MINNEAPOLIS - If you want to support locally grown businesses while you do your holiday shopping, the University of Minnesota Alumni Association is making it easier than ever.
For the first time ever, an online marketplace will connect the general public with products made exclusively by businesses owned by University of Minnesota alumni. The Minnesota Alumni Market is offering some unique, U of M themed products for sale and at least 10 percent of the proceeds from each sale will go back the University of Minnesota Alumni Association.
"You don't have to be a graduate to shop," said Lisa Huber with the Alumni Association. "Anyone can come to this place and they love the stories behind it and the products we're putting out and they're in turn supporting alumni."
The market features some special edition products from large businesses, like the Faribault Woolen Mill Co., but it's also a platform for smaller entrepreneurs and artists to sell their products.
The owner of Great Lakes Northern Outfitter, Spencer Barrett, says the market is a win-win for his company and the place where it all began.
"To have it be a business that we started there and now to be able to work with them still and have it be a resource for us has been amazing," Barrett said.
The owners of Woodchuck USA, which creates laser cut and engraved wood products, is selling some exclusive items on the market.
"Our first (customer) was the bookstore at the U of M actually," said John Guenveur. "It's an amazing way to enable consumers who care about these things to actually make a difference by purchasing these products that are made locally here and started by U of M alumni. It's amazing."
The market currently features 16 alumni makers, each featuring several products. The University of Minnesota Alumni Association is still looking for more businesses to take part. Applicants must be University of Minnesota graduates, partial owners of their business and members of the Alumni Association. For more information click here.