NELDON: Celebrating all things ‘Made in Michiana’

Published 8:48 am Thursday, October 18, 2018

French Paper Mill in Niles has boasted about the manufacturing company’s energy efficiency since before it was cool to do so. In what decade did French Paper Company replace fossil fuels with hydroelectric energy?

Answer: 1922.

The Edward Lowe Foundation in Cassopolis is dedicated to bolstering entrepreneurship and land stewardship. For which product is this foundation’s namesake responsible?

Answer: Kitty litter.

These questions and many more stumped the Leader Publications staff as we kicked off our 38th annual Horizons edition earlier this month with a trivia contest debuting this year’s theme: Made in Michiana.

How many times have you driven by a factory in southwest Michigan and wondered what is made there?

Have you ever wondered how many people it takes to run the cornfield you pass on your way to work?

Where in southwest Michigan can you find homemade apple butter?

These questions and so many more may be answered this February, when Leader Publications publishes Horizons 2019.

This year’s edition will focus on all sorts of things created in Michiana, and the people who make those things.

Part of the fruit belt, southwest Michigan generates thousands of tons of produce each season. Some of the region’s most popular wines are made from grapes grown right in our backyard. Items ranging from bathtubs to car parts are created at factories here, literally connecting southwest Michigan to places all over the world.

Handcrafted art, tools and gifts made right here can be found at shops, boutiques and other organizations all over the area.

On another level, the people who grew up in southwest Michigan, or at one time called the region home, are products of the area, too, and were therefore “made in Michiana.”

As we begin work on our biggest product of the year, we encourage you to think of the people you know who fit these categories.

Who makes your favorite homemade peanut butter? Where do you buy art for your living room? What is your favorite made-from-scratch menu item to order at a local restaurant? Who has a great story to tell?

Share your ideas via email at, or by writing us a letter and sending it to 217 N. Fourth St. in Niles. Interested in advertising your business in this publication? Email

We’re so excited to get to work showcasing all the products of this region. We can’t wait to share your stories.

Ambrosia Neldon is the general manager at Leader Publications. She can be reached by phone at (269) 687-7700 or by email at