Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Find Out What's New with Mitten Crate and Enter to Get a Crate for FREE!

A few months ago we told you about Mitten Crate, a great new company that was starting up in Michigan. Mitten Crate is a subscription box service that brings great Michigan made food products right to your door step. The company was started back in the summer of 2013 by Cory Wright and Andrew Chmielewski. Since its fruition the popularity of Mitten Crate has exploded, with tons of publicity and growing numbers of crates sold every month. Not only is this good news for the co-owners, but it is also great for Gleaners Community Food Bank.  Through their involvement with this organization, 3 meals are provided per every crate that is sold. 

We caught up Cory from Mitten Crate to see how business is going and to find out what's next for them.

HID- Since starting Mitten Crate, you guys have been featured on the news, as well as various websites and blogs. Did you expect such a big response?
Cory- "Everything came together so fast during that period and we couldn't be happier. We got some major press on Fox2 news, Channel 4, Crain's, and even got a page spread in the January edition of HOUR magazine. Those were the home runs, but the real meat and potatoes came from blogs and sites just like Hip in Detroit. We never expected so many people would be as passionate about what we are trying to do. So a big thanks to all the smaller blogs that were sharing our passion for food, Michigan and charity, not just posting because it's 'news'."

HID- What’s your favorite Mitten Crate item so far?
Cory- "I'll be a good parent and not pick a favorite, however I will let you in on a company that has received some serious success after partnering with us. McClary Bros. Drinking Vinegars (facebook and website) has been picked up by West Elm Marketplace and, both giant nationwide retailers. I'll also add that they are probably the most unique product we have included, and I love making drinks with it."

HID- Any upcoming items that you are especially excited for?
Cory- "We are excited for warmer weather to arrive so we can start including summer items like spice rubs for the grill. We've wanted to include spice rubs and mixes right from the get-go, but we have patiently waited for spring to arrive to people will actually use them outdoors and hopefully with friends and family."

HID- You guys pack all the crates yourself, right? Since you’re growing fast, are you able to keep up with the demand? How long does it take to pack all the Mitten Crates up?
Cory- "We've almost had to push back shipping due to packaging logistics. The December crate blew our expectations of volume through the roof so we had to beg everyone we knew, including our parents, just to get everything out in time. We have some really smart friends in the business world that are helping us streamline the packaging process. Right now it takes about a half day to get everything packaged with 6-8 people helping. We are hoping that as we grow we can be efficient enough to package everything in one day still."

HID- Since you have to travel all over the state to find products, what are some spots that have stuck out to you on your travels?
Cory- "Some hot spots that usually aren't mentioned off the bat (Detroit, Grand Rapids and Traverse City) are Ann Arbor and Kalamazoo. Ann Arbor actually has an amazing farming heritage outside the downtown area and some really talented people are producing great items out of an area mostly known for breweries and college football. Kalamazoo is another cache of development that we love because it's a younger crowd of food entrepreneurs. A lot of food entrepreneurs have had other careers that lead them to business ownership and tend to be a little bit older. But the west side of the state you find a lot of younger business owners where the food business is their first professional foray and that's really exciting for us."

HID- Is there a big response from people outside Michigan ordering Mitten Crates?
Cory- "I never majored in math, but rough estimates put our out of state recipients at around 30%. This was pretty eye opening to us when we first started looking into it, there's a huge amount of ex-Mitten-ganders strewn about the U.S. The top states besides our own seem to be Florida, Texas, Arizona and California..... All warm states, they may be on to something after all."

HID- How is your partnership with Gleaners going?
Cory- "We couldn't have picked a better charitable organization to partner with. They have championed us from the first day we anxiously walked into their building and explained what we were doing. 
We have donated the equivalent of 10,000+ meals since we launched last year. In addition to our monthly donations, 3 meals per crate, we have also donated subscriptions as prizes for the WOMC radio-thon and we just sponsored the gifts for the 7th annual President's Dinner."

HID- What’s next for Mitten Crate?
Cory- "Besides growing our brand we are most interested in getting involved in mentor-ship programs for the food community. We have a pretty good grasp on what it takes to make it in the food scene and would love to help people as passionate as we are successfully launch good food businesses. We have some things in the works and are looking into partnering with a food start-up boot-camp in Detroit where afterwards we would feature the best companies in an edition of Mitten Crate and get the launch of the company kick started. Another idea we've been tossing around is opening a pop-up shop from Thanksgiving to Christmas and only carrying the items found in Mitten Crate over the past year."

Now is your chance to discover what Mitten Crate is all about for yourself, and you don't even have to spend a dime! We've teamed up with our pals at Mitten Crate to let you in on a great giveaway that they are running. Simply follow the instructions below to enter for your chance to win 1 of 3 crates! And there's more than one way to win! You can enter daily and you can share the contest with your friends for even more chances to win! This contest runs now through March 20th.

Remember, Mitten Crates are available as a monthly subscription or you can get a one time crate as a gift or for yourself. To make an order or find out more about this company, head over to


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