February 7: Michigan Mittens
CLARKSTON, Mich. (WZZM) -- When you ask a fellow Michigander where they're from, what do they usually do? Point to the palm of their hand. That's what happens when you live in state shaped like a mitten. Since 2007, a company based in Clarkston has been helping us show exactly where we're from. Michigan Mittens makes exactly what it sounds like, Mittens with a map of Michigan. The right hand is of the lower peninsula, and the left hand is the upper peninsula. They're soft and warm old-fashioned style knitted mittens that come in three different colors. You can choose from gray, blue or pink and each pair costs $25. After shipping they'll cost you $30.
They're not available in stores yet but may be very soon. To buy a pair, just click on their website.
February 6: Frozen Creek Florals
BELMONT, Mich. (WZZM) -- Every man has given flowers on Valentine's Day at-least once. But what happens when they die? They usually hit the garbage within a week or two. But you don't have to throw away flowers. In fact, a business in Belmont can make them last a lifetime.
Frozen Creek Florals has been freeze-drying flowers for more than 25 years. But it's not just flowers, many of them are flowers from the most important day in people's lives. "I think women are probably a little more sentimental and they like to have the actual keepsake from things like their wedding," said Ruth Smiley of Frozen Creek. The company specializes in Keepsake Frames and Life Celebration flowers. From a wedding, to a first date, to even a funeral. If flowers were there, why throw them away?
Frozen Creek Florals puts them through a freeze-dry process that lasts between 4 and 6 weeks then paints them with a polymer. They're then put into a frame, jewelry box, or just any type of fancy ornament. The fresher the flowers, the better they can be preserved. But not to worry, if it's too late for your wedding flowers, Frozen Creek Florals has many flowers that will work just fine as a gift right now. "They can purchase one of our freeze-dried flowers and they'll have it for her lifetime. They're perfect for Valentine's," said Smiley.
The prices vary widely, but start at $35. For information on this Belmont business, click on their website.
February 5: Michigan Awesome
HOLLAND, Mich. (WZZM) -- It's easy to complain about where we live right, after all we're near record setting cold and snowfall measurements. But truth be told, a majority of local people think Michigan is "Awesome".
One online business, based out of Holland is taking advantage of all our state has to offer. Michigan Awesome makes items with cool, or should I say "Awesome" Michigan sayings. The company makes wine, beer and wine glasses, coffee mugs and bumper stickers. But chances are if you read anything about Michigan being "Awesome", you saw it on a shirt.
Jonathan Koop is a co-owner of Michigan Awesome. He says our state's unique shape certainly helps. "It's nice to have a state that's shaped like something else." Some of their most popular shirts say "Smitten with the Mitten", "Hand Crafted", "Home is where the Hand is", "4 out of 5 Great Lakes Prefer Michigan", and a special option for Valentine's Day, "Peace, Love and Michigan". The hooded zip up sweatshirt is also a popular item, with "Michigan Awesome" running down the sleeves.
Koop says it isn't just current Michigan residents who are buying their items. During the Christmas season, "Michigan Awesome" shipped items to all 50 states. "We find that people that are Michiganders are proud to be Michiganders, and the people that left the state wish they were back." T-shirts sell for $24 and Sweatshirts start at $40. Orders of $75 or more get free shipping.
Now back to that weather, "Michigan Awesome" even has a response to that. A new shirt with the slogan, "Michigan isn't for Sissies." Not surprisingly the shirt is selling well this year. To shop at Michigan Awesome, just click on their website.
February 4: Sweetland Candies
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WZZM) -- Quickly, when you hear the words "Valentine's Day", what is the first thing that comes to your mind? If you answered "Chocolate", you're not alone. What came first, calling a significant other your "sweetie" or buying "sweets" for that same person? Either way, west Michigan has been buying sweets at Sweetland Candies in Grand Rapids for 95 years.
John Naum runs the two Plainfield Avenue stores. The business was started by his Grandfather who had immigrated from Greece. This business is successful year round, but as Naum tells us, there is a two month window where their candy flies off the shelves. "We call Christmas the 'want to' holiday. We call Valentine's Day the 'have to' holiday, especially for the guys. The women, they're out here a week or two ahead of time. The guys, they're here at 4 o'clock on Valentine's afternoon."
Since 1919, Sweetland has been open whenever Michiganders either "want" or "have" to buy something sweet. So besides supporting a local company, what is the main difference you'll notice buying at Sweetland? According to Naum, the freshness factor. "The big mass producers in the big box stores, if you're buying Valentine's Candy right now, it was probably produced in August or September. If you're buying our chocolate, it was produced this month."
While tastes and popularity have varied over the years, right now Naum says there are three most popular items he makes. Turtles, Truffles and Seafoam. All three come in traditional milk chocolate and dark chocolate. "Of course, everyone knows about dark chocolate, you get the flavanols. Like red wine and grape juice, they're supposed to be helpful to you for cholesterol lowering and other things."
Naum says business at Sweetland Candies has grown approximately twenty fold over the past 95 years and it appears it's not going away any time soon. In fact, the 4th generation of Naum will be working at the business soon, John's son. For more information on Sweetland Candies, check out their website.
February 3: Hot Logic Mini
GRAND HAVEN, Mich. (WZZM) -- Haven Innovations has been in the Motorhome business for more than three years; the company makes six-way seat adjusters for motorhomes.
You could say they help people get out and go. Haven Innovation has another product for people on the go who don't have much time to prepare a hot meal.
The Hot Logic Mini acts as a slow cooker of sorts, allowing you to plug in and go. It comes with a six cup Pyrex dish, which conveniently fits into a zipped container. Inside the container is a heating element that gets plugged in. Your meal will go from frozen to fully cooked in 45 to 90 minutes while it sits on that heating element.
"The best part, if you don't get to it in ninety minutes, it acts like a slow cooker, so all the nutritional value is being kept," says Jake Wisner Sales Manager of Haven Innovation. The Hot Logic Mini sells for $49.95 and is available at trade shows and on Haven Innovation's website.
The Mini is a smaller version of the original Hot Logic 400, which is proudly made in Grand Haven. The 400 model is bigger and can cook four different items at once, however you may not have the space for it at work. If interested, it costs $449. The saying is, "The way to a man's heart is through his stomach," therefore the Hot Logic Mini or 400 might do the trick.