When you’re ready to buy, try and buy local. Buying local stimulates local economies and the welfare of our favorite towns. We understand that it’s sometimes tough to know exactly where products are coming from when you’re unfamiliar with the area, which is why we’ve compiled a list of some local makers. Our trip across the country has highlighted some of the best American-made shops in the Northeast and South, and now it’s time to check out the Midwestern perspective!
Illinois: Urban Wood Goods
Handmade reclaimed wood furniture sourced & made in Chicago, Illinois.
Modern style meets historic beauty in the custom-made furniture pieces from Urban Wood Goods. When centuries-old local buildings and homes are torn down, they’re handcrafted into stylish furniture and accessories; everything from dining tables to industrial-style office desks are produced. Urban Wood Goods focuses on wood that’s “old growth,” naturally aged after being cut down in the late 1800’s-early 1900’s. Even the legs are secondhand, sourced from vintage baskets and reused steel legs. With a client base that ranges from Ralph Lauren to dozens of private homes, this local favorite should be here to stay.
Indiana: Indiana Pickle Company
Artisanal pickles (brewed in local spirits) made in Indianapolis, Indiana.
While most people are familiar with the traditional pickle, the Indiana Pickle Company is bringing something unexpected to the table. Cucumbers aren’t the only veggies to get the VIP treatment! The company also produces unique pickles from carrots, pears and plums. Yet, the coolest part is that the veggies are brined in Indiana-made spirits only, anchoring the company in local culture and providing a one-of-a-kind taste. Did we hear snack time?
Iowa: Amana Colonies
Handcrafted goods made since the 1850s in Amana, Iowa.
When the entrance to a town proclaims itself as the “handcrafted escape,” you know you’re about to experience something special. The Amana Colonies of Indiana were established by German settlers in the 1850s under a communal system of religion and work. Ever since then, residents have been producing almost everything by hand: furniture, food, woolen goods and more. If you can’t make it into town yourself, almost everything can be purchased online. This is about as local as it gets!
Kansas: Blacksmith Coffee Roastery
An artisan micro-roaster of exotic & rare brews in Lindsborg, Kansas.
Operating in an original 1909 blacksmith shop, the aptly-named Blacksmith Coffee Roastery caters to coffee connoisseurs across the country. The family-owned and operating company stocks a variety of imported and rare brews, carefully selected and hand-forged with care. Beyond the historical significance, Blacksmith hosts occasional coffee lover community events, where fans gather to enjoy exclusive roasts, live music and art. But for those who can’t shop around in town, they ship same-day to guarantee perfect freshness when it arrives. Who wouldn’t want a classy caffeine boost?
Michigan: Detroit Denim Co.
Handcrafted and locally-sourced jeans made in Detroit, Michigan.
In a world of fast fashion and cheap finds, sometimes high-quality goods can be hard to come by. Detroit Denim Co. put so much time and effort into handcrafting their raw denim jeans that they’re built to last and look great for a long time. Since “newest” doesn’t always mean “best,” the company selects vintage or new sewing machines, just depending on how satisfied they are with their performance. Everything from the denim down to to the buttons and thread are sourced from within the US, making this a true American product. It’s always time to stock up on great jeans.
Minnesota: Faribault Woolen Mill Co.
Woolen goods meticulously crafted since 1865 in Faribault, Minnesota.
“From providing woolen blankets for pioneers heading west to comforting our troops through two world wars, our woolens are woven into American history.” For five generations craftsmen at the Faribault Woolen Mill Co. have produced high-quality woolen goods, including everything from cozy throws to fashionable capes. They still use some of the original machinery, and have maintained one of the oldest running vertical woolen mills in the country. Tis the season to snuggle up!
Missouri: Roughneck Beard Company
Small-batch organic men’s beard products made in St. Louis, Missouri.
While we’ve mentioned several beauty brands aimed at women, this one’s for men. Specifically, the “beardos.” The Roughneck Beard Company makes balms, oils and brushes to maintain your idea of the perfect beard. Forget chemicals: blends of organic ingredients like pine tar, avocado and eucalyptus oil help stimulate and provide nutrients to hair while encouraging a level-10 beard to be proud of. The company is fun and authentic, constantly engaging with customers and celebrating the “Beard of the Month.” Be scruffy and proud, guys!
Nebraska: Branched Oak Farm
A sustainable family dairy farm in Lincoln, Nebraska.
Nebraska’s Branched Oak Farm is like an all-natural convenience store. Doug and Krista Dittman produce delicious cheese, beef, milk and eggs all from their own land. Everything is certified organic and sustainable, free of any chemicals or harmful impact on the environment. Beyond their family business, the Dittmans help younger farmers get their footing by working with them in an internship program. A CSA, beekeeper and soon-to-be wellness center have all grown with the help and encouragement of this family. Neighborly, local, and all-American pride, ya’ll!
North Dakota: A Touch of Honey
A full-service beekeeping business in Linton, North Dakota.
How sweet it is! A Touch of Honey is a family-owned beekeeping business that gathers and packages all of their products in Linton, North Dakota. Aside from the liquid honey, the company also stocks a variety of other products, including flavored creamed honey, all-natural body lotions and lip balms. If you’re in the area and interested in learning more, you can watch the actual extraction and bottling process on site; for those out-of-state (or maybe a little skittish around bees), stock up online!
Ohio: Simply Vague
A locally-made marketplace in Columbus, Ohio.
Sometimes it’s difficult to find the best of your area’s locally-made market; Simply Vague is Ohio’s answer to this problem. It’s like an indoor farmers market, operating year-round to provide access to local craftsmen and talent. While they provide exposure to artists that might otherwise struggle to get their work out there, they also give locals a chance to enjoy really great products and gifts. From apparel and home goods to bath and body products, this should be the new favorite shopping destination for anyone in the Buckeye State.
South Dakota: Sioux Pottery
Handcrafted Native American pottery in Rapid City, South Dakota.
For those in South Dakota looking to get in touch with their local culture, look no further than Sioux Pottery. Using clay found in the nearby Black Hills, Sioux artists craft beautiful pottery using traditional symbology and techniques. Locals can stop by the factory and watch the artisans at work, providing a rare opportunity to get to know the people behind the art. The pieces are available in different finishes and designs, but everything added has an intended meaning that’s sacred to the culture of Lakota American people.
Wisconsin: Sassy Cow Creamery
A family-run farmstead creamery in Columbus, Wisconsin.
And finally, when it came to picking a representative for “America’s Dairyland” someone in the business had to step up. Meet the Sassy Cow Creamery. Run by third-generation dairy farming brothers, this family business makes and processes everything on site, from organic and traditional milk to a wide variety of ice cream. What really sets this business apart, however, is their approach to raising cows. They believe that the animals should “take center stage,” and “every farm-related decision must be good for the cows.” Ethical and deliciously dairy, we can get behind that!
We hope you’ve enjoyed looking through the best of the Midwest. If you have any suggestions for our final installment—the West—please let us know in the comments!