Now before you strangle me over this headline, let me make my point.
A few months ago I made the trip to the Made In America Store; everything in the store is 100% USA made. The store was busy for a Sunday afternoon. People come from all over the United States to visit the store. Owner Mark Andol has appeared in national print, television, and radio media, all fascinated by his concept. What’s makes it fascinating? That there is a sizeable (and growing) market of people who want to purchase commodities manufactured in their home country to protect their dollar and invest in their own job market and economy? That there is so little supply for this demand that one man had the business sense and economic citizenship to make his feeling of civic duty became a national destination? Yes. Unfortunately, that is fascinating. In our personal drives to acquire more goods for less money we continue to make ourselves more vulnerable as an economic whole. Mark Andol stays out of the politics. He’s appeared on Fox and Friends, he’s been interviewed on NPR, he’s been solicited by groups across the political spectrum. He doesn’t budge when they try to pull him one way or the other. Maybe there’s too much taxation and regulation for American manufacturing to be viable. Maybe we don’t do enough to invest in our work force. Mark doesn’t comment. He just loves America. He had no idea his store would be a commercial success. He just wanted to make a statement. Mark owns General Welding and Fabricating across the street. He told me that in 2007/2008, he lost major business to China. He had to lay off more than half of his employees. He wasn’t going out without a fight. He purchased the vacant Ford dealership across the street with one simple sales strategy. Everything in the store would be 100% USA made. He had 50 products to sell. Today he has over 4,000 and counting. What’s the point I make with my post title? The Made In America Store should be the rule, not the exception. The fact that the store is so remarkable, shows how deep we’re in it. Buying American isn’t a marketing niche. We have to claim responsibility for our own actions and decisions as consumers. I don’t want to speak for Mark, but I have a feeling he wouldn’t mind seeing more retailers taking his lead. It seems to me that’s why he got in the business in the first place. I’m as guilty as anyone else for not shopping local nearly enough. Sometimes, I’m lazy. Sometimes, I just don’t know where to go. Mark Andol, his family, and his staff, make it a little easier for us. I love America too, Mark. I love it a little bit more every time I meet people like you.
Oh , editor’s correction: I hope the Made In America Store stays in business forever.