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

Ebola Death Toll Nears 5,000 as Virus Advances

West Africa bears heaviest burden; Mali toddler’s death raises new fears More

Jordan’s Battle With Islamic State Militants Carries Domestic Risks

Despite Western concerns that IS militants are preparing a Jordanian offensive, analysts call the kingdom's solid intel a strong deterrent More

Asian-Americans Assume Office in Record Numbers

Steadily deepening engagement in local politics pays off for politicians like Chinese-American Judy Chu More

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.
Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
October 25, 2014 4:21 PM
Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukraine

Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Comanche Chief Quanah Parker’s Century-Old House Falling Apart

One of the most fascinating people in U.S. history was Quanah Parker, the last chief of the American Indian tribe, the Comanche. He was the son of a Comanche warrior and a white woman who had been captured by the Indians. Parker was a fierce warrior until 1875 when he led his people to Fort Sill, Oklahoma, and took on a new, peaceful life. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Cache, Oklahoma, Quanah’s image remains strong among his people, but part of his heritage is in danger of disappearing.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.

All About America

AppleAndroid