Though its reputation as an entrepreneurial haven has increased in recent years, these days Michigan's most valuable export may very well be its young people. Economic realities have driven many to seek greener pastures outside the Great Lakes State, but Michigan natives have a tendency to fiercely and proudly rep their homeland. So until we can curb the brain drain, here are our picks for the best online stores for expats to take a piece of Michigan home with them.
Pure Detroit puredetroit.com
Pure Detroit has proudly hawked Detroit-emblazoned wares since 1998. Today, they boast a variety of hip, Detroit-themed apparel, from T-shirts to authentic car seatbelt belts and even underwear. They also sell home goods and other items that can add Michigan flare to any room.
Pewabic Pottery pewabicstore.org
A Detroit original, Pewabic tiles make great gifts for the homesick Detroiters to hang on his or her walls. Pewabic offers a section on their website dedicated to Michigan-themed gifts — with designs featuring Michigan, the Detroit skyline, or the Old English D. Customers can rest assured that they're buying a piece of a company with more than a century of history.
Iconic Detroit Art iconicdetroit.com
Photographer Sooney Kadouh's vibrant, high-saturated images of old-school Detroit signs have made him a local favorite. Images of classic hand-painted signs from the likes of Better Made Potato Chips, Faygo, Stroh's, and other nostalgic brands are a surefire cure for homesickness.
Wayne State University Press wsupress.wayne.edu
WSU's publishing arm consistently releases quality books with an emphasis on Detroit and Michigan. Highlights include Images from the Arsenal of Democracy by Charles K. Hyde, a photographic look at Detroit's contributions to the war effort; Canvas Detroit by Julie Pincus and Nichole Christian, on the rise of Detroit's internationally acclaimed street art scene; and The Making of Michigan, 1820-1860: A Pioneer Anthology edited by Justin L. Kestenbaum, which goes back to the beginning.
Grandpa Shorter's grandpashorters.com
The Petoskey stone is actually a fossilized prehistoric coral that lived in the shallow seas that covered Michigan some 350 million years ago. It's also Michigan's state stone. Grandpa Shorter's in Petoskey has sold the stones as souvenirs since 1946 — today, you can buy jewelry, clocks, magnets, and mitten-shaped ornaments made from the polished stones.