HARVEY-Holly Jo Smith's 50th birthday was coming up.
"I had been looking for something to do. I worked at Wahlstrom's and I had raised four kids," Smith said. "I was ready for something else."
She and her husband, Brian Elenich, took some road trips and in the course of these travels, visited vintners and farmers.
Moscato Bella, a wine available at Michigan Made. (Journal photo by Renee Prusi)
"I told my husband, we could sell this wine. So I did a little research and here I am."
Here is at Michigan Made, a storefront in Maple Leaf Court in Harvey that lives up to its name: It carries Michigan made arts and crafts, Michigan made wines and beers, and all other sorts of Michigan products.
"Seven days after my 50th birthday, we opened," Smith said. That was in December 2012. "It has been fantastic. I feel real blessed."
Michigan Made started out with art and the rest followed, Smith said.
"At first it was just art, but we needed more," she said. "So now we're an art store that sells beer and wine."
Included works done by the owner herself.
"I like to make something every day," Smith said. "I put away the other stuff I might be doing and create."
The day prior to being interviewed, for example, Smith took some glass from a broken wine bottle and fashioned a beautiful tree.
"All my art is from recycled and repurposed materials," she said.
A wide range of art is on display at any given time at Michigan Made. Some of the artists include Sandy Mager, who does oils; Jackie Gallagher, mosaics; Brooks Sloan, watercolors; and Kirsten Englund and Michael Elenich, photography.
"We have Lake Superior Woodworks, which repurposes wood that washes up on shore," Smith said. "And we have three retired ladies, who don't want me to use their names, who do hand-painted glasses.
"Recently, we added Wendel Suckow, who does turned wood, and Jim Curtis, who does benches," she said.
Helen Bicigo from Skandia does T-shirts and stickers, while Ever Yielding Acres of Skandia supplies syrup and Mark Jasper provides honey and jams. Gail Albright of Michigan takes old sweaters and makes them into beautiful mittens.
"We try to do as much local stuff as possible," Smith said. Like Liz Yelland of Negaunee, who does cards and paintings sold at Michigan Made.
The coffee sold at Michigan Made comes from Falling Rock Cafe in Munising, while Rudy's Seasoning comes from Houghton County.
"We also have things from Keweenaw Kitchen in Baraga and U.P. Foods in Lake Linden," she said. "It has been really cool to find out all the great stuff that's out there."
Coolers filled with Michigan beers include one that's almost exclusively brews from the U.P.
Michigan Made is open from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday.
"But I am here more hours than that," Smith said with a smile. "I live close by and I absolutely love what I do."
And people have come to know that. Sometimes Smith will arrive at home to find someone has left her some wood or glass or other items they think she might be able to use in her own art - or to pass along to others.
All of which is welcomed by the enthusiastic entrepreneur.
"If I had more room, I'd have more stuff," she said.
Located at 5099 U.S. 41 in Harvey, Michigan Made can be reached by calling 273-2277.
For more information, visit its website at justmichiganmade.com.
Renee Prusi can be contacted at 906-228-2500, ext. 240.