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Want to Buy Michigan? Start in Downtown Rochester

The first week in August is officially Buy Michigan Week. Here's our second annual list of Michigan-made finds right here in our back yard.

Sure, Buy Michigan Week was created to strengthen our economy. But that very practical reason doesn't mean you can't have fun with it.

Here are some of my favorite, fun made-in-Michigan finds from our very own downtown Rochester.

There's no place like home

Rochester Hills artist Joanna Pillsbury describes her work on her website as "one-of-a-kind, hand-painted ceramic bisque that will make you the best gift-giver ever!"

Pillsbury has been selling her personalized gifts at for over 10 years, offering new baby tiles, wedding platters and — my favorite — the "Good Times" Rochester tile.

Ceramics range from $28 to $120 and can have a personalized message added to the back. 

I know, it's only rock-n-roll ... but I like it

Sure, Michigan is known for its lovely lakes and peaceful Up North beauty. But never forget — we also like to rock. Birmingham artist Marlaina Stone certainly hasn't with her collection of cool bracelets and chunky necklaces.

"She's rock-n-roll, she's different and it's all made it Michigan," owner Amy Fonville said. She offers the line at her cute little shop located in the yellow house on Third Street. Pieces of the collection start at $95.

You've got the cutest little baby face

They are doing amazing things with sonograms these days, making that first photo truly frameworthy. offers adorable frames from Berkely-based AI Paper.

There are two styles, "Love at First Sight" in pink and green and "Under Construction" in blue and orange, each for $29.50.

Just a spoonful of honey....

Hickory Hills Farm in Clifford and Ross Farm in Brighton both supply the honey for Honey Oatmeal soap. The soap is then made right on East Street in downtown Rochester.

"It's a really nice face soap," owner Sondra Aprea said. "The oatmeal is a mild exfoliate." A bar is $6.

If you seek a pleasant penninsula, look about you

And if you seek a peninsula-shaped cutting board, look to  The boards are handcrafted by Birmingham artist Jim Leonard. They are available in pine for $16.95 or oak for $24.95.

If you want to share this pleasant peninsula with others, Michigan Illustration note cards from Milford artist Helen Kucik, also at Catching Fireflies, is the perfect way. The set of six includes illustrations from the Mackinaw Bridge to the Motown Museum. A set is $9.95.

Alice Foster August 01, 2012 at 02:04 PM
Here at The Framer's Workshop, you can buy Urban Ashes photo frames, made in Michigan from salvaged Michigan trees. We also carry beautiful macro nature photographs by Mike Moats, a local photographer who has won international awards and teaches Macro Photography workshops all over the country.
Michelle M. August 01, 2012 at 06:25 PM
I am getting married very soon at the Royal Park Hotel and my fiance and I have decided to use all Rochester products in our bags for our out-of-town guests. So far I have ordered soaps from Moon River, adorable chocolate covered bride and groom cookies from Capies Candies, biscotti from Holy Canoli and beer from Rochester Mills Brewery. We are very excited to be promoting these great Rochester businesses!
Laura Cassar August 01, 2012 at 07:17 PM
Michelle M, I LOVE that idea!!! You should share your wonderful idea with Royal Park. Maybe they could do something similar in their gift shop?
David Gifford August 01, 2012 at 07:53 PM
Stop by Communicare on Canvas Art Gallery on 426 W. University for hand made crafts (soap, jewelry) and original art work done by traumatic brain injury patients. http://www.communicareoncanvas.com/index.html
David Gifford August 01, 2012 at 07:56 PM
That is a great idea. Every year our Illinois family sends us a Rochester gift certificate you can buy from the DDA website that is good for any business in downtown. This year we plan to treat them to a gift basket of all things Rochester.

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