The Cackle Special Edition
Celebrating Midwest Small Businesses
For this special edition of The Cackle, EntryPoint celebrates small businesses from across the Midwest that have been supporting their customers and giving people a sense of community during this challenging year. Let’s shine a light on some of the amazing small businesses that have positively impacted their communities and contributed to the vibrancy of their local economies.
The Cackle, EntryPoint’s popular weekly livestream, highlights small businesses, startups, and people who have an impact on communities across the Midwest. In 100 episodes, we explore a wide range of topics relating to the vibrancy of local economies, including: entrepreneurial journeys, economic trends, the challenges small businesses and startups face, and the importance of building a diverse and inclusive community.
We are exploring Ann Arbor!! All three of these featured businesses are from the Ann Arbor, MI region!
- TeaHaus, a tea room and cafe founded by Lisa McDonald in 2007. They offer 180 varieties of the highest quality tea on the market and delicious, homemade baked goods; most of which contain tea and are made at her nearby bakery, Eat More Tea. Lisa is one of seven EU- certified tea sommeliers in the United States and brings her knowledge of tea varieties, origins, histories and flavor profiles to her double storefront shop.
- 24th Cheesecakerie, a family-run business founded by Sean Brezzell in 2019 that’s dedicated to providing exceptional gourmet cheesecake and other baked goods. They are growing into a nationally recognized brand that remains true to its roots, and will continue to exceed expectations. From innovative cheesecake flavors like caramel apple crunch to classics like New York style cheesecake, everything is made with only the best ingredients like fresh fruit, artisan chocolate, and premium nuts.
- Rock Paper Scissors, a gift shop founded by Lisa Roberts in 2011. The store carries a mix of stationery, home goods, funny greeting cards, sensible & snarky gifts, local Michigan treasures as well as custom gift boxes. They also offer customized wedding & special occasion invites to help you celebrate everything!
- Taj Cottage, an Indian bridal wear boutique founded in Farmington Hills, MI by Rachna Chandra in 2008. Taj Cottage carries the latest Indian & Pakistani fashion and Indian clothing including salwar kameez, sarees, lehnga choli, tunic, jewelry, accessories, bridal wear, punjabi suit , chania choli, mens sherwani, kurta and kids outfit. Unique high fashion South Asian haute couture for the whole family.
- Perfect Imperfections 608, a hand-crafted natural body care line founded in Madison, WI by Jasmine C. Banks in 2016. Perfect Imperfections 608’s mission is to empower women to appreciate life daily and care for themselves with safe, chemical free body products. While envisioning a world where every woman can take time to relax and replenish.
- Riverside Arts Center, a nonprofit arts center founded in Ypsilanti, MI in 1995 and operated by Amy Fracker. Riverside Arts Center offers, promotes, and nurtures dynamic arts and cultural programs through arts education, performing arts, visual and fine arts activities that serve and engage the community in Ypsilanti, Washtenaw County, and the surrounding area.
- Sticky Spoons Jam, a veteran-owned business specializing in the production of jams, jellies and syrup founded in Niles, MI by Aiye Akhigbe in 2017. Sticky Spoons Jam uses locally-sourced, natural products from Michigan farms and small businesses and is focused on giving back to the community. In 5 years, they have produced over 100 flavors, including apple pie, summer solstice and blueberry lavender.
- Flavor Temptations, an Indian spice curation business founded in Madison, WI by Sara Parthasarathy in 2012. Flavor Temptation’s mission is to bring energy and joy from India to kitchens across the globe through exciting aromas, new flavors and the quality ingredients of our cultural cooking. Their organic spice combo kits and curry sauces teach customers how to easily cook up traditional delicious Indian recipes from scratch.
- Grand Marais Outfitters, an outdoor gear and clothing store founded in Grand Marais, MI by Kim Kracke Weaver in 2011. Grand Marais Outfitters is the hub of activity serving people travelling through Michigan’s Upper Peninsula and they strive to create a hospitable fun environment for customers to create a memorable experience. Their building is a green renovation, solar powered and carries a large variety of eco-friendly products.
- McPherson Local, a general store that carries all Michigan-made products founded in Saline, MI by Jennifer McPherson in 2017. With over 160 Michigan makers housed inside, McPherson Local strives to uplift, highlight, and support local small businesses.
- Madame Chu Delicacies, a producer of Southeast Asian sauces and pastes founded in Sun Prairie, WI by Josey Chu in 2017. All Madame Chu products are handmade in small batches and produced locally using all-natural ingredients (no MSG, non-GMO, no Gluten Added, Vegan, Vegetarian). The company offers handcrafted products representing the authentic flavors and techniques passed from generation to generation with a mission to fill the void of Southeast Asian flavors in the market
- The Goblin King Players, a professional shadowcast theatre company in Flint, MI founded by Kristina Lakey in 2017. The Goblin King Players bring movies to life on stage with screen accurate costumes, handmade wigs, makeup, props and special effects. They shadow classic films like Labyrinth, The Princess Bride, Hocus Pocus and more.
- Motor City Woman Studios, a recording and production studio in Southfield, MI founded by Robin Kinnie in 2016. As an avid talk radio listener, Robin saw the need for more diverse voices in broadcasting and podcasting. Her studio offers audiobook, podcast and voiceover production with an emphasis on accurate media representation.
- sweet bean, a chocolate company in Cleveland, OH founded by Kristin Barnes in 2014. Focusing on handmade filled chocolates and single-origin bean to bar chocolate, with the occasional marshmallow or other confection, sweet bean creates the treats people love to eat.
- Aaron Christopher Events, an events company in Flint, MI founded by Aaron Jackson in 2020. Their goal is bring Class, Culture, and as The Great Notorious B.I.G said “Style n Grace.” They use their events not only for a good time and relaxing but we will be networking, engaging in philanthropy, and most importantly creating opportunities for community development.
- Estella’s Vegan Dessert Boutique, a small batch bakery in Detroit founded by chef, Chantele Jones, in 2020. The bakery is dedicated to offering its customers a wide range of plant-based dishes that are both healthy and flavorful. Estella’s is southern style with a twist and home of the “vegan pound cake.”
- AFC Ann Arbor, a semi-professional soccer club in Ann Arbor founded in 2014. AFC Ann Arbor’s men’s team competes in the USL League 2, and their women’s team competes in the United Women’s Soccer league.
- epiphany studios, a state-of-the-art hot glass studio and gallery in Pontiac, owned and operated by glass artist April Wagner. Creating one of a kind sculptures and gifts items that are contemporary, colorful, and well-crafted. From paperweights and decanters, to huge wall and atrium sculptures.
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About The Cackle
Each week on The Cackle, we highlight small businesses, startups, and people who have an impact on communities across the Midwest. We explore a wide range of topics relating to the vibrancy of local economies, including: entrepreneurial journeys, economic trends found in our research, the challenges facing small businesses and startups face, and the importance of building a diverse and inclusive community.
EntryPoint is a registered 501(c)(3).