Ken Campbell has lived in East Lansing his entire life. A graduate of East Lansing High School and Michigan State University, Campbell used his connections with local farmers to open up Campbell’s Market Basket, East Lansing’s only locally owned and sourced market.
“I wanted to bring something different to town,” Campbell said. “You see a lot of chain restaurants here, and I wanted to offer something exclusive to East Lansing that we could make ours.”
Campbell believes his local roots are vital to the success of the business.
“I still have a lot of family and friends here,” Campbell said. “I think it’s important to be owned by a local family because it brings a sort of foundation to the community.”
What sets Campbell’s Market Basket apart from other markets aren’t just the local roots, but also the local ingredients. Campbell’s offers homemade soups, salads, kombucha, nitrogen coffee and much more.
“It’s a lot of work on our end, but it’s worth the extra time and energy,” Campbell said. “The quality of ingredients and home-like atmosphere is what makes us unique, and it’s what keeps people coming back.”
One of the regular visitors to the market is Michael Belligan, a state employee.
“I come here at least once a week,” Belligan said. “I think it’s a great asset to the neighborhood to have them here. I want to support them and make sure they stay in business, and they also have high-quality food.”
The staff at Campbell’s Market Basket is as local as the ingredients, including Michigan State student Ian Trost, who says the the market is a step in the right direction for East Lansing.
“I think this place gives East Lansing some identity,” Trost said. “Rather than having restaurants that you can find on every college campus, places like this make the area a little more special.”
Campbell hopes he can set a trend of locally owned businesses in East Lansing.
“I think a vital part of having a vibrant economy downtown is having places exclusive to East Lansing,” Campbell said. “With all the new residential developments around town, it’s a great time to start a business here. No matter how small we are, we want to pave the way and show that locally owned businesses can be successful here.”