I love the state I live in. I was born and raised in metro-Detroit, went to school and have family roots in the UP, and live and raise my children in a small town on the shores of Lake Michigan. Of all the places I have explored and traveled, I am always proud to be from the Midwest and happy to come home to Michigan. I love all four seasons that we have. I love how we are surrounded by water and that lakes, rivers, and streams are always minutes away, no matter where we are. And who doesn't love pulling out your mitten and showing where you live or where you've been?
My sister and I took a pickup truck and filled it to the brim one spring as we traveled a 100-mile yard sale through the Midwest. At the end of our trip, I found a classic Montgomery Ward tandem bike in a farmer's barn. His kids and grandkids had grown and didn't ride it. I had to have it and somehow managed to add it to the overflowing truck. We cleaned up that orange tandem bike and it became the main mode of transportation for me and my young daughter throughout our small beach town.
Tandem For Two got its start in 2013 and the logo was born when my son suggested the name, complete with our orange tandem bike. He got it right. This tandem bike, that went from a Midwest farm to a small beach town, sums up all that we love about where we live. Its bike basket has carried veggies from our farmers' market, towels for the beach, picnic dinners to the park, and even our dachshund gets an occasional ride. It's about slowing down and exploring and celebrating what we find, whether that's where we live or where life takes us.
As Tandem For Two has grown, I have realized that part of celebrating where we live is making the products in our communities and involving others on this journey. This one woman, part-time business has grown from sewing pillows at my kitchen counter into a full-time crew. I love working with people that need experience, income, or flexibility and are able to put their talents to a purpose. We are single and stay-at-home parents, retirees, the underemployed, and students who need first time job experience. I also partner with other small, local businesses that employ even more individuals and refugees where we live. As every year, 10% of our profits are given back to our communities. This year we hope to support as many refugee families as we can. As they have been torn from their communities, we want them to feel welcomed and become a part of ours.
Tandem For Two is not only a creative outlet for individuals, or a champion of our communities, but also provides an avenue to celebrate the everyday activities of where we live with handcrafted products that we take pride in creating.