News / USA

    US Tourists Shop for Their Country

    'Made in America' store stocks goods made exclusively in the USA

    The Made in America store tries to ensure every product is 100 percent American-made, right down to the glue in the packaging.
    The Made in America store tries to ensure every product is 100 percent American-made, right down to the glue in the packaging.

    Multimedia

    Audio

    Dozens of tour buses have added tiny Elma, New York, as a stop this year. Folks who are In the area to see sites like Niagara Falls and the Erie Canal, can also squeeze in a little shopping at the Made in America store.

    Owner Mark Andol climbs aboard a bus of retirees to tell them shopping here is a patriotic act.

    “When you walk through them doors, I guarantee, when you’re shopping the homework’s been done. It’s 100 percent made-in-America products. Made in this country by American workers and the money stays in our economy. So enjoy yourself. Thank you.”

    Customers pour into the spacious building, which used to house a car dealership. American flags and patriotic quotes adorn the walls. The store even has a theme song which includes the lyric; "Made in America, the red white and blue.”

    Tourists stop by the Made in America store in Elma, New York.
    Tourists stop by the Made in America store in Elma, New York.

    Gloria Giesa says she always looks for “Made in the USA” labels when shopping. But she doesn’t have to in this store. “Makes me think of when I was young and everything was American. And that’s the way it should be.”

    But the Vaselboro, Maine woman admits she doesn’t always buy American products. “You buy the best deal you can find. That’s what it’s all about. Some people, every penny counts. And if you can save 50 cents, that’s a lot.”

    Andol sees his store as a way for American vendors to gain traction in a retail environment where they’ve been priced out by overseas competition. This is personal for him. A few years ago, his welding company nearly went out of business after losing major contracts to foreign manufacturers. He laid off nearly half of his 70 workers.

    “These people want to work. You have no work for them," says Andol. "And it’s going overseas and you think, ‘Jeez, these people want to put food on their table. They’re willing to work.’ There just wasn’t enough work for me to keep them.”

    Made in America stocks 3,000 American-made products - and almost no electronics.
    Made in America stocks 3,000 American-made products - and almost no electronics.

    At first, Andol admits the store was more of an idea than a business plan. In fact, when it opened 14 months ago, he stocked just 50 items.

    Now, customers can browse through a variety of more than 3,000 products. There are some obvious absences. There are no can openers, coffee makers or just about anything electronic. But prices on what is on the shelves are competitive: jeans for $30 dollars; $14 will buy a t-shirt that says, “China is a long drive to work.”

    It is manager Rob Weylan’s job to make sure each product is 100 percent American-made, right down to the glue in the packaging. The store requires its vendors to say where every component of their product is made and sign letters of authenticity.

    It's necessary, Weylan says, because loopholes in federal rules allow many items to be labeled “Made the USA” even if they include some foreign-made elements. He spends hours verifying manufacturers’ claims.

    “If, for some reason, something were to slip through the cracks, we take the product out of the store, burn it or whatever we do with it because they lied to us.”

    So far, patriotic principle isn't turning a profit. Any money the store makes goes right back into acquiring new products. But sales have doubled from this time last year, thanks to word of mouth and visits by out-of-town tourists.

    As one group files back onto the bus, Andol hands out small flags and flyers advertising the store’s website.

    Franchisees are already planning to open more Made in America stores, envisioning it as possibly the next Wal-Mart - only without the foreign-made goods.  

    You May Like

    Native Americans Ask: What About Our Water Supply?

    They say they have been facing a dangerous water contaminant for decades - uranium – but the problem has received far less attention than water contamination by lead in Flint, Michigan

    Pakistan's President Urges Nation Not to Celebrate Valentine's Day

    Mamnoon Hussain criticizes Valentine's Day, which falls on Sunday this year, as a Western import that threatens to undermine the Islamic values of Pakistan

    Mother of IS Supporter: Son Was Peaceful, 'Role Model'

    Somali-American Abdirizak Mohamed Warsame pleaded guilty Thursday to charges of conspiring to provide material support to Islamic State militants

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Two-thirds of World Faces Water Shortagei
    X
    February 12, 2016 7:31 PM
    Four billion people — or two out of every three on the planet — do not have enough water to meet their basic needs. That is far greater than previously thought, according to a new study that presents a more accurate picture of the problem. As VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports, the findings will help policymakers and the public craft solutions to address the threat.
    Video

    Video Two-thirds of World Faces Water Shortage

    Four billion people — or two out of every three on the planet — do not have enough water to meet their basic needs. That is far greater than previously thought, according to a new study that presents a more accurate picture of the problem. As VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports, the findings will help policymakers and the public craft solutions to address the threat.
    Video

    Video Gateway to Mecca: Historical Old Jeddah

    Local leader Sami Nawar's family has been in the Old City of Jeddah for hundreds of years and takes us on a tour of this ancient route to Mecca, also believed to be the final resting place of Adam's wife, Eve.
    Video

    Video New Technology Aims to Bring Election Transparency to Uganda

    A team of recent graduates from Uganda’s Makerere University has created a mobile application designed to help monitor elections and expose possible rigging. The developers say the app, called E-Poll, will make Uganda's democratic process fairer. From Kampala, VOA's Serginho Roosblad reports.
    Video

    Video As Refugees Perish, Greek Graveyards Fill

    Aid workers on the Greek island of Lesbos say they are struggling to bury the increasing number of bodies of refugees that have been recovered or washed up ashore in recent months.  The graveyards are all full, they say, yet as tens of thousands of people clamor to get out of Syria, it is clear refugees will still be coming in record numbers. For VOA, Hamada Elrasam reports from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video Russia Bristles at NATO Expansion in E. Europe

    Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov is meeting Friday with the head of NATO after the Western military alliance and the United States announced plans for the biggest military build-up in Europe since the Cold War. Russia has called NATO's moves a threat to stability in Europe. But NATO says the troop rotations and equipment are aimed at reassuring allies concerned about Russia as VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video To Fight Zika, Scientists Target Mosquitoes

    Mosquitoes strike again. The Zika virus outbreak is just the latest headline-grabbing epidemic carried by these biting pests, but researchers are fighting back with new ways to control them. VOA's Steve Baragona takes a look.
    Video

    Video Mosul Refugees Talk About Life Under IS

    A top U.S. intelligence official told Congress this week that a planned Iraqi-led operation to re-take the city of Mosul from Islamic State militants is unlikely to take place this year. IS took over the city in June 2014, and for the past year and a half, Mosul residents have been held captive under its rule. VOA's Zana Omar talked to some families who managed to escape. Bronwyn Benito narrates his report.
    Video

    Video Scientists Make Progress Toward Better Diabetes Treatment, Cure

    Scientists at two of the top U.S. universities say they have made significant advances in their quest to find a more efficient treatment for diabetes and eventually a cure. According to the International Diabetes Federation, the disease affects more than 370 million people worldwide. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video NATO to Target Migrant Smugglers

    NATO has announced plans to send warships to the Aegean Sea to target migrant smugglers in the alliance's most direct intervention so far since a wave of people began trying to reach European shores.
    Video

    Video Russia's Catholics, Orthodox Hopeful on Historic Pope-Patriarch Meeting

    Russia's Catholic minority has welcomed an historic first meeting Friday in Cuba between the Pope and the Patriarch of Russia's dominant Orthodox Church. The Orthodox Church split with Rome in 1054 and analysts say politics, both church and state, have been driving the relationship in the centuries since. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video Used Books Get a New Life on the Streets of Lagos

    Used booksellers are importing books from abroad and selling them on the streets of Africa's largest city. What‘s popular with readers may surprise you. Chris Stein reports from Lagos.
    Video

    Video After NH Primaries All Eyes on South Carolina

    After Tuesday's primary in New Hampshire, US presidential candidates swiftly turned to the next election coming up in South Carolina. The so-called “first-in-the-South” poll may help further narrow down the field of candidates. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video Smartphone Helps Grow Vegetables

    One day, you may be using your smartphone to grow your vegetables. A Taipei-based company has developed a farm cube — a small, enclosed ecosystem designed to grow plants indoors. The environment inside is automatically adjusted by the cube, but it can also be controlled through an app. VOA's Deborah Block has more on the gardening system.
    Video

    Video Exhibit Turns da Vinci’s Drawings Into Real Objects

    In addition to being a successful artist, Renaissance genius Leonardo da Vinci designed many practical machines, some of which are still in use today, although in different forms. But a number of his projects were never realized — until today. VOA’s George Putic reports.