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Gourmet Michigan products in unique gift baskets. Great tasting jams, dried cherries, Sanders chocolates, caramel corn, Michigan fudge, and much more.

All Things Michigan

Michigan travels, events, photos, and more

Filtering by Category: Cool Michigan Businesses

J.W. Westcott II - The Only Floating ZIP Code in the United States

Andrew Norton

Have you ever wondered how the ships on the Great Lakes receive mail? Well, wonder no more. The J.W. Westcott II has its own ZIP Code (48222) and has been responsible for (among other things) mail delivery to ships on the Detroit River since 1895.

Here's a short video of a few different deliveries being made. You can see how much skill and coordination is needed to make these transfers.

The J.W. Westcott II doesn't just deliver the mail. Here they are making a captain delivery:

Want to learn more about the J.W. Westcott company? Read this New York Times article.

There is also a great little children's book about the J.W. Westcott II, Mail by the Pail (Great Lakes Books Series).

Michigan Craft Beer and Breweries

Andrew Norton

Michigan Craft Beer and Breweries have been making a lot of headlines lately. Just this week, Grand Rapids was the winner in the Beer City USA 2013 poll. This marks the second year in a row that Grand Rapids has been the top vote getter. It didn't take long for the Pure Michigan tourism campaign to capitalize on the draw of the more than 100 Michigan craft breweries. Below is the new radio spot from Pure Michigan - makes me thirsty just listening to it.

Here are some links if you want more information about Michigan's craft beer industry:

Michigan Kickstarter alert - The Rust Belt Market

Andrew Norton

Owners Chris and Tiffany Best are looking to expand The Rust Belt Market beyond the weekends with this Kickstarter project. They aim to raise at lease $20,000 by March 22nd in order to build walls and diversify their space for hosting bands and other events that will help pay the rent on the 15,000 square feet.

Project Update: They have currently raised $12,641 and have a video update with more information

The Classic Big Wheel will be manufactured in Michigan and Iowa

Andrew Norton

Kids Only!®, a division of JAKKS Pacific, Inc. just announced this week that they will be manufacturing, marketing, and distributing the original Big Wheel Ride-On toys. Manufacturing will take place in Iowa and Michigan which will allow the toys to be stamped with "Made In America". It's great to see things that used to be made here in America come back again. Funny how the production of a child's toy can give me some hope that we will see a trend of more brands coming back to America to manufacture their products.

Flat screen televisions to be made in Detroit

Andrew Norton

People who buy an Element Electronics flat screen television in the near future will be able to watch Chrysler's "Imported From Detroit" commercials on a television that was actually made in Detroit. When production starts up this March, Element Electronics will be the only television manufacturer assembling their televisions in the United States. Sure would be nice if we start to see a trend of a return to companies manufacturing here in the U.S. instead of overseas.

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Henry's Hamburgers in Benton Harbor celebrates 50 years

Andrew Norton

Aside from having the niftiest vintage neon sign I have seen in a while - Henry's Hamburgers offers an array of tasty treats served up with a smile. I dropped in a couple weeks ago on the way to take pictures of the waves at the St. Joseph Lighthouse. The basic Brown Bag Special is a double cheeseburger, fries, and a drink for $3.99. It is not merely the "Brown Bag Special" in name only - it actually came in a brown bag :). I knew the cheeseburger was going to be good when I opened the brown bag and the delicious aroma escaped. In retrospect, I wish I had bought a couple of Brown Bag Specials - it was that good. I'm going to try and head back up there while there is still color on the trees and before (hopefully) the snow flies.

This year, 2009, marks Henry's Hamburgers 50th anniversary of opening for business in Benton Harbor. I've tried finding some hard facts to support my conclusion, but without anything definite I can merely surmise that this is the last Henry's Hamburgers still in operation. While at other old Henry's Hamburgers locations the building still remains - they are no longer operating as Henry's.

From the Henry's Hamburgers website -

Henry’s Hamburgers began as a part of the Bressler’s Ice Cream Company’s efforts to get in on the drive inn business in the 1950’s. In the early 60’s, there were over 200 Henry’s (more stores than McDonalds at the time!) from coast to coast, with the operations headquarters in Chicago, IL.

Don Bishop and Harold Shook opened the Benton Harbor Henry’s in April of 1959, in the new Fairplain Plaza Shopping Center. They established a reputation for service and value, listening to their customers instead of the franchisor, which enabled them to remain in business after the Henry’s chain ceased to be a player in the 1970’s. This was strictly a carryout business until the addition of drive thru service in 1988, which now accounts for over 70% of sales.

Wayne Senecal and Dave Slavicek bought out the Bishop/Shook family in 1983, embarking on a major updating of the facility. The drive thru service system was updated in 1999. With a change of ownership in the Fairplain Plaza and an obsolete building to content with, Henry’s decided to build a new, state of the art “hamburger factory”, almost directly across the street for the original store. Dave Slavicek bought out Wayne Senecal in 2006.

If you go:

1832 M 139 Benton Harbor, MI 49022 (269) 926-6757

Open Mon-Sat 6:30am – 10:30pm