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Poplin: Celebrating independents

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For several Julys in a row, The Ann collaborated with Think Local First to celebrate locally owned, independent businesses. It was one of our favorite editions of the magazine, mostly because The Ann itself is a locally owned, independent business and we identified with the people we wrote about.

But not this year. Think Local First has shut down. The good news is the reason it shut down: A lot of organizations besides TLF are invested in trying to make local businesses successful these days. It’s fair to say the local movement has taken hold, especially in Washtenaw County.

That doesn’t mean we’re going to stop our July celebrations. In fact, in this issue we’ve doubled down, celebrating not just local independents, but the bravest of the brave: local independents owned and operated by spouses.

Again, The Ann can identify. Myra and I — along with cofounder Jim McBee — dragged this magazine to life, kicking and screaming. Myra was kicking and I was screaming. And we still are. There are many times when we wonder what we were thinking. Then again, there are times — such as when we’re celebrating shared goals and achievements — when we wonder why we waited so long to start a magazine together. (Our children, it must be noted, have never gotten past the “What were they thinking?” stage.)

I had the honor of interviewing the eight intrepid couples in this month’s celebration of independents. They represent a cross-section of the community but they all share one thing in common: They are tight with their spouses. When they come home from work, they don’t ask each other what they did that day. Instead, they try very, very hard not to ask each other why they did what they did that day. It’s a subtle distinction that spouses in business together — spiznesses? — understand all too well.

Kyle Poplin

Kyle Poplin is co-founder and editor of The Ann magazine.

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