Success stories

2023 Gift Guide

One of the best things about supporting small businesses is we know exactly where to shop – and now, so do you!



Float Therapy at East of Eden

Unwind and soak your troubles away with Floatation Therapy at East of Eden Wellness Spa Center in Muskegon. In fact, do it twice! Floatation Therapy has helped many relieve stress, pain, and anxiety, as well as insomnia, jet lag, PTSD, and more. Buy one, get one free at West Michigan’s first float spa!


Festive Nails by Un Beau Toi

Un Beau Toi is French “a beautiful you” and Nicole Clark and her team will make sure you feel your most beautiful. Check out their skills on Facebook and make a trip to Birch Run to for your own magnificence. Un Beau Toi Salon and Spa is at 7915 Main Street, 989-220-9292,


Essential Oils at Natural Maya

Stress, anxiety, and depression can all rear their heads this time of year, and Carla Sanchez is a clinical aromatherapist who can help. “Essential oils are a beautiful tool of Mother Nature,” she says. Natural Maya’s website is a great resource and everything is available for sale there, plus you can consult with Carlax.


Women’s Mental Wellness at Quantum

Wylea Griggs understands the unique challenges women face and she’s created a safe space and innovative therapies to help. The Theta Chamber, Repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (rTMS), and the AO Scan Digital Body Analyzer are among the options, as well as aromatherapy and other holistic methods. Quantum Mental Health and Wellness offers payment plans – and gift cards!



Kalamazoo Dry Goods

Make your own art supplies with help from Kalamazoo Dry Goods. Rebecca curates pigments, gum arabic, linseed oil, kaolin clay, beeswax, and a bunch of other ingredients, and they’re all sold in bulk so you can just get what you need for your project. And prepare to be blown away by the textiles while you’re there; 833 W South St., or shop online!


Repairs and Restorations at TC Guitar Co.

You can’t get the band back together if the ax won’t grind, so take it to TC Guitar Co. and give it the love and tenderness it deserves. And, let’s face it, Michigan’s four beautiful seasons can wreak havoc on stringed instruments and can change the way it plays. And they don’t stop at guitars – ANY stringed instrument as well as electronics!


🧡 Oooo!🧡

Sanctuary Red Plaid Wrap Dress 

Downtown Threadz is a women’s casual weekend wear boutique located in beautiful, historic downtown Newaygo. Stop in at 65 W. State Road, just two blocks south of the Muskegon River, or shop any time at


Higgins Lake Wave Embroidered Hat

Two Rare Design is a husband-and-wife owned design studio specializing in graphic design, screen printed apparel and paper goods, all designed and hand-printed in downtown Roscommon.

Interested in a custom print or design project? Email or call 989.281.1507.


High White Red Tegu Lizard

You could bring home a cuddly new pet for the winter – or you could bring home a lizard!

Either way, be sure to check out Jungle Pets in Coldwater, including their stunning front window display that will make everyone want to be a reptile or amphibian.


Stormy Kromer anything

Be cool (and warm) like Billy Strings in your Stormy Kromer gear!

We go way back with Jacquard Fabric Products, owners of Stormy Kromer, and they make winter fun. The hats are legendary, of course, but there’s also jackets, vests, bags, mittens and so much more. And all of it will keep you warm in the great Michigan outdoors!


Adorable Blind Boxes at Blossom Bird

Marquette’s favorite hangout also stocks fun things you know you want, like these slime-like creatures in such vibrant colors.

The supply is always changing, so keep an eye on Blossom Bird Bubble Tea, or stop in at 128 N. 3rd St. for the ultimate coziness.


Breaking Bred Bazaar Market Bag

Breaking Bred is a great market in downtown Battle Creek during the warmer months and you will definitely need a market bag when you shop there. (It’s organized by the Bredehoft brothers who own Cafe Rica, hence the clever spelling.)

Full disclosure: Northern Initiatives was the 2023 Bag Sponsor for Breaking Bred, keeping the cost of these beauties to a reasonable $10!


Ragsdale Home Furnishings

As part of a staff and board retreat in Battle Creek this year, we got to visit Phil Myer, the artisan maker of gorgeous Mission Style furnishings. You may not be able to visit his studio like we did, but you can certainly shop to your heart’s content – and Myer loves custom work too, so dream away!


Garden Party

This delightful children’s book comes out just in time for Christmas and you can preorder now!

Louie the cricket is looking for others to play music with him in the garden.  He runs into several other characters throughout the garden.  Each character has their own unique sound that contributes to the overall sounds.

Francis Maki and Sarah Smith are indigenous women – Anishinaabe (Ojibwe) and Lakota Sioux – living in the Upper Peninsula. Smith’s business, 8th Fire Consulting, published the book, which is also available in Anishinaabemong.


🧡 Yummm!🧡

Festive Food from Osteria Vegana

This Pasta Verde Pesto certainly fits the color palette for the season, but better yet, it pleases the actual palette. Osteria Vegana, at the Lansing Shuffle, makes your dreams come true with its vegan dishes, like this one with pasta (GF available), cashew pesto, garlic, locally sourced tomato and red pepper. All the freshest and healthiest ingredients and it’s really easy to order online!


Don’t Eat the Candles!

Kellee VanValkenburg knows her town can smell wonderful and somehow she’s captured the essence of Battle Creek in a candle. Cereal City Candles has lots of inventive scents beyond fruit cereal in its soy-based, hand-poured candles, like Autumn Cabin, with Cinnamon, Fir and Cedarwood. It will transport you!


Catering Fit for a Queen

Photographic proof that catering from the Candied Yam is fit for queens! But wait, it gets better. This “delightful Southern cuisine” restaurant in Grand Rapids (2305 44th Street SE) will soon open a new location on S. Division Ave. S that will have room for events! In the meantime, get your entire holiday meals or appetizers fit for royalty, or stop in for a comforting and delicious meal.


Millie's Farms porterhouse

Best DAM Beef

Millie’s Farms is a woman-owned family farm in Newaygo County that humanely raises meat. The family used to routinely cross the Hardy Dam to get between the market and the farm, but now they’ll have a new market right AT the farm! Still, that dam gave them the best tagline ever.


Specialty Pastries

Holiday parties call for the best pastries and Northern Initiatives customers have you covered from the top to the bottom of Michigan. Plum stars, left, from Nisu Bakery and Cafe in Hancock are Finnish delights that will take you send you straight to Scandinavia. The Banana Pudding Cheesecake – yes, you read that right – at Yummy Delights on the Lakeshore in Muskegon is going to keep the whole family happy.


Brink’s Family Creamery Flavored Milk

We all know eggnog is a staple around the holidays, but why not try some new flavors of milk? Brink’s Family Creamery is always on the cutting edge of dairy products!

√ Salted Caramel

√ Birthday Cake

√ Chocolate Peanut Butter

Brink’s Family Creamery is a 4th-generation family dairy farm creating premium milk and cheese products from their own beautiful cows at 3560 E. Mulder Road, McBain. They know the importance of a quality doughnut too. Their products are available at multiple locations, including Benny’s Froyo and Mo in downtown Cadillac, part of the Brinks Family businesses!


Country Corner Winery

Red, White, and “Blue” Wine!

The Country Corner Winery, 2498 N. M-33, Rose City, has wonderfully creative vintages and their Valley Mist Tasting Room is open year-round. From left, the Red Dress American Cabernet Franc, Morning Mist American Moscato, and Razz Grape Wine. They have great crafting nights throughout the winter, too!


Bagels at 51st State Brewing Co.

Bagels at 51st State Brewing 

The ingenious creative family behind Kingsford’s 51st State Brewing Co. have a new baguette oven from France! Add bagels to the list of things you can enjoy at this homey yet vibrant microbrewery. They also have a 700-degree wood-fired oven they use to crank out some magical pizzas. But the heart of the matter is Jeff Brickey’s “hobby gone pleasantly out of control,” wonderful craft beer.


🧡 Yee ha!🧡

Glamping – in the winter

Under the Stars Mobile Glamping brings the fun to you – check out this cousins slumber party! Luxury picnics are also available year-round as well as booking for next summer! This is the go-to spot for all your Blissfest needs, as well as special events, weddings, and family reunions. Dream big!


Pole Dance Fitness

Think you’re fit? You may think again, after a workout at Midwest Movement Collective. Pole dances, aerial dances, and grounded workouts are all part of the plan and boy, are they fun. The studio is in Grand Rapids’ North Monroe district; consider this for your next party!


Slick Willie from Frankenstein Lures

This handsome fella is just one of many, many Slick Willies available at Frankenstein Lures (great name!), where you can “hook more than you thought possible.” Slick Willies come in all sorts of colors, but you might want the Craws or Frogs or even the Mystery Bag. Follow Frankenstein Lures on Instagram and see Mr. Frankenstein himself creating!


Norco Bigfoot

Don’t let a little snow harsh your buzz on the trails this winter. You just need a better bike! Paddles and Pedals in Bellaire will not only help you find just the right wheels, but they can help with accessorizing and planning your route. There are tons of great riding spots right nearby!

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