There are many things to see in Saint Joseph, the heart of Southwest Michigan. Saint Joseph is arguably one of the most picturesque tourist towns in Southwest Michigan.
Home to Silver and Tiscornia beach, boardwalks, lighthouses, the iconic train bridge, Beer Fest, the ice festival, and more. If you don’t mind the crowds, Saint Joseph can be a beautiful place in the summer, but most locals venture a little further to avoid the hustle and bustle.
Saint Joseph’s sunsets and souvenirs are popular on the internet, and visitors from all over the world find themselves walking the streets and beaches in the hot summer months and soaking in all the beach town has to offer.
The hustle and bustle of the tourist season die down around winter, which makes it the perfect time for locals to come out and enjoy the quiet and stillness of the usually busy town.
As a local, I enjoy walking down the boardwalk and into the shops. I often purchase more Michigan gear and act like a tourist myself. There are shorter lines in stores during the cold months when the lake effect snow covers the town like a snow globe.
In the middle of all the shops and restaurants is a new hangout spot, The Market. The Market opened in September of 2021, and I remember seeing the “Coming Soon” sign and waiting with anticipation.
I had been to two other markets, one in Indianapolis and one near Detroit, so I had high hopes of what a beach town market could be like.
If you want to get your shopping done in one spot, The Market is the place for you. This new indoor market has The Cheese Lady, The Tea Annex, Dad’s Farm (the fresh produce hookup), Dad’s Cafe, Infusco Coffee, The Wine Shoppe, the St. Joe Community Taproom, and Wild Ginger Flowers.
They also have The Culinary Cottage coming soon! The cottage will be a place for hands-on cooking classes, an excellent place for bachelorette parties, birthdays, and other special events. There’s also room for one more lucky vendor, and I’m excited to see who will grab the final spot in this cozy community.
The Market is the ideal place to grab a cup of coffee and join the community of students and people working remotely. When the cold weather gets to be too much, and the snow starts to turn gray, step into the beautifully lit Market and turn your day around.
After spending some time in The Market, I learned how much each vendor values the community. If you ask any vendor their story, it involves ways to serve the community and create an environment where people can shop and connect.
Almost every representative of the shops I spoke to mentioned the community as their favorite part of working there.
One of the things I liked about the Market is that most of the shops are female-owned, so while you’re enjoying fresh produce, purchasing a bottle of wine, or a block of cheese, you’re supporting a female-owned business.
You’ll also notice that the shops support one another. If you stop by the Wine Shoppe, you’ll see that their workers are wearing jewelry from Wild Ginger Flowers – and they’re happy to share how much they love the other vendors in the Market.
The Cheese Lady
My first stop in The Market was The Cheese Lady. I tried some of their sharp Gouda, and I’ve used it on many sandwiches since. The Cheese Lady has a wide variety of cheeses, and you get to watch them cut your cheese out of the cheese wheel. My advice is to buy in bulk, or else you’ll end up making a weekly trek back to The Market to fulfill your cheese cravings. The Cheese Lady is perfectly placed in the Market because you know what goes well with cheese? Wine. You’ll find yourself buying the perfect items for a picnic or a romantic evening.
The Wine Shoppe
Next to The Cheese Lady, you’ll find The Wine Shoppe. The Wine Shoppe carries a variety of wines, some of their popular ones being orange wines. These “orange wines” are white wines soaked with the grape skins on for days to months at a time. The Wine Shoppe is currently the only orange wine vendor in Southwest Michigan.
The Wine Shoppe is the ideal spot to pop in and grab those bottles of wine for holiday parties, girl’s night, and more. The wines they sell represent different things. Some are biodynamic, vegan, sustainable, organic, and female-made.
The wine labels let you know what you’re buying so you can make sure you’re supporting something you’re passionate about.
Across from The Wine Shoppe, you’ll find Infusco Coffee. I was pleasantly surprised by how much area is open for studying and remote work. The fairy lights draping from the ceiling and the sound of other visitors in The Market create a relaxing ambiance.
Infusco Coffee is now located in Saint Joseph and Sawyer, Michigan. Their beans are roasted in Sawyer, and they’re very passionate about creating locally. They started ten years ago as a coffee cart, and now they’ve expanded into a popular community and student hangout.
The St. Joe Community Taproom
Next to Infusco Coffee, you’ll find the St. Joe Community Taproom. Here you’ll find 16 different beer taps. The Taproom has two levels. You can grab a drink on the main floor or head up to the balcony that overlooks the entire Market.
You’ll find chairs, tables and colorful wall art, and views of the community. The Taproom came about after the owner recognized several breweries but not enough places to enjoy craft beer. Their passion and research in the craft beer industry were evident upon talking to them.
The Tea Annex
Inside the Tea Annex, you’ll find tea leaves, mugs, a variety of spices, bees wrap (a sustainable plant-based food wrap), raw honey, cookies, and more. I’m a huge tea lover, so I wouldn’t be surprised if I found myself in this shop every month.
Wild Ginger Flowers
In Wild Ginger Flowers, you’ll find everything from decorative spoons, journals, artwork, photography from Southwest Michigan, and several other unique goodies from local vendors. They’re passionate about supporting local artists and community collaboration.
They’re even hosting a Wine and Painting event with wines from The Wine Shoppe and goods from The Cheese Lady. Their owner said there are more events and classes to come.
Dad’s Farm & Cafe
In Dad’s Farm, you’ll find fresh produce, squash, beans, a variety of milk, meats from local vendors, and more. They also have bar soaps, chapsticks, salsas, jams, chips, cookies, maple syrup, and honey. It’s the perfect place to build a gift basket for a holiday or birthday.
They had Valentine’s Day baskets when I stopped in last, and nothing says, “I care about you,” like a basket full of delicious local items.
In Dad’s Cafe, you can order breakfast and lunch or pop in for a bottle of apple tonic. Their food is made from scratch, and the options range from breakfast sandwiches, lunch salads, steaks, chicken parmesan, and dessert – with cheesecake and gelato.
After spending some time in The Market, I felt a deeper connection to the community. Everyone I spoke to was eager to share their story and applaud the other vendors. I know I’ll be returning several times because every trip feels like a different experience, and I’m confident I’ll discover something new each visit.