You are viewing this article in the archives. For the latest breaking news and updates in Ann Arbor and the surrounding area, see
Posted on Mon, Dec 12, 2011 : 5:59 a.m.

'Made in Michigan': MI General Store opens in Ypsilanti

By Laura Blodgett

The MI General Store, located at 44 E. Cross St. in Ypsilanti’s Depot Town and owned by the same people who own Cafe Ollie next door, plans to open today after receiving a license to sell beer and wine for off-site consumption.

In addition, Cafe Ollie received a license to start serving beer and wine as of Dec. 9.

“We wasted no time when the liquor license came through,” said Mark Teachout, who owns the store with his wife Danielle Schwerin. “We had orders just waiting to be called in.”


Mark Teachout co-founded the MI General Store next to Cafe Ollie in Ypsilanti's Depot Town.

Laura Blodgett | For


The MI General Store is opening today.

Laura Blodgett |

Teachout and Schwerin have already received much of the Michigan products that will be sold at the store, and more is coming.

“Although it is not 100 percent of what the store will carry in the future, we have a very large representation to be able to have our soft opening,” said Teachout.

A gourmet specialty shop featuring Michigan products, the store will primarily sell wine and beer with a small selection of chocolate, sweets, snacks and cheese.

Teachout is being very strict regarding what products qualify as “made in Michigan.” With the exception of coffee, which is not grown in Michigan, all products have to be grown, manufactured and packaged in state.

“Many things known as being from Michigan are not — like automobiles,” said Teachout. “I’m from Flint. I know what happened to General Motors. Vernors is owned by Pepsi. A lot of these things were originally from Michigan but aren’t anymore.”

On the flip side, Teachout said the store plans to sell many Michigan products that fly under the radar.

“There’s not a whole lot of companies here that produce old style hard candies, but I’m excited about Oh My Lolli! out of Brighton. Perkins Pickles are great. The Great Lakes Potato Chip Co. in Traverse City — their product is probably the best I’ve ever tasted and it is completely grown and packaged here," he said.

He added: "People were wondering if we could fill a whole store. There are so many things being produced here that I could probably fill up a Walmart.”

Teachout anticipates that the MI General Store's gift baskets and special orders will sell well, as well as its large selection of Michigan craft beer and wine.

The Michigan theme will even extend to non-food items like local artists who will display and sell their art on the walls and books and music from in-state authors and musicians, which are already for sale in Cafe Ollie.

The store plans to host a grand opening in January.

Laura Blodgett is a freelance reporter for



Wed, Dec 21, 2011 : 4:30 a.m.

They've got Ghettoblaster from Motor City Brewing. Just what I've been looking for!


Sun, Dec 18, 2011 : 3:28 p.m.

After reading this article, I was super excited to check out a store that had not just Michigan-made, but also Michigan grown products. I love that it has Michigan products, but very few of them (if any at all) are actually also grown in Michigan. So this sentence is incorrect: "all products have to be grown, manufactured and packaged in state." Just an FYI. With that said, for me, the best 'Michigan store' around is the Ypsilanti Food Coop.


Mon, Dec 19, 2011 : 7:46 p.m.

Thank You for your excitement about the store. When our comment regarding all things being grown, manufactured and packaged in state we were taken a bit out of context. We do hope to carry products meeting that criteria and in most cases have. Let me name a few. All the grapes from the wine is grown in Mi. The corn from the popcorn is michigan corn, the potatoes in the "Great Lakes" chips are michigan grown. This is just a cpl examples. ALL of the products employ michigan workers and support local business. We could easily have opened a store stocked with made in china products, etc., but we only carry Made in Mi. for a reason, and that reason is supporting our state. We also support the YFC. I hope your are not suggesting that less stores in ypsi and the surrounding area should carry these products? The fact that the YFC also carries some of the Made in Michigan products that we do is a positive thing. We hope many, many more stores pop up with these same ideals!

Lets Get Real

Thu, Dec 15, 2011 : 1:40 p.m.

Wish you much success. There's a great Bloody Mary Mix made locally by a new entrepreneur. I'll stop by the store and connect you.


Wed, Dec 14, 2011 : 10:29 p.m.

Great concept! I'm looking forward to visiting very soon and spending some money there!


Tue, Dec 13, 2011 : 3:54 a.m.

Word on the street is that the CooP and other local merchants carry a lot of these exact products already, at equal if not better prices. The CooP for sure has a large selection of local wines and beer, and a nice selection of mead as well.

science genius girl

Tue, Jan 3, 2012 : 6:26 p.m.

The MI Gen Store is a MI specialty store, a completely different environment and concept than the Co-Op, which I am a member of and fully support. They actually have very competitive prices, and a great rotating selection of products. Even though there may be some overlap in the tasty beverage department with the big name companies like St. J, and Founders, they also have some pretty unique and hard to find items. The staff is very enthusiastic and well versed in its products, open to suggestions, and willing to special order items you may have trouble finding. I would encourage people to support this new local business. I really don't see the competition between the Co-Op and the MI Gen store at all. I wouldn't go into the Co-Op to just buy wine or beer, and I wouldn't go into the MI Gen Store to just buy my groceries. The more local business the better! Go Ypsi!


Sun, Dec 18, 2011 : 3:32 p.m.

I couldn't agree more. In fact, the Coop just put in a brand new cooler to feature their expansive selection of Michigan beer, wine & kombucha. @ Lovaduck, it's not a question of raining on Cafe Ollie's parade, but simply pointing out that perhaps opening a store around the corner from another store carrying incredibly similar products was a bit of an odd choice.

free form

Wed, Dec 14, 2011 : 11:03 p.m.

This would certainly be an uninteresting and meaningless conversation if everyone just posted "rah-rah" cheerleader comments. I, for one, enjoy reading differing opinions and constructive criticism. Acorn brings up a valid point which the new business owner should take into consideration when choosing products and setting prices.


Tue, Dec 13, 2011 : 6 p.m.

Couldn't we be encouraging about a new business without vomiting on the birthday cake in favor of another (admittedly admirable) business? Let's not be so petty.


Tue, Dec 13, 2011 : 3:52 a.m.

Yay! I was so excited to read about this a couple of months ago. I stopped in tonight and it's the risk of them being sold out the next time I go in, there are some great looking Michigan-product gift baskets ready for giving. The owners were friendly and helpful, too, which is always a bonus! They have quite a bit of stuff already, and I'm looking forward to seeing what else they'll have in weeks to come.


Tue, Dec 13, 2011 : 1:55 a.m.

It's nice to see a store that doesn't have "made in china" labels on everything.

John Tucker

Mon, Dec 12, 2011 : 7:28 p.m.

Good Luck! Back at the turn of the Century (Sounds funny, huh) I had Tuckers Cafe at that address.


Mon, Dec 12, 2011 : 7:23 p.m.

I am excited to visit. But I am beyond curious to know how chooses which business openings to cover? I have seen so many small businesses open in Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti yet not a peep from So what's your protocol?


Mon, Dec 12, 2011 : 6:17 p.m.

Amazing! Can't wait to check it out!


Mon, Dec 12, 2011 : 5:48 p.m.

Sounds like a great store! I will be in soon to check it out!


Mon, Dec 12, 2011 : 3:51 p.m.

Sounds like a great addition to our city. I will surely visit soon. I do hope the handicapped access is a bit better than at cafe ollie. I do understand the difficulties these old and historic buildings present when trying to make them accessible. It does seem like when they try to make access better, they do not seek voices of the handicapped to let them know what works and what doesnt.. I guess i will hope for the best before i make my first visit


Mon, Dec 19, 2011 : 12:47 a.m.

A somewhat delayed response, but from both my experience and all accounts the owners of Ollie/MiM are extremely friendly. It may not be a bad idea to give them a heads up either via Facebook, e-mail, or even phone regarding the lack of access. They may be operating under the assumption the ramp is adequate, when it actually is not.


Wed, Dec 14, 2011 : 6:12 a.m.

Yes cafe ollie does have a ramp. one that if difficult to navigate with a mobility device. And often when you finally reach the back door tables or chairs need moved so one can cross the threshold. No one is raining on the parade of a new business opening. Just hoping that access will not be difficult at the new store. And you as a temporarily abled person are sympathetic with the handicapped but god forbid someone should mention access.Sometimes a bit of information or questioning of the handicapped could help businesses with their accessibility. I fully support new businesses and im happy to see this one open and i will visit it soon. There was zero highjacking of the story of a new shop opening. I guess i hoped the shop owners might see the comment and mention about their accessibility. yes i do take offense that you think its a bad thing to mention issues for the handicapped. How bout you never go in a few stores since they are not accessible, might change your tune, if you are the one left out in the cold. And yes you can bet your boots that I and others who are handicapped will yell like hell for access to any new business in my town.


Tue, Dec 13, 2011 : 5:57 p.m.

I, as a temporarily abled person, have great sympathy with the handicapped; yet I wonder why a nice article about an idealistic entrepreneur has to be hijacked to plead a personal cause? Are you going to "yell like hell" for access with every business that tries to open in the area. I just think we should be cheering him on; not throwing accusations of neglect of an important minority in his way. Sorry if this offends.


Tue, Dec 13, 2011 : 1:06 p.m.

My memory may be off, but isn't there a ramp at the rear entrance of Cafe Ollie?

Berda Green

Mon, Dec 12, 2011 : 3:47 p.m.

congrats sweetie wish u all the best


Mon, Dec 12, 2011 : 3:12 p.m.

He mentioned soda pop. What about Faygo? I do believe they are still made in Detroit. Can't wait to see if he gets some of products out of Traverse City and South Haven. Cherries and blueberries...O my. Can't wait to visit this store.


Mon, Dec 12, 2011 : 5:37 p.m.

Fayo is no longer a "Michigan" made product--However, Frostie is! :) Best of Luck--and Thanks for bringing such a grand idea into Ypsilanti. You have our support from; Disorder Studio! Best of Luck!!

Some Guy in 734

Mon, Dec 12, 2011 : 4:45 p.m.

Yes... what ABOUT Faygo? Look at the first picture, then let your eye drift to the right of Mark.

Grand Marquis de Sade

Mon, Dec 12, 2011 : 3:08 p.m.

"Many things known as being from Michigan are not- like automobiles". Allow me to enlighten Mr. Teachout... Chevrolet Sonic Buick Verano Chevrolet Volt Ford F-150 Ford Focus Chevrolet Silverado GMC Sierra Ford Mustang Mazda 6 Jeep Grand Cherokee Dodge Durango Dodge Avenger Chrysler 200 Cadillac CTS Chevrolet Traverse GMC Acadia Buick Enclave Dodge Dakota All manufactured right here in Michigan. Within the next year Chevrolet Malibus and Impalas will be manufactured in Hamtramck and Lansing Grand River Assembly will add the Cadillac ATS. Sounds like despite the fact that he's from Flint (which supposedly makes him an expert) Mr. Teachout knows very little about Michigan's auto industry.


Tue, Dec 13, 2011 : 3:57 a.m.

@Grand Marquis de Sade FWIW the owner directed me to the Frankenmuth Root Beer when I asked, because it specifies on the packaging that it is made with cane sugar grown in Michigan...he did seem to know what he was talking about.

Grand Marquis de Sade

Mon, Dec 12, 2011 : 4:42 p.m.

Well if the criteria involve where the raw materials come from and where the parts are sourced I guess we'd better make sure that they're using Michigan made sugar, corn syrup, etc in Faygo beverages and Michigan made vegetable oil to fry Better Made's chips.


Mon, Dec 12, 2011 : 4:05 p.m.

In the article the owners state that they focus on products produced, manufactured and even packaged in Michigan. While the cars listed above may be assembled in Michigan (though some may not have been), many of them contain parts sourced from outside the state and country. Chevy even came up with a contest for college programs to figure out an efficient logistics plan for getting the Chinese, Mexican, US and Canadian parts to arrive at the Volt assembly plants in an organized manner.

Rob Pollard

Mon, Dec 12, 2011 : 3:50 p.m.

Your response seems unnecessarily combative. He said ""Many things known as being from Michigan are not ", i.e., "Many" - not all. He then gave the good example of Vernors; I can't tell you how many people want to buy "Michigan" products for a party and then show up with Vernors. His point is that some products made by the Big 3, such as a Ford Fiesta (made in Mexico), Ford Fusion (same), Chrysler 300 (made in Canada), Buick Regal (same) plus many more are considered by some people to be "American" cars when, at least in part, that is patently not the case. I'm not going to get into an argument whether a Kentucky-made Camry is more American than a Mexican-made Fusion. Personally, I'd buy a Fusion over a Camry. I'm just simply pointing out things can be more complicated than simple labels, which I believe is his point as well. Just b/c Buick originated in Flint and is part of Michigan's own GM doesn't mean all of its cars are "Made in Michigan" (or the U.S. for that matter). I wish them success on their store.


Mon, Dec 12, 2011 : 3:35 p.m.

Assembled in Michigan and manufactured in Michigan mean two different things. I am fairly sure if you were to look at the doc sheet that comes with each vehicle, you would notice that a majority of the components manufactured for the vehicle are indeed made elsewhere.


Mon, Dec 12, 2011 : 3:31 p.m.

I might like to add that the Mazda 6 is or will no longer be made in Michigan. Since Ford sold most of its shares of Mazda, the '6' has moved production from the AutoAlliance plant in Flat Rock to Mexico. Leaving just the Mustang. However, Ford has added production of the Fusion to the plant to keep it viable (hard to do todayt with only one vehicle line at an assembly plant). Good list though. Better Made chips and Faygo are still here right? Don't forget all the micro-brews :)


Mon, Dec 12, 2011 : 2:48 p.m.

Thank you for keeping it local. There's a small coffee roaster/packager in Plymouth that sells Fair Trade coffees. Hope you're selling his products. Please print up info about how to get artwork displayed. Best of luck. I'll be visiting.


Mon, Dec 12, 2011 : 2:39 p.m.

How does Cafe Ollie stay in business? I never see anyone in there.


Mon, Dec 12, 2011 : 2:24 p.m.

Hooray for CAPITALISM!

Five Red Hens

Mon, Dec 12, 2011 : 2:03 p.m.

Way to go buds!


Mon, Dec 12, 2011 : 1:53 p.m.

Yeah! I'll be there!


Mon, Dec 12, 2011 : 1:52 p.m.

I seem to remember a Michigan product based store on the other side of Cross. I hope Mark and Danielle are far more successful.


Mon, Dec 12, 2011 : 1:48 p.m.

NICE :) Will visit soon.

Wolf's Bane

Mon, Dec 12, 2011 : 1:32 p.m.

Ich freu mich diesen laden zu besuchen. Bravo.


Mon, Dec 12, 2011 : 1:25 p.m.

Moving to Depot Town next week! Can't wait to shop here.

David Paris

Mon, Dec 12, 2011 : 1:04 p.m.

Is Cafe Ollie in the space formerly occupied by Cafe Luwak? Best of Luck to you Mr Teachout & Co.!


Mon, Dec 12, 2011 : 1:49 p.m.

That's correct.

Mary Bilyeu

Mon, Dec 12, 2011 : 12:38 p.m.

I'm so excited! Best of luck to you - I'm hoping to visit SOON ... :)


Mon, Dec 12, 2011 : 12:38 p.m.

Very cool!

Jim Osborn

Mon, Dec 12, 2011 : 12:34 p.m.

Das ist sehr gut! (This is very good!)


Mon, Dec 12, 2011 : 12:34 p.m.

Can't wait to visit!


Mon, Dec 12, 2011 : 11:09 a.m.