Made in USA Articles February 2013

2/27/13

USA vs. China: You Get What You Pay For

When I worked in Asia for a USA Tech company, I oversaw the opening of offices in China in an effort to support exports to that nation. While touring brand new facilities in multiple cities, I was shocked by the poor quality of construction of buildings that were supposed to be gleaming examples of their progress. Even in the capital, buildings showed concrete with severe cracking and crumbling as many spots were literally disintegrating into sand. Scary!

I learned that “tofu concrete” as a cost saving measure is very common there. Per BusinessWeek, commercial buildings are meant to last just 25 years versus 70 years here. One can only imagine how they can even reach 25 years with collapses like the one in Shanghai shown at left.

This exemplifies most production there. Quantity over quality to the extreme, and buyer beware! Sadly, this plays into the hands of our major retail chains as they now sell folks junk at “low, low prices” and expect customers to replace items constantly.

I sometimes hear from readers expressing, “I cannot afford Made in USA.” Though I am very sympathetic to their financial situations, all too often (particularly among younger people) they are confusing initial price with overall value. Let’s say they buy an item that has to be replaced annually, whereas the USA-made one lasts five years (or more). They end up saving in just a year or two by buying the USA-Made product!

Therefore, not only is buying American-Made better in that it creates jobs, is safer and is better for our nation, but it is also typically a much better value for the money!

Featured Supplier This Week: Little Colorado

Speaking of quality, Little Colorado has been making solid wood children’s furniture for over 25 years. I have had several of their items around our very rambunctious kids for years and they show no signs of wear. The play table in particular is used and abused by the kids every day and is rock solid. I feel certain these can be passed down to the next generation of kids! Chairs, storage boxes, tables, toys--Little Colorado just has too much to mention, so you will have to look at the link below! Not the cheapest, just the best.

New Items:

Cool bean bag chairs for that special teen, made right here in the USA! Yes, and in a host of cool colors, too! Not only are they made from the finest materials, the beads are made from recycled material! Good, Made in USA fun!

The Super Wrench has been designed to replace plastic filter replacement wrenches. They have different sizes to fit your specific needs. It is made from 7 gauge steel in our nation and will last forever, unlike those plastic filter replacement wrenches that break easily. It also has a long, rubberized handle.

The Physician Scale, which is an eye level mechanical scale, is the one that used to be in every doctor’s office. It is made rock solid for a lifetime of use. Made in Webb City, MO by Detecto.

Detecto also makes a rugged waste receptacle step on can perfect for hospitals, doctors’ offices, labs, etc. The can has a heavy-duty foot pedal and self-closing lid, is flame retardant and includes free stickers for bio-hazard and other uses.

2/22/13

Dangerous Imported Dog Treats

The FDA has sent out warnings about chicken jerky strips dog treats using meat from China four times in the last few years. They have received more than 2,200 hundred complaints, including very severe gastric issues and even pet deaths.

This is not the first time pet food components from China have poisoned our nation’s pets. In 2007 and into 2008 many thousands of dogs and cats were sickened and many died due the inclusion of the plastics chemical melamine in raw materials from China. It was deliberately put in because somehow melamine made it test higher for protein.

We all love our pets and want to protect them. Sadly, our government has not banned these imports in spite of the overwhelming evidence.

That leaves us wondering whether pet treats not clearly labeled as made here from USA content include some level of potentially dangerous imports.

Considering the unsafe farming and food processing conditions in China, it is hard to understand why any of it is allowed to come into our nation.

On the jerky strip treats for dogs, I am happy to announce that we now have a 100% USA alternative – Kona’s Chips! (More information below under “New Items.”)

We also have Sam’s Yams dog treats as our Featured Supplier below.

It is time to completely and utterly boycott food items from China and other potentially unsafe nations, for both people and pets.

Featured Supplier: Sam’s Yams

Yam treats for dogs, Sam’s Yams are grown by farmers in the Carolinas and Georgia. They are then baked in Wisconsin. Textured like rawhide, they last a good long time even with a big dog’s full attention.

New Items:

Kona’s Chips – New jerky treats made 100% right here in the USA for dogs! They have beef and chicken choices. The beef and chicken is raised in the USA and the treats processed 100% here! These are safe! There is even a “Bits O’ Chips” chicken version for little dogs with big hearts! Your dogs are going to love them! A great gift for dog owners, too!

Shirts That Go has even more (in addition to last week’s) wonderful t-shirts for kids! Designs include a beautiful balloon print, kids’ jet, speed boat, 747, fire truck, etc. Kids love these artistic but fun shirts.

Clean Via spray cleaner and degreaser has received the Eco-Logo, our most respected environmental standards certification. It is very effective, yet a fully biodegradable plant-based compound. Worth considering compared to the chemical intensity of some cleaners!

EZ-Ties is a newly launched, innovative product that is designed to keep women’s straps in place. Can be used on swimsuits, halter tops, sundresses, scarves, etc. Made in USA and costs less than $7!

Thank you so much for your time and support! It means the world to me!

2/15/13

“Made in USA” Has a Real Impact

How is it that buying a product made here is so much more valuable to our economy than buying an import?

Of course, someone had to “make it”, which implies final assembly, the process of actually putting the items together. That is important, but there is so much good going on before that stage. Consider a pair of jeans, for example: an American farmer had to grow the cotton, and just think of all the folks that supply him! Someone had to process the cotton, another person weave the cloth, and yet another had to dye it! Again, there are also many support functions that help in small ways at every step along the way. Just moving the materials between them keeps true Americans working, and they too spend money getting their work done. So much goes on before final assembly, which why the entire process is so valuable to our economy!

That dollar you spend on a USA product is producing at least 1.7 times that amount of positive economic energy in our economy.

Somewhere in our nation, someone gets another shift, maybe even hired because you make a conscious choice to buy American-Made. When enough of us vote Made in USA with our purchases, it helps thousands of folks get off of welfare and back to making an honest living they can take pride in. Plus, they start paying taxes again!

This is not rocket science – buying more of what our people make means more jobs here.

That economic value either stays here and enriches our people, or leaves our shores and helps China with every purchase.

Every USA purchase feels great because of how much good it does for our nation! Not only are we getting something that is typically a very good product, but we keep our citizens working at every stage of the manufacturing process and at every support role! We help our nation turn the corner on this lethargic economy and keep it the greatest country the world has known. We help those get the millions that need it back into our workforce. We create opportunity for young people today and tomorrow.

This is our nation. It is our economy and our people. We decide.

Featured Supplier This Week:

Professional Life Support Products has been making amazing bags and cases for firefighters and other emergency workers here in the USA for many years. Not only are they tough enough to take all that abuse, they come with a lifetime warranty to prove it! These bags are not just for firefighters, they are cool for anybody who needs serious quality!

New Items:

Shirts That Go already has lots of super fun t-shirts for kids, but now we have eleven more! New selections include “Monster Truck”, “Air Show”, “Excavator”, “Tank”, “School Bus” and more. Every energetic youngster loves these fun shirts!

Kentucky Cutting Boards is one of our most tried and true suppliers. Their heirloom quality cutting boards are a versatile, useful work of art! Now they have added an amazing line of solid wood cheese boards with fun artistic inlays like “Sea Turtle”, “Ladybug”, “Horse Shoe” and more!

Schaefer Ranchwear makes impressive western style clothing at the absolute highest level of quality! They personify that classic American look. We have eight brand new jackets and two shirts from them. These are not cheap, but they are the best and will last in terms of decades.

The Door Angel is a unique, cost effective way to improve door security. Worried about who might have a key or is able to pick a lock? For under $10 this unique invention will stop them in their tracks.

Fling A Ring Classic is a fun outdoor backyard game! It’s perfect for family fun out in the fresh air away from the TV!

2/9/13

USA Real Economy vs. Façade Bubble Economy

The Federal Reserve Bank is creating money and has for the moment surpassed the Chinese as the top buyer of our government’s new federal debt. No need to even print money anymore, they just press the proper computer keys and our dollar is devalued in a flash! Ironically, I say “neat trick”, but we all know that is not sustainable for very long.

In the very short-term, inflating the money supply seems to be helping the real estate and stock markets. At what price? History will tell.

I realize there are some good people in government trying things hoping it might help, but printing money is like treating a cancer patient with cocaine. He might feel better for a few minutes, but that cancer is still there! It is the façade of economic health they are trying to create.

The cancer in our economy is that our manufacturing base, the envy of the world just a few short decades ago, is being outsourced! Thousands of our factories have moved to Asia. The Federal Reserve has the power to play shell games and jolt the money supply, but they cannot make factory jobs appear when that equipment has been moved overseas.

Manufacturing is the real economy. Manufacturing not only creates good paying jobs, but dozens (if not hundreds) of suppliers support each factory that does final assembly. That “real” economic multiplier effect is why manufacturing is so much more valuable to an economy than service jobs alone (yes, we need service jobs too). Beijing, Seoul, etc. know this too, which is why they have been so eager to absorb manufacturing. Our big businesses and lax government sold us out, but we need to stop going along with it.

After all, we have the power because we make the purchase! We can choose to buy what we make and feel good that we are not only getting a great product, but are helping many Americans support their families. The big companies want us to be drones, but who will they sell to when our middle class is gone?

The USA middle class, the one that pays nearly all the bills in the end, is under siege. We can do something about it with every purchase. Just buy American-Made! Thank you!

Featured Supplier This Week:

King Louie makes a number of sport and casual shirts and jackets for men and women. All are union-made, proving that such are not necessarily that expensive. They are come in a wide range of fun styles and colors. Please view them at the link below!

New Items:

The Gecko Grip has all sorts of uses around the kitchen – stops cutting board rock, grips jars, etc. when wet, serves as a trivet under hot pots, insulates and protects surfaces. It’s heat resistant to 500 degrees and dishwasher safe.

“I’m Not Outsourced” t-shirts and tank tops say it all! Make a real statement and look fashionable doing it! Completely made and printed in the USA.

The Coil Cable “Earbud” Organizer keeps headset wires out of the way and protects delicate speakers when it is stored in one’s bag or pocket. Great for mobile phone or mp3 player headsets.

Sailor and Soldier birthday cards use vintage patriotic artwork to make your veteran or active duty sailor’s or soldier’s birthday extra special. You won’t find these artistic cards at the greeting card shop! More types (i.e. Marines, Air Force, police, etc.) coming soon.

2/1/13

MadeinUSAForever.com Exciting Expansion News

A few weeks ago an ominous looking “thick” envelope arrived from our warehouse landlord. Though I am somewhat happy with the location of our existing facility, I have been troubled by the fact that we are already running out of space to store adequate quantities of all the cool “Made in USA” products that come from all over our great nation.

I let the envelope sit for a few moments, contemplating what trouble it might bring. At least I had arranged the last renewal to end the lease during our relatively restful early spring period. The previous lease ended during the holiday season when we were already working seven days a week, so the change gave me greater flexibility. Our landlord must have been observing our growth, because the letter said they wanted a 25% rent increase. Suddenly, renting was more risky than owning!

That set off a whirlwind search, but not to rent -- to own.

We have located and in fact already negotiated an awesome deal on a much nicer, bigger facility! More to come soon, but here is a picture at the top left!

This not only gives us a much better location to serve you from, but it’s more financially secure and will be the cornerstone of future growth. Yes, if this intense growth continues, I will fill this location before too many years, too--but let that problem come. This will be the flagship that our future growth pivots from as fast as it can hit us.

Thank you again for all your support! You make our Made in USA effort a success!

Featured Supplier: Maine Heritage Weavers

I love Maine Heritage Weavers! When Maine’s Bates Mill closed, instead of letting a tradition die, the employees bought it out of bankruptcy and Maine Heritage Weavers was born! These beautiful artisan level bedspreads are the kind of thing passed from generation to generation.

New Items:

We added grill mats, tire covers and grill covers made in Michigan by HBS. These use recycled materials and are very substantial. The tire and grill covers come with a wide assortment of available college, military and NHL logos. The grill mats come with the college logos.

We have a new Foot Cream Skin Repair lotion created by Dr. Rehm, the director of a Diabetic Foot & Wound Treatment center in San Diego. This product reduces inflammation, helps eliminate dryness and calluses, relieves pain and offers many other positive effects for happy feet!

Cartooning Basics is fun for kids and adults alike. Learn to draw all sorts of fun characters! Recommended by both Jim Garfield and Charles M. Schulz. My kids love this book and the hundreds of ideas it gave them!