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Are you buying "local" for the holidays?

Are you buying "local" for the holidays?

Are you supporting your local economy?

Local First has a holiday gift guide with suggestions that support locally owned businesses.

You can also find gift suggestions on our WZZM 13 Made in Michigan page that lists nearly 500 companies that make their products in Michigan.

According to ABC News, if each American spent just $64 on American made goods, it would create 200,000 new jobs.  ABC also has information on Made in America goods.

Skywalk Deli hopes to reopen soon

GRAND RAPIDS (WZZM) -- A popular Grand Rapids restaurant that's being forced to shut down may soon re-open in a bigger space.

Skywalk Deli will serve its last sandwich at its current location on Friday. Franklin Partners, which owns the building where the deli is located, plans to rent the space that Skywalk occupies to Panera Bread.

Deli owner, Chris Fehsenfeld, isn't giving up though. He's moving his equipment to a larger space 50 yards away where he hopes to expand the business by adding a food market. All he needs now are investors. Chris Fehsenfeld says, "If this all works out, this deal works out, we'll actually be facing Panera so I'd like to give them a run for their money. I don't have anything against Panera at all. I just think that local business needs to stay downtown and people like it. It's been a good ten year run. I hope to have ten more."

Fehsenfeld says he's waiting on a proposal by Amway which already invested in a competing deli.

The great disasters of Grand Rapids

Grand Rapids - (WZZM) - With all the talk of the world ending tomorrow, which it won't, we thought we would look into Grand Rapid's past to find the cataclysmic events that seemed like it might be the end of the world for the people who had to live through them.

Tim Gleisner is manger of local history and special collections at the Grand Rapids Public Library. He talked with us about the top three GR disasters starting with the great fire in 1873.

"130 families were displaced by this fire north of Michigan Ave. and in Holland burned down," explains Gleisner. "You might think it was the end of the world."

The great fire of Grand Rapids came around the same time as the great Chicago fire. "The cause of it here in Grand Rapids and else where was because the largest industry was lumber," says Gleisner. Add to the fact that, Grand Rapids had a lot of furniture factories with sawdust that could easily catch fire.

Mel Trotter passes out Christmas Food Boxes

GRAND RAPIDS (WZZM) - Mel Trotter Ministries is helping feed 700 local families for Christmas by giving out food boxes. 

They started passsing out food boxes at 9:00 a.m. Thursday.

Carlos Negron-Vega, a recipient of one of the boxes says, "I think this is a blessing for the whole community to know that Mel Trotter is doing this." 

Mel Trotter plans to pass out food boxes at their local thrift stores through Thursday afternoon.  Pre-registered recipients need a form of identification to receive their food box.













Victim of latest GR shooting identified

GRAND RAPIDS, (WZZM) -- Police have identified a victim in an overnight shooting in Grand Rapids.

Authorities say 20  year old Madhi Hayes was shot and killed around 3a.m. Thursday.  His body was found in an alley near the intersection of Prince Street and Henry Avenue on the city's southeast side.

Witnesses say they heard several gun shots and screaming around the time of the shooting. Police say a motive for the shooting is unknown and that the investigation is continuing.


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New children's series filmed in West Michigan

GRAND RAPIDS (WZZM)-West Michigan is the focus of a new children's video series.

A crew is wrapping up filming for the new show called "Charlie & Company". The seven part series is about a golden retriever and his friends who go on adventures, learning along the way.

The production team spent the past two weeks shooting scenes in Norton Shores, Holland, Grand Haven and Grand Rapids. The show's lead actress, producer and writer are all from West Michigan.

"I think today has been my most exciting day so far because we're up, we're moving along and we're having fun," says Danielle Slot, who plays Miss Ellie in the series.

"This is a great chance to teach kids but also to have a lot of fun, and that's what we're doing here," adds producer Adam Mellema.

School Zone Publications is expected to release "Charlie & Company" next summer.