Today's Positive Eye On Small & Local: What Positive ION is All About I posted this on my Positive ION Facebook page in response to being referred to as a "promoter". Being called a "promoter" does not offend me in any way... but it does compel me to clarify my position by giving you an idea of just what I am trying to do and why I'm doing it:
"Please permit me to quibble (in a friendly sort of way) with the term 'promoter', as it has been applied to me. I actually consider myself to be more of an advocate. I try to assist the inhabitants of the local community by becoming a guide in finding ways to keep the local economy viable... mostly by pointing out local choices as alternatives to major chains. "My services in this capacity are not for sale, and I do not ask for a cent for what I do. I am doing this for myself, because I like these little places. "To me, being a 'promoter' is to have a professional occupation, whereas I am rather like a kid with a big mouth beating a metal pot with a large spoon. "In short, I am sharing those things local which I find attractive, in hopes that others may be attracted, as well. It is my hope that, thereby, said things local are likely to stick around... which would mean that most of the money spent in these small places will likely stay in the local area, rather than wander off to more exotic and far-away places." I believe that what I'm doing and what I'm writing about are very important. I blogged on that last April (you can read the full blog post here), shortly after Maryanne MacLeod of The Macomb Daily had approached me to suggest creating a blog which would showcase those things I had already been tweeting and posting about. Here is some of the reasoning: "I have had many a conversation with friends and former co-workers who wish they could leave the state, are planning on leaving the state, or have left the state... because of the local economy. 'There's no jobs. There's no money.' That's what they told me. "So, about ten years ago, I started thinking about it. Where did the money go? Well, all I could do is take a look at where my money was going. It was really kind of obvious, but it didn't quite hit home until I heard my daughter tell a friend in a local store, 'No... don't get those peanuts. Get this kind... this company is in Michigan.' "Amanda was reading the packaging for more than just nutrients and ingredients. Who knew? "Of course, we had always bought stuff from cool local places and took pride sending gifts to out-of-state friends and family that were unique to Michigan... but, at that point, we started taking a very serious look at what was manufactured where and which businesses were based here. "A short time later, my dayshift counterpart posted a 'Buy Michigan Now' Grocery Guide in my work area. The cover proclaimed, 'If every Michigan household spent just $10 more of their weekly food budget on Michigan products we would put nearly $40 million a week into our local economy! The Buy Michigan Now Grocery Guide is designed to make that easier by building awareness of Michigan brands and products.' "I didn't bother to check the math. We realized, as many of our family, friends, and co-workers did, that we could best help our state, our county, our town, community, and neighborhood by keeping as much of our spending as local as possible." So, folks... I hope you find the things about which I write useful or helpful in some way. Please look over all the links I have in my sidebars to local gems and other blogs. And if you should so happen to have a favorite small shop, service, eatery, or event that is local to you, I would sure like to know about it. You may comment about that here, visit my Facebook page, tweet me @MyPositiveION, or eMail me at DrRaumzeit@gmail.com I'd love to hear from you!
Today's Positive Eye On Small & Local: Rainy Day Art and Framing Company in Grosse Pointe Woods. I've been drawing for over fifty years and I feel I must tell you that there is far more to getting the right art supplies than just ordering materials. That's why I drive the fourteen miles down to this shop in Grosse Pointe Woods (at 20507 Mack, just a few blocks south of Vernier Road). Tell them what you are trying to do and they will help guide you to the right things to help you get it done. Have a question about a choice of tools or media? They will help clarify the advantages and disadvantages of whatever you are curious about. Just starting out? They know what you need and are well-versed in getting you started without breaking your bankbook. Buying for a child? They have things that the kid will enjoy! Don't see what you are looking for? They'll order it, if they can. These people are also artists... and, aside from that, they are a whole lotta fun, too! Just in case you are looking for the last-minute gift for either the seasoned or budding artist, they are open from 9:00am intil 2:00pm on Christmas Eve!
Today's Positive Eye On Small & Local: Turning Point's Second Hand Rose in Mount Clemens. I often wander into this place (at 158 S Main St, right across from the Mt Clemens Post Office), even when I am not looking for anything in particular. Back before I lived as close to Mt Clemens as I do now, I discovered the small resale shop in their old location on NB Gratiot. The nice people there told me about Turning Pojnt and what they do to help the victims of domestic and sexual violence. I was still actively employed by a large corporation at the time and what they were doing so impressed me that I made the organization my Charity of Choice, donating a little of my weekly paycheck to their efforts. Shopping there helps a good cause, but that's not the only reason I go in there. Besides having a pleasant and friendly staff, the place is a real treasure trove of cool and useful things... check it out!
Today's Positive Eye On Small & Local: PYRO Art Glass in Mount Clemens. You have no idea how incredibly blessed I feel to have a glassblowing studio and store such as PYRO Art Glass just two miles from my house (123 S. Main). Not only do they create some of the most gorgeous glass pieces I've ever had the pleasure to set my eyes on, but they are the most friendly, good-hearted people around. They love what they do and show it by holding demonstrations during events (or, when possible, even if you just ask 'em) while talking with the customers and onlookers about what goes into this beautiful art. They are constantly inventing new things to make and new ways to make them. While I was shooting this Tout video, I saw the vintage Chevy Bel-Air they whipped up out of molten glass... fantastic! The really cool part of this is that they are not just a local shop... the items for sale are made right there! You just can't get any more local than that! No... I did not include the glass Chevy in the video. But, If you get over there quick enough, it may still be around to look at. If you miss it, don't fret... they have a lot of pretty things to please the eye! They also have extended holiday hours. Click on that link and give 'em a ring!
Today's Positive Eye On Small & Local: Used on New Books and More in Mount Clemens. This was my second big find near the beginning of my rediscovery of Downtown Mount Clemens, a bit over two years ago. I bill this store, in my little Tout video vignette (below), as "The Book Shop with a Personality". I'm not sure I can improve on that statement, nor even explain it... but I stand behind it. If you want to feel it for yourself, go on in and look around for a while. Take your time. Used on New Books and More is most definitely a work of love: the love of books... of all kinds. Together with Weirdsville Records (see yesterday's blog post) housed somewhat neatly inside, the shops form a powerful team that give the love of books, music, art, and film a personal touch that is available to all who wander inside. After-hours events such as artist sketching jams and murder mystery parties make this place far better than a mere neighborhood book shop... that's all part of the "and More". It's no wonder that this is one of my all-time favorite places!
Today's Positive Eye On Small & Local: Weirdsville Records in Mount Clemens. Weirdsville Records is neatly nestled inside the Used on New Books & More shop (which, not-so-coincidentally, will be the subject of Countdown, Day 5). Since its inception, Weirdsville has grown and evolved into a fascinating blend of the cool and the odd, offering far more than just offbeat records and strange items (although those things abound there... check out the famous commercial to see what I mean: http://bit.ly/1dpvqES). This is not just My Opinion, either... Weirdsville was voted Best Indie Record Store of 2013 by the Metro Times and, not only that, was the subject of a segment by Under The Radar Michigan! There's a lot of new vinyl to be had here, too (yes... vinyl records are still being produced.)! Also, there's a wide variety of local art hanging on their walls. As if that isn't enough, they also offer many fun and interesting after-hours events like the seasonal zombie make-up workshop, listening parties which showcase the new releases from local bands, and (of course) Weirdsville Movie Night, which starts promptly at 8:08pm most Thursday nights (and, just so ya know, the $2.00 donation goes to an animal adoption service). Special bulletin: tonight is no exception! Drop on by 36 New Street to see Boris Karloff and Jack Nicholson in "The Terror"...and heckling the film is encouraged!
Today's Positive Eye On Small & Local: The Peanut Peddler in Mount Clemens. If you want a real treat (or even just a snack), I recommend that you mosey on over to The Peanut Peddler (58 Cherry St). As I mention in the accompanying Tout snippet, they have far, far more than just peanuts. You can find all manner of different nuts, seeds, dried fruits, and trail mixes. My personal fave is the Cajun peanuts, but I have been know to grab cashews, pecans, or pistachios for recipes, too. They have so many different ways of packaging them, that it makes them great gifts. Just ask the girls at my doctor and dentist offices! They'll tell ya!
Today's Positive Eye On Small & Local: The Christmas Market at Anton Art Center in Mount Clemens. Actually, I just wandered into the Christmas Market for the first time, today. I thought it was going to be occupying the space normally reserved for the gift shop. Boy, did I get a big surprise! What a dazzling display of wonderful things they have... spread throughout all the rooms of the gallery! Of course I shot my customary Tout, but that only gives you a tiny taste of the wide variety of artistically beautiful gift items they have to offer! The Christmas Market is only open through this Sunday, December 22nd. The Market hours are 10:00am - 5:00pm on Wednesday, Thursday, and Saturday; 10:00am - 8:00pm on Friday; Noon until 4:00pm on Sunday! Go ahead and check out the fifteen-second video but, by all means, get on down there and see it for yourself! You won't be sorry you did!
Today's Positive Eye On Small & Local: Ardis Music in Mount Clemens.
I'm not kidding when I say that Ardis Music has just about anything that maketh music. Whether you want a guitar, brass, woodwinds, percussion, or even something more specialized such as a child's guitar, electronic drums, harmonicas, a harp, a gong (I've even seen bagpipes!), you can find it there... along with books, accessories and sheet music of all sorts. Don't see it? Talk to 'em... they'll order it if they can! They also have lessons at reasonable rates (I took piano there and learned a lot in a short time). You can find them at 49 Walnut in Downtown Mount Clemens... take a look for yourself!
Today's Positive Eye On Small and Local: 'Tis Country in Mount Clemens. When I think of Sunday, I often think of those long rides in the country. What a warm and cheery way to spend ones time, huh? Well, I get that same feeling every time I walk into this shop. They have all manner of fine things to give that homey feeling to any spot one could want it, whether it be kitchen or man-cave, dining room or front porch, living room or ice shanty. I shot a short Tout video to give you an idea of the wide variety of things they have to offer which lend that old fashioned charm to any place, in or out of the house... but your best bet would be go pay them a visit at 55 Macomb Place, and see for yourself! Tell 'em I said hello!
Today's Positive Eye On Small and Local: Gemini Moon in Mount Clemens. Despite the countless times I have been in this shop, I am still captivated by the serene atmosphere of the place and the magical allure of all the strange and beautiful things that can be found in it. You will find the friendliest, most positive people there... and not just the ones who own and operate the store; there are also those who regularly do various kinds readings, who teach, and who conduct group activities. I find the most interesting folk wandering in, whenever I am there! Don't take my word for it... check out this short video I shot and go say hello!
Today's Positive Eye On Small and Local: Max and Ollie's Vintage Boutique in Mount Clemens. It was just a little under three years ago that I began my rediscovery of Downtown Mount Clemens, which actually started when I was looking for old friends and former schoolmates as I began to enter the world of Facebook. In my online wanderings there, I recognized Diane Kubik from my High School days and saw that she was running a small shop, less than two miles from my house, on Pine Street in Mt Clemens. That visit turned into an exploration of her charming store and, in the days that followed, an adventure that would lead me to discover all kinds of strange and fascinating shops around town.
Since then, Diane has moved the shop to a much larger space (65 Macomb Place) and, through her gift for finding the finest treasures, her keen eye for arrangement, and her genuine love for the customers who appreciate these things, has nurtured that small bud of a shop to bloom into the amazing flower of downtown that it is today. Trust me when I say that she makes Christmas shopping easier for me. Take a look at this short Tout video I shot and see a little of what I'm talking about.
Today's Positive Eye On Small and Local: Champagne Chocolates in Mount Clemens.
Champagne Chocolates is a marvelous little chocolate factory in Downtown Mount Clemens (54 Cherry Street). They have such a wide variety of tasty chocolate treats that the mind boggles. They have the best truffles anywhere around, various barks, chocolate covered pretzels, potato chips, ginger, and depending on what day you stop by, they may have some of their limited specialties like hand-dipped fresh strawberries or raspberries... or even chocolate-covered bacon! My favorites are the dark-chocolate Rustic Bars with almonds or tart cherries. Deb crushes up the imported cocoa beans herself and they are mildly sweetened with evaporated cane sugar! Right now, they have special holiday chocolates all over the place, but they can make up special chocolates for any occasion in nearly any shape with whatever you want on them... business logo, wedding or anniversary names and dates... you name it! Check 'em out and tell 'em I sentcha!
Today's Spotlight on Small and Local: The ABC Magic Shop in Mount Clemens.
The ABC Magic Shop in Downtown Mt Clemens (69 N. Walnut) has more than just magic tricks, books, kits, shows, and classes... they also have many cool toys and activity sets for children! They are also a bunch of fun people! So, stop on by and check out all the nifty stuff they have there... and while you're at it, ask 'em to do a magic trick for you.
Last year, 99% of my Christmas shopping dollars were spent in businesses that are based, owned, and operated within ten miles of my house. I don't just talk about supporting small, local shops and eateries... I do it.
Help yourself by helping your neighborhood.
Shop small. Shop local. This announcement was paid for by absolutely no one.