It seems there’s a “box” for everything: a box for makeup, a box for dog goodies, a box for artisan coffee. If you like it, more than likely there’s a box out there that you can subscribe to receive on a monthly basis. That’s true of ALMOST everything. Cory Wright and Andrew Chmielewski of Mitten Crate saw the need and desire for a curated box of Michigan made food products from all over the state. Chmielewski explains, “We thought it would be a great way to connect people who are looking for Michigan made products with people making Michigan made products.”
Seems like a perfectly awesome idea. A Mitten Crate subscription is $35 a month with free shipping. Mitten lovers can also just try it out or gift a box for the month, but with that option, patrons will be required to pay the shipping and handling. It’s a simple and affordable way to be more aware of the beautiful community that exists in each region of the state. Many of the involved companies have cultivated very important presences in their region, but with the Mitten Crate, all Michiganders and Michigan lovers can get a taste of that community.
Wright and Chmielewski are invested in giving back and uplifting the communities that raised them, so with each Mitten Crate shipped, the company with provide three meals for people in need through a partnership with Gleaner’s Community Food Bank.
The two co-founders come from similar, but divergent backgrounds that lend naturally to this kind of business model. Both were raised in the greater Detroit area and have deep familial and cultural ties there; alongside that aspect is their inherent need for exploration and adventure that has manifested in travelling all over Michigan and delving into each region’s community.
Where their paths diverge is not especially different, but enough so that this project has sparked passion in them both. Wright has spent considerable time and efforts on the front lines of the food industry. For a short time, he lived and worked in New York City promoting that area’s niche markets of food products, wine, and at a farm to table restaurant. Returning to Michigan, it has been a goal to find a way to be that involved in the Mitten community. Chmielewski is involved in food from the producing angle from his work with Dave’s Sweet Tooth, which has gotten national notoriety while staying locally relevant.
With these two backgrounds, Wright and Chmielewski hope to make an impact on the small producer market in Michigan. Each month different products will be featured, which will hopefully spread the popularity of those often regionalized products like wildfire throughout the entirety of the Mitten. “We want to broaden the horizons of those interested in the Michigan food industry. It’s so regionalized. We want people to be able to experience the whole spectrum,” explains Chmielewski.
The crew at Mitten Crate understands that it’s not that the products aren’t delicious and fantastic, it is just hard for smaller producers to reach their target audience. Wright says, “There’s a lot of small producers out there, they just don’t have the voice or the way to get their product in front of people.” They plan to be that
catalyst and that megaphone to their subscribers and beyond. Once a product has been featured, it is not Mitten Crate’s intention to pull business from the supplier. Instead, all of their subscribers will be well informed of local venues that those products can be purchased from, or how to procure the products straight from the producer. Wright goes on to say, “We’re not really trying to reinvent anything. We’re just trying to do this one thing as honestly and as well as we possibly can.”
Are you ready to get Michigan made products every month delivered straight to your doorstep? Yeah, we thought so. Check out Mitten Crate on their website, “Like” them on Facebook, “Follow” them on Twitter, or even “Follow” them on Instagram. They want to be friends with folks that love the Mitten just as much as they do!
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