kent County community. One program they offer is ramp building, which Brad Mooney of Eastbrook Homes has helped with for over a decade. This podcast will delve into various community needs, HRS’ story and mission, and how corporations and individuals alike can make a difference in their community.

Learn more about Home Repair Services here: http://www.homerepairservices.org/

Learn more about Eastbrook Homes here: http://www.eastbrookhomes.com