CUSTOMERS FLOCK TO “MADE IN AMERICA” STORE
A store that carries only products that are 100 percent American-made is
attracting hundreds of new visitors to the tiny town of Elma, N.Y. “Dozens of
tour buses have added Elma as a stop this year,” according to a report that
aired on National Public Radio (NPR) last month. “On their way to scenic sites
like Niagara Falls, these tourists are squeezing in a visit to the Made in
Shop owner Mark Andol boards the tour buses to welcome clients personally and to
explain that shopping at the store is a patriotic gesture. “Made in this country
by American workers, and the money stays in our economy,” he says. “So, enjoy
For Andol, NPR reported, the decision to open the Made in America store has a
personal as a well as a commercial component. Several years ago, the welding
company he owns had to lay off almost half its 70-person workforce after losing
major contracts to foreign competitors.
In the beginning, the store stocked just 50 items. Now it offers more than 3,000
products. You won’t find everything, of course: there are no electric can
openers, coffee makers or just about anything electronic. Prices are
competitive. Jeans cost $30, while $14 will buy you a T-shirt that says, “China
is a long drive to work.”
Store manager Rob Weylan makes sure every product, right down to the packaging
materials, is 100 percent American. Vendors have to say where each component of
their product is made and sign letters of authenticity. This step is essential
because loopholes in Federal Trade Commission rules allow many items to be
labeled “Made the USA” when it’s only partly true. The store manager says he
spends hours verifying manufacturers’ claims.
Andol says sales have doubled from this time last year, but the store is
investing all the revenue in new products, so he has not taken home a profit. He
says he is already in contact with people who want to open up franchises.
Here's the link:
Made in America Store
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