McPherson Local Acts As Saline’s Michigan-Made General Store

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One thing that Jen McPherson said surprises people about her store, McPherson Local, is that most people don’t realize just how many things are still manufactured right here in Michigan. Her Saline store on the western side of Ann Arbor Street, between McKay Street and Michigan Avenue only sells products sold right here in the Mitten State.

Jen McPherson

“My husband I were really interested in having a space for artists and makers to really highlight their products. Because so many small businesses don’t just start at Whole Foods. You have to start somewhere and we wanted to be that spot,” McPherson said.

View from the Mezzanine

McPherson said she was both surprised and delighted four years ago when she managed to secure a lease of the then-vacant former Saline library but was delighted to be able to preserve the tall building with its original wooden mezzanine. The register is on your left when you walk in from Ann Arbor Street and inside, you’ll find everything from paintings and salsa to ceramics, pillows and T-shirts.

“I got the idea about five years ago. … This building was the library for the town and was a coffee shop for almost 30 years, so I was familiar with what the building looked like inside,” McPherson added. But after the café closed, “it was vacant for two years and I was so worried that somebody was going to come in and tear all of this out. I just thought I could do something with this space and keep it going.”

Michigan-made foodstuff.

Jewelry, ceramics, decorations and clothes can be found in the mezzanine, tables and the rear wall. Foodstuff like hot sauces, seasonings, mustards, salsas, jams, peanut butter, honey and snacks. There is even Ypsilanti-sourced Go! Ice cream can be found on the right hand wall, and from a freezer at the back.

Michigan-specific pillows.

Alumni from Michigan’s universities can find pillows with their school names on it in the mezzanine. You can also get Saline pillows, which like the university pillows, have the area code and geographic coordinates pointed out like its part of the periodic table.

There is even a section that sells books from area authors like Claudia Whitsitt’s Between The Lines. Most of the books for sale are autographed by the author, according to McPherson.

McPherson Local's book section.

“What’s nice is that every time you come in there is different things to look at, so you never know what you might find,” customer Melissa Lee said, freshly bought Christmas decorations in hand.

That is because of the vastly different rate at which McPherson’s 170 or so suppliers deliver material. For once in 2021, that is not because of supply chain issues, but because her suppliers range from established businesses who deliver substantial amounts of product on a regular basis, to individual artisans, whose volume fluctuates widely.

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