MARQUETTE — To say White’s Party Store stands on the grounds of legendary Upper Peninsula history is not an exaggeration at all.

“I found this building on a map from the 1800s,” says co-owner Jamie Strand.

Starting as a neighborhood grocery store, before White’s was called White’s it was also a beauty shop, candy store and possibly the first U.P. shop to be issued a liquor license following the end of prohibition.

Through all of this change, White’s and its predecessors have always been a local, family-owned shop — a place nestled right in the Marquette community; and Mac and Jamie Strand strive to keep that tradition alive.

“[There’s] always an opportunity to get to know the community, and especially the history — the history is so important,” says Jamie.

The original White family, to which whom the store is named after, stops in a couple times a year to visit their old business and wax nostalgic about years past. Community members who have lived and breathed Marquette all of their lives “tell stories about how they stopped in here [when it used to be a candy shop] and bought their favorite candies every week.”

History and community have always worked here as a team. All of the local breweries and restaurants — such as Ore Dock Brewing Company and Blackrocks Brewery — work together to keep the craft industry growing. In fact, Jamie admits that former White’s employees are now at Ore Dock Brewing Company and Blackrocks, saying, “everyone has a history together.”

Neighborhood regulars and visitors to the town filter into the shop all of the time, and all are invited to buy and to learn. Here, personalized customer service is top priority, and any employee at White’s is there to offer knowledge.

Apart from selling an excellent selection of craft products, they also have home brewing and wine-making supplies. Home brewing is a fast-growing industry, especially in the Marquette area. In the past year, a Marquette Homebrewing Club has been established with very enthusiastic participation. “I love that people make their own…,” Jamie says, “that they take the time to make a good drink.”

White’s Party Store represents close-knit neighborhoods, a welcoming community and a growing craft industry. It not only offers rare bottles, but it also offers customers a chance to interact with Marquette history. And yes, you can buy the latest cans from Blackrocks Brewery, or maybe pick up some candies or a flask from their specialized gift selections; but just remember the conversation, knowledge, history and service are the real prize.

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