Made in Door County Owner Kylie Beenken poses with items for sale on the new website alongside goods from several area businesses. (Photo: Courtesy of Kylie Beenken)
FISH CREEK – Many tourists couldn’t visit Door County this spring and summer to snag their favorite local products, and those businesses missed out both on seeing seasonal customers and some revenue.
Made in Door County, a new website, hopes to bridge that gap between Door County lovers and the small businesses that make up the soul of the area in the age of social distancing.
Local businesses can partner with the site to sell their goods on the platform. Made in Door County aims to be a one-stop shop for Door County merchandise — buyers can order chocolate-covered cherries and baseball hats from two different retailers on one webpage, and they arrive on doorsteps in one nice package.
Made in Door County owner Kylie Beenken moved to Fish Creek around Thanksgiving in 2019. She and her husband just started getting to know local business owners — small businesses charmed them into moving to the area — when the COVID-19 pandemic hit. After speaking with owners about their challenges when the county closed, Beenken wanted to utilize her marketing background to help her new community while “exposing the best of Door County” far beyond the peninsula.
“We wanted to capture the local story in a time when people weren’t able to visit us,” Beenken said. “The same reasons we fell in love with Door County are the reasons people are missing Door County.”
Made in Door County already established partnerships with several local businesses who sell diverse items that are available for sale, along with some Made in Door County products, on the website. One unique offer gives buyers a three or six-month subscription to receive coffee grounds from different local roasters — Door County Coffee & Tea Company, Blue Horse Coffee and Kick Ash Coffee, and possibly others in the future.
Having just launched in recent weeks, Beenken hopes to continue growing even when the pandemic calms down. Interested vendors can request a spot for their products on Made in Door County by filling out an application linked on the site.
Beenken stressed vendors don’t have to be established businesses. She hopes independent people, such as artists, use the site to put their work in the public’s eye.
Door County’s economy relies heavily on the summer tourist season, which was still busy though probably didn’t result in the same incomes as average summers. Beenken noted Made in Door County helps the areas products reach audiences year-round which extends income flows for typically seasonal businesses.
Beyond marketing, Beenken has a deep passion for interior design. Through Made in Door County’s site, she’s offering a service to help people remake their spaces.
“That refresh of space is something a lot of people desire but don’t know how to get there,” Beenken said.
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Home designs start with a phone call with Beenken to get an idea of people’s interests, then “it’s all on the table” as far as help she can offer, whether that’s finding a contractor or having Beenken curate furniture. She has recent experience, too, as her family just built their new Fish Creek home. In fact, the photo on Made in Door County shows the inside of their house.
Beenkeen sees Door County coming out of the pandemic better and with a deeper sense of unity than prior to COVID-19, and she believes Made in Door County and its partnerships can help fulfill both.
“I’m not saying I have all the answers, but I have experience and the willingness to help,” Beenken said. “I want businesses to look at me and know that I will extend my arm and help where I’m able.”
Check out local products curated by Beenken at madeindoorcounty.co.
Contact Sammy Gibbons at (920) 431-8396 or [email protected] Follow her on Twitter at @sammykgibbons or Facebook at www.facebook.com/ReporterSammyGibbons/.
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