Rare Earth Goods


By: Ashley Geist

Rare Earth Goods storefront

Driving down Division Street in Ishpeming, Michigan, you can’t miss Rare Earth Goods.  Situated on a corner, the storefront beckons with a large window display of products and a colorfully sided exterior — and that’s just the way owner Pam Perkins wants it.

Perkins originally began her business venture with an art studio across town; however, when she realized the location wasn’t working out, she capitalized on a growing niche in the market for an art co-op and natural foods store in the West End of Marquette County.

“When I first opened, I was going to do strictly art, but then I thought I’ll bring in some natural, organic foods and see how it goes.”

Rare Earth Goods opened in its current location in 2012. In its humble beginnings, the store had few products — some shelves with noodles, spaghetti sauce, and pieces of local artwork.  Now, the store has grown to accommodate coolers, clothing racks, and rows of shelves with different products.

The store carries products that are natural, organic, and in essence, out-of-the-ordinary.  Food wise, Rare Earth Goods focuses on providing fresh, locally grown or harvested produce and meat. There are also local eggs, cheeses, and coffee, plus vegetarian and vegan options. Perkins also carries wine and beer and gives customers a “design your own six pack” option.

“I don’t carry any mainstream beers,” Perkins said. “I carry craft beers, there’s a big following for craft beers right now, and I’ve got a huge wine selection, a lot of Michigan wines.”

Along with edible products, Rare Earth Goods also sells clothing, much of which is Fair Trade, handmade purses and bags, essential oils, household products, jewelry, and much more. In addition, all the local artwork displayed in the business is there on consignment.

When people shop at Rare Earth Goods, Perkins hopes they will be satisfied with their experience and want to spread the word about her business.

“It’s unique, epicurious, and a mish-mash of many different things,” Perkins said of the Rare Earth Goods shopping experience.

On the note of shopping, Perkins stresses the idea of shopping right here in your own community, which also furthers her choice to carry products that are from the area.

“When you buy local, you’re supporting your community. The money isn’t going to a big box store; it’s right here.”

Besides retail, another aspect Perkins would like to bring to Rare Earth Goods is the addition of a café. Perkins is hoping this plan will come to life in December 2014. Perkins plans to serve a lunch menu of soups, salads, and Panini’s; she is exploring the idea of serving breakfast in the near future, too. The lunch café would be open Monday through Friday from 11AM to 2PM.

As for her personal goals?

“I haven’t taken a paycheck in two years,” said Perkins. “I put all the money back into the store and new stock to build an even better store. I’d like to eventually be able to take a paycheck,” she laughed.

Rare Earth Goods is located at:

200 East Division Street

Ishpeming, MI 49849

Hours: Mon-Sat, 11AM-7PM

Check out Rare Earth Goods on Facebook.