Monday, July 06, 2009

Michigan's Best

It's some sort of miracle that my neighborhood grocery store still survives. At best, it's maybe a fifth of the size of your average Meijer, so product selection is limited due to lack of space. For decades it was an independently owned store, but a few years back was sold off to D & W, and I thought for sure at the time they would close it. How could they hope to compete with Meijer and the ever-encroaching Walmart? Somehow they do, and they are still going strong as a Family Fare, in an age where urban grocery stores are all but extinct. And, since it is a comfortable walking distance from my house and they have some great prices on staples, I go there for a few things throughout the week - mostly for the exercise, but to keep supporting the store and its employees as well. Super nice people.

Sunday, when I went to get the paper, the aisles were filled with these little "Michigan's Best" shelf talkers, so much so it was a bit overwhelming. Who knew they carried so many Michigan-based products?

The grocer's Michigan's Best campaign will highlight more than 2,400 products in its stores that are grown or produced in the state, from Eggland eggs to Sara Lee Breads.

Spartan Stores carry more than 2,400 products from 42 local businesses. Beginning Sunday, signs point out Michigan products throughout Spartan's 99 grocery stores: D&W Fresh Market, Family Fare, Felpausch, Glen's, Glen's Fresh Market and VG's.

"There has been quite a lot of buzz about buying local and buying Michigan," said Alan Hartline, vice president of merchandising. "We are always trying to position our products to be relevant to customers."
A little spent goes a long way. Even if your item isn't on sale and a bit more than, say, a generic or another brand, think of it as an investment in the state. That little bit you spend on a Michigan product will come back to you in another way eventually.

If every family spent $10 more a week on Michigan products, that could keep an additional $37 million in the state economy, according to the state's department of agriculture.

Hartline estimates about 10 percent of products sold in Spartan-owned stores have a Michigan connection. The ratio is higher for Spartan brand products, where about 20 percent of sales are Michigan products.
July 27th - August 2nd has been designated the official "Buy Michigan Now" week - but why wait, especially if they are running some good sales? If you have a Spartan store around you, give them a try. I've found the prices on a lot of things pretty much comparable to Meijer (and I refuse to shop at Walmart). There are a couple of sites that list Michigan products - Buy Michigan Now and Buy Michigan Products - but nothing can spur sales like a good deal and a shelf talker in your face when you are making that decision in the aisle.

Even better for spontaneous purchases - free samples! My store is having sample day this Saturday, so I think I will be wandering down there at some point...

Help out the home team if you can. It is very important, now more than ever. Keep the money here in state, and keep your neighbors in a job.

We make some really good stuff, too. Try them and see.