Hardly one year ago we opened the doors to the U.P. Supply Co. storefront for the first time, that was December 11th of 2018. In our first year of the brick and mortar world we couldn’t be more pleased. We’ve met countless folks who we found common connections with, shared Upper Peninsula stories, and there were customers we met for the first time after shipping them orders for the last ten years.
Of course that only scratches the surface of the customers and fans we interact with on an annual basis. We got to know the staff at the Marquette Post Office very well this year, having shipped well over 2,000 orders, with multiple orders to each of the 50 states.
But we do a lot more than supply Upper Peninsula goods.
If you missed any of our shenanigans or you’re new to the brand, we wanted to highlight some of our favorite moments of 2018. And thank you for joining us in ten years of celebrating the Upper Peninsula.
The World’s First Pasty Infused T-Shirts
We love a good April Fool’s Day joke and have a little history of creating them. In 2018 we introduced the World’s First Pasty Infused T-shirts. But it was more than just an idea. Any customer who ordered a shirt with the designated discount code received a shirt with the fresh aroma of steak, potato, onion, and rutabaga. We partnered with our friends at Lawry’s Pasties who let use set the shirts in the pasty warmers for six hours. Quickly, we double bagged them and got them to the post office. Next up, pasty scented cologne?
The Copper Country is Sisu Strong
Father’s Day 2018 brought a devastating flood to Houghton County, becoming one of the worst natural disasters the Upper Peninsula has experienced. Through it all, it was a time where Yoopers came together and flexed their sisu. From Ironwood to Drummond, and from Copper Harbor to Menominee, people reached out to contribute time, make donations, and offer support in every shape and form.
Within 48 hours, the tiny but resourceful UPSCo team managed to pull together a fantastic partnership with the Portage Health Foundation, creating our Copper Country Sisu Strong collection to raise funds for their Flood With Love campaign.
Thanks to you, we have helped raised over $40,000 to date. We’ve shipped shirts and stickers to all 50 states, donating 100% of the profit to the Foundation. This is a design we’ll continue to carry into the future, of which we’ll donate 20% of all future sales.
There is still lots of work to be done, but the character of the Upper Peninsula really shined through. We’re a small community, spread across 17,000 square miles, but we’re a resillient community. Thanks for being awesome.
Plaidurday 2018 at McCarty’s Cove
Plaidurday, the Worldwide Celebration of Plaid, is celebrated each first Friday of October. The idea is to encourage everyone the world to wear plaid, because we’re all connected by a common thread.
Each year we gather people around Marquette to join us for an epic photo at our favorite locations in Marquette. This year we headed to McCarty’s Cove where 141 people and 2 dogs celebrated. Of course, not everyone who celebrates Plaidurday shows up for the photo. We’ll be at it again in 2019, so mark October 4 on your calendars.
Oh, and one more thing, our friends at Stormy Kromer gathered 208 people in Ironwood. Impressive, certainly, but we can’t let this stand. The competition is on for 2019!
Joe Pera Teaches the World About Upper Peninsula Iron Ore
Have you ever wanted a lesson on the history of iron ore in the Upper Peninsula from a choir teacher? We thought so, and so did Adult Swim. After the debut of Joe Pera Shows Your Iron we couldn’t resist but to reach out to Joe and see if he’d be willing to share a little more about his love for geology. And when it comes to interviews, we ask all the hard hitting questions, such as, What is your fondest memory of a rock?.
Several months later we had the pleasure of meeting Joe on his next trip to Marquette. He has a genuine love and appreciation for the Upper Peninsula and is always down to catch a local choir concert or community meal. In October, Joe came to Ore Dock Brewing Company for an evening of stand-up comedy. The show sold out quickly, the room was full of laugher, and there was an intense discussion about feeding squirrels.
One year of brick and mortar
Painting a buffalo plaid wall takes precision and patience. Occasionally, it also requires some leftover box wine from Ladies Night. For an unkown amount of time people have walked by 221 W Washington in Downtown Marquette and didn’t notice a thing, for what must have been decades, the blinds had been closed. Suddenly, with open blinds, from fresh lightbulbs, and the backdrop of a bright red buffalo plaid wall, something new was in town. People commonly asked, “Did this building just appear beteween Babycakes and Revisions?”.
We kicked things off with a grand opening in February. A week later we featured Velodrome Coffee in store serving up tasty beverages for the U.P. 200. During the summer we participated in Blueberry Fest and the Art Stroll. The fall kept us busy with 906 Day and Plaidurday specials, Fresh Coast Film Festival, and another Ladies Night event. During that time we’ve featured the art of Paul Hess, Cameron Wilcox and Dani Knoph.
Let’s bring on 2019, it’s going to be fire!