Michigan Made

Marquette, Houghton, & Manistique, MI

Michigan Made is not one, not two, but three stores in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula that Holly Jo Smith opened in Marquette, Houghton and Manistique. It didn’t happen overnight, and it didn’t come without challenges. Holly Jo will be the first to say it was tough to get financing – so difficult, in fact, that she used a credit card to initially open the doors.

“The Michigan Made retail brand is built around people and the contacts that we make,” said Holly Jo. “Every item in my stores is made by or brought to us by human beings and the connections we make. We get new things all the time: art, food, wine, beer – as long as it comes from our sources in Michigan.”  

The gift shop chain has thrived, offering a wide range of Michigan-made or sourced products. Classics such as Faygo soda, Keweenaw Coffee, Sayklly’s and Sander’s Candies, jams, salsas, chips and dips, plus Holly Jo’s hand-picked selection of award-winning Michigan wines line the shelves.

Holly Jo’s path to success included connecting with the Michigan SBDC’s Senior Business Consultant Lance Wolfe, who provided counsel on capital formation, business operating procedures, employee training and networking opportunities for her growing business. Her hard work paid off: Michigan Made now employs a total of 15 and has an online store. 

“My vision, when I opened, was to have a nice retail business that supported other Michigan businesses. Our presence does exactly that in all the communities around each of our stores. Most of our products come from those communities, and we give back. Thank you to the Michigan SBDC for helping me develop my stores, operations, and funding. You’ve been a God-send,” said Holly Jo.


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