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Great Lakes, Unsalted and Shark Free.

bartender bottle opener


When you’re feeling the need to feel the sand between your toes and hear the waves crashing against the shore, there’s more than the east and west coasts to visit. The Great Lakes offer amazing summer temperatures, clean beaches, marinas, and fishing opportunities. Oh yeah, and as you may have heard, the Great Lakes are Unsalted and Shark Free.

The Great Lakes include Huron, Michigan, Superior, Ontario and Erie. Together they are the largest body of fresh water on Earth, accounting for 20 percent of the freshwater on Earth. 10 percent of US residents and 30% of Canadian residents live in the Great Lake Basin. 85% of the Fresh Water surface area in the US is in the Great Lakes.

All of the Great Lakes are bordered by Ontario, the Canadian province to the north. To this day, the Great Lakes account for a large amount of shipping, with international shipments arriving via sea freight from China, India, and elsewhere. Goods also leave from the US for destinations around the globe.

There are over 17 National Parks in the Great Lakes basin. Some of the most popular include:

  • Isle Royale National Park
  • Pictured Rocks
  • Apostle Islands
  • Voyageurs

These park feature sandstone cliffs, sand dunes, lakes, beaches, forest, waterfalls and shoreline calling you to visit. A Circle Tour of Lake Superior is not well know, but popular among those who try it. The tour consists of eight parks or rec areas:

  • Apostle Islands National Lakeshore
  • Lake Superior Provincial Park
  • Isle Royale National Park
  • Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore
  • Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park
  • Pukaskwa National Park
  • Grand Island National Recreation Area
  • Isle Royale National Park
  • Sleeping Giant

If you have time, the full road trip tour is about 1300 miles total.

Shipwreck Coast

Over 150 years ago, the booming shipping industry helped boost the local economies of cities all around the shores of the Great Lakes. One popular route was through Sault Ste. Marie, connecting Lake Huron and Lake Superior, and on the Lake Michigan side of this route many ships became stranded by weather and sank. This area along the Michigan shoreline became known as Shipwreck Coast because so many of ship succumbed to the terribly unpredictable weather. Because the Great Lakes are unsalted, many of the shipwrecks are well preserved to this day.


To get to Lake Superior from overseas, freighters must pass through the Soo Locks at the twin cities called Sault (pronounced Sue) Ste. Marie (Canada and Michigan each have one), a set of locks that allows ships to nagivate the 20 foot drop between the two lakes. Here’s some interesting facts about the locks:

● Half a trillion US Dollars worth of iron ore pass through the lock annually – that’s nearly all of the iron ore consumed by the world.
● The largest freighter to pass through the locks is the Paul R. Tregurtha, with a length just over 1000 ft.
● It takes about 9 hours for a freighter to make it through the river way between Huron and Superior

There’s much fun to be had in the Great Lakes, whether scuba diving for shipwrecks or kayaking around Isle Royale. While all of this fun is being had, remember that you don’t need to worry about getting salt in your eyes or losing a leg to a shark!

Here’s link to that cool bottle opener in our shop: Great Lakes, Unsalted and Shark Free

Go on, click it! You’ll need one one your popping bottle at the Soo Locks.


Do Promotional Products Really Work?



Promotional products are a type of conventional marketing: Pick a product with a purpose, print your logo on it and unleash it on your potential customers and clients. Should your prospects see your logo on a bottle opener, a portable phone charger or a flash drive, they may be more likely to hire you for their needs. Promotional products assist with brand awareness by keeping your brand at the front of the mind of a customer using your product. A customer slurping their morning coffee everyday from a travel mug with your logo on it will remember to use your company when the need arises. Don’t buy travel mugs, though, MerchCrafters doesn’t print onto those (yet).

Do promotional products still hold the same weight now that they before the internet came along and turned the world upside down? Do they still work? Tweets are cheaper, but do they leave the same lasting impression that tangible swag leaves on a person?

Well, the numbers speak for themselves. Let’s take a look at some stastistics, surely all the result of quadruple-blind, randomized studies that I’ve found on the internet (Just kidding, sources at the end).

1. 89% of shoppers can remember the name of a company that gave them a promotional product in the last two years

2. Prior to being given a promotional product, 55% of consumers had done business with the business. Following receipt of a promotional product, 85% of consumers spent money with the business.

3. 8 out of 10 adults own between 1 and 10 promotional products.

4. 53% percent of these folks use a promotional product minimum once weekly.

5. Six out of 10 of them hang on to promotional products for up to two years.

6. Just 20% of adults will throwaway an unwanted promotional product.

7. Satisfied customers that receive promotional products will refer up to five times as many people than customers who only receive an appeal letter

8. 63% of adults re-gift the promotional products that they don’t want to hold onto.

9. Nine out of ten consumers have minimum one promotional product in their kitchen, 3/4 have minimum one in their workspace, and over half have at least one in their bedroom.

10. 77% of adults agree that a promotional product’s usefulness is the number-one reason to keep it, with health and safety, and computer accessories topping the list.


Now, quick, go buy some bottle openers!!


John Briggs






5 Surprising Facts About How Promotional Products Are Used


Cool Bottle Openers Coming To a Party Near You

After months of work, merchcrafters.com is just about ready to launch. This has been a long process that has involved a worldwide team of front-end and back-end developers, graphic designers, and artists, from three continents, all coordinating to get this thing done. I am very excited to see where this adventure takes us can’t wait to hear feedback from you guys about the shop functionality and our products. I think we have some great designs and I hope you enjoy using the products as much as we have had in developing them.

Stay tuned for more updates!

John Briggs


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