Text: R. Collins
Like us, our favorite West Michigan businesses and organizations endeavor forward in the midst of the COVID-19 outbreak—many using this spring as an opportunity to create something new. The sheer resourcefulness of our communities continues to show itself, and below we highlight just a few of the local Grand Rapids area makers and businesses keeping the wheels turning. Many are currently featuring fresh product lines—and even fresh produce—and are ultimately timely as we approach Mother’s Day, a new season, and new outlooks on giving. Check out this light round-up and stay tuned for a foodie companion highlighting some of the best tastes in town at this time.
Public Thread | 1405 Buchanan Ave SW, Grand Rapids
A great triple threat—or triple benefit—to begin our list is Public Thread, a community-based upcycling company focused on diverting scrap and textiles from landfills, while supporting a growing economy and creating living wage jobs. An “elevated upcycle marketplace,” Public Thread converts thousands of pounds of textiles from Kent County landfills—like banners, billboards, grain bags, and specialty fabrics—into a diverse collection of small batch items that range from lap top sleeves and weekend totes to fanny packs and more. These days, they’re also supplying medical professionals with protective face masks, joining volunteers and sewing enthusiasts across the community to support those on the front lines of the crisis.
Conscious Clothing | 5104 7 Mile Road, Belmont
Conscious Clothing has recently released its anticipated line, called EveryBODY, and the comfortable unisex loungewear staples populating the collection are timely in an age of taking virtual meetings from the kitchen table. The line’s material makeup is also classic Conscious Clothing: sustainable, handmade, eco-friendly, and low-impact.
The small business began as one family’s inquisition into sustainable living, and now it offers women’s and unisex apparel and accessories using ethically sourced, sustainable materials that are handcrafted in a lofty, forest-nestled Belmont, Michigan studio. Think low-impact dyes and heat-fixed screen prints and fabrics like European linen made from flax plant fiber or hemp fleece mixed with organic cotton. The slow fashion attitude carries on to packaging, which utilizes paper, reused fabrics, and string. Besides its sample sale offerings, each garment is made to order, so wait patiently but enjoy for decades.
Fulton Street Farmers Market | 1145 Fulton St East, Grand Rapids
The history of the Fulton Street Famers Market extends more than a century, solidifying its status as a cherished neighborhood marketplace. Even in these uncertain times, the market hasn’t wavered, continuing to supply our locale with the best locally sourced products from farmers, bakers, beverage providers, and artisans. Apart from supplying the ingredients for some of our new endeavors in home cooking, the market also provides an enjoyable, brisk walk to its outdoor pavilion each Saturday morning. Place an online order with the Mad Cap Coffee café next door and peruse fresh produce, baked goods, and more with caffeine in-hand.
The market is open every Saturday from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. and it is following national guidelines—while taking extra precautions—to keep patrons safe. While there, you can browse fresh hauls from mainstays like Visser Farms, Martin’s Sugarbush, Hickory Knoll Farms Creamery, The People’s Cider Co, and the Donut Garden.
Malamiah Juice Bar | 122 Oakes St SW Ste. 122, Grand Rapids
Increases in stress levels and snack time warrant some healthful pick-me-ups. Enter Malamiah Juice Bar, one of Grand Rapids’ favored destinations for all-things-cleansing and juice-related. Fans can order delicious bottled juices and wellness shots online and receive them via FedEx or Malamiah Door-to-Door Delivery.
Start the day with an immune-boosting Rise and Shine: an orange, apple, carrot, and ginger mixture that warms the body, prevents inflammation and infection, and cradles the immune system. End with an Almond Nightcap: a rich source of protein, calcium, iron, Vitamin E, and healthy fats that includes almonds, dates, cinnamon, and vanilla. Relish in a full bottle of healthful benefits or take a Classic, Spicy, or Combo Booster shot for a quick pick-me-up.
Since Malamiah only serves freshly prepared juices, orders are shipped next day. Stay tuned for new juice subscriptions that are prepared fresh daily and delivered weekly and purchase a Malamiah gift card for later use in the meantime.
Treetops Collective | 906 Division Ave S, Grand Rapids
Treetops Collective was founded on a respect for its neighbors, and it continues to be a supportive community dedicated to the long-term flourishing of New American women in West Michigan. The team at Treetops—composed of educators, lawyers, students, vocal advocates, and more from around the world—seeks to connect New American women with people and opportunities in their new communities. The collective also has a shop featuring Welcome Wear and youth and women’s apparel collections, as well as resources, programs, and ways to volunteer.
As we endeavor a global pandemic, the collective has taken care to keep its mission alive and adaptive. Through their site, supporters can purchase Emergency Resource Gift Cards for Women—which ensure self-chosen aid—Chromebooks for New American Teen Distance Learning, Spread Welcome Care Packages for Teens, and more.
Known Goods Co. | 1111 Godfrey SW, Grand Rapids
Known Goods Co. creates refined, minimalist, poured concrete home goods and has recently added a conversation-starting table game called “Known” to its shop. The game seeks to invoke curiosity and connection among players—the creators say it is meant to be left out—and its earthy material of concrete, wood, and fabric ensures an enduring heirloom pastime. Head to Known Goods Co.’s website to browse elegant planters, trays, coasters, candle holders, and more that are especially fitting for Mother’s Day, or grab a Known game for an amicable night of sheltering in place with home-mates.
Thomas’ Natural Roots | 2756-2998 S Sunfield Rd, Ionia
Fittingly located on the Sunfield Highway in Ionia, the Thomas’ Natural Roots family farm literally harvests the spice of life. On 11 acres, the farm specializes in tomatoes and peppers of all kinds, ranging from sweet to “super-hot” and coming in a variety of styles. It offers a full line of organic ground pepper as well as an exclusive line of natural products to soothe ailments like aches and pains.
The Spicy Hot Chocolate Brownie Mix is a personally vetted favorite—ingredients like cocoa, cinnamon, and Thai chili pepper have warmed many a movie night—but the farm currently offers much more. Ingredients like organically grown vegetables, dried peppers and herb spices, and even indoor plants appear alongside a diverse pepper seed library—titles like “Butch T. Scorpion Seeds” and “Sweet ‘Jimmy Nardello’ Pepper” give you an idea. You can find Thomas’ Natural Roots on Etsy or Squareup, and stay tuned for even more additions as the weather warms.
Books and Mortar | 955 Cherry St SE, Grand Rapids
Founded in 2016, Books and Mortar is Grand Rapids’ “proudly progressive, consciously curated, and fiercely independent bookstore,” where you can find the most relevant and read material on the discerning book lover’s radar, from memoirs and graphic novel adaptations to novels and cookbooks.
Read “Rad American Women A-Z” by Kate Schatz, a companion to the recognizable walking tour of rad women portraits found around downtown Grand Rapids, or nurture your cooking skills with Marcella Hazan’s “Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking.” The shop also offers gifts, accessories, cards, and stationary; and though the storefront may be closed to visits, patrons can still get their fix online, through the online store and direct-to-home delivery.
We are LIT | Grand Rapids, Michigan
What better way to enjoy some new reading material than from another local bookshop? This one, We Are LIT, is an independent, multicultural collective offering new, diverse titles across all genres, for readers of all ages. The pop-up bookshop features a sociopolitical bent and seeks to spur and nurture dialog and individual empowerment. Subject matter ranges from biography, memoir, and politics, to race, personal development, literature and fiction, and children’s literature. The shop also offers an Indie Next List filled with “inspired recommendations from indie bookstores across the country.”
We are LIT also features a collection called OWN Voices, a curated collection of bestselling works written by and about Black people and culture. A portion of sales from the collection goes right to The Black Book Exchange Box GR, a City of Grand Rapids Neighborhood Match Fund project. The shop also supports a book club called Women Who Read GR, which is a collaborative of women crossing all ethnic, cultural, and economic backgrounds.
Currently, patrons can enjoy free shipping on titles within the Grand Rapids Bookstore Deals Collection—titles like “A Beginner’s Guide to Essential Oils,” “Eat Joy: Stories & Comfort Food from 31 Celebrated Writers,” and “Between Harlem and Heaven.” If you’d rather opt for an auricular experience, We Are LIT also offers more than 100,000 audiobooks through its partner Libro.fm, an audio provider supporting independent bookstores.
Wicked Pop Candle Co. | Niles, Michigan
The handmade soy candles by Wicked Pop Candle Co. are actually as delicious smelling as they look. They’re also infused with pop culture references from binge-worthy TV shows; take, for example, the smoke and bacon scented, Parks-and-Rec-themed candle “You Had Me at Meat Tornado,” and Gilmore Girls-inspired “Vicious Trollop,” which is a classic citrus, musk, and vanilla mix.
Though you’ll likely enjoy browsing the entire shop, be sure to check out Wicked Pop’s newest collection called “Midwest is Best,” which is adorned with many beloved regional sayings like “For Pete’s Sake”—a blend of rich rosemary, citrus, and spicy pepper—or the simple, powerful, and timeless “Ope,” which is inspired by the familiar smell of early spring. The shop also has gift-worthy scents coming in time for Mother’s Day, including the Plumeria-scented “Thanks Mom, I’m Awesome!” and the Rose Gelato-scented “Tired as a Mother.”