Michigan has topped many headlines for being in a struggling economic state, but we are on the comeback trail, thanks to brave entrepreneurs and the consumers who support them.
To help, in 2008 we asked Governor Granholm to designate a special Buy Michigan Week (this year July 29th-August 4th) to shine a spotlight on Michigan-based businesses and the products they were making. Once the proclamation was issued, we decided to throw a party to celebrate, and the City of Northville, filled with independently-owned businesses, offered to host. The result was the first-ever Buy Michigan Now Festival.
At that time the Buy Michigan Now campaign had about four hundred member businesses. Five years later, as we embark on a new festival, that number is more than five thousand and growing daily. We invite all Michigan-based businesses to visit www.BuyMichiganNow.com to join and consumers to check out the directory of businesses on the site to discover more ways to keep our dollars close to home.
Both the campaign and the festival are about urging people to keep more money inside their local economy. The online business directory and grocery guide are excellent resources, though it’s even more fun to discover those businesses in person and talk with the people who are building them. Attendees to the festival get an excellent opportunity to see and taste products, learn about new services, and put a face to the small and medium-sized businesses that are driving our economy’s rebirth.
It won’t be a new industry or a giant corporation relocating to Michigan that really turns our economy around. Michigan will become home to a stable, diverse economy when small and medium-sized businesses thrive and are each able to hire one or two more people.
The first year of what we affectionately call BMNFest, there were about forty businesses that participated, and we needed only one side of Main Street to host them. Now tents line both sides of Main and Center streets.
Business growth in Michigan over the past five years has been fueled by an ever-increasing passion for buying local. More than 7,000 supporters of our mission have added their names to a Pledge in person or on www.BuyMichiganNow.com to demonstrate their belief in supporting entrepreneurs and the businesses they are growing. If you haven’t yet, I invite you to add your name, and join us at the fest. As a community we are taking control of our own economic destiny and the future looks brighter every day.