Friday, September 3, 2010

Made in the USA

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In Oklahoma City,

On a recent shopping trip to a well-known home store, I was hard-pressed to find anything not made in China for my kitchen.  Maybe that's not necessarily a bad thing, but......we have a small business that is run by my husband, my nephew and me with occasional help from other friends and contractors.  We have recently become a member of KeepitLocalOK, a group of locally-owned businesses that encourage and support the idea of shopping locally, whenever possible, to support your own local economy.  I know this is not always possible, but I have begun to embrace the idea when I can.  I buy my groceries at BuyforLess, an Oklahoma-owned grocery store, I shop the local farmer's market.  On a recent trip to Minnesota to see my husband's family, we ate and shopped locally whenever we could.  Even when I shop online for time, convenience and availability, I shop other small businesses when I can.

All that is to say, I decided to take this tactic a step further and try to buy local, regional, or made in USA products whenever possible.  WOW!  Not always so easy.

We recently began carrying Epicurean Kitchen Products because finding made in USA products for my kitchen was proving to be challenging.  We are adding RADA products to our lineup soon.  We have added Twist, made in Mexico and offered by a company in Colorado, Simply Neutral, The Soap Bar, Keep Buzzin Body Products, all made in Minnesota to our product offering.

Vacuum Cleaners made in the USA are scarce, but we do have Riccar, made in Missouri, and we are trying to widen our offerings of vacuums made in North America and Europe.  Sanitaire, made in Mexico, Electrolux made in Hungary, Miele, made in Germany.  Hoover, now owned by TTI, make their vacuum cleaners in China.  We still carry that brand because there is still a customer base that are loyal to Hoover.  We are trying to continue to up-grade our quality and support companies that are made in countries that I feel we should support.

In my personal shopping, I have learned to boldly ask the question, "Where are your products made?"  I am shocked an amazed at the answers.  When I asked a textile vendor where her products were made she went into a defensive spiel that no textiles were made in the USA, (ok, not what I asked) and continued with vague, they are custom-made, etc.  When I persisted, the best she could do is say they are made in various places.  Is it just me?  Do people NOT want to know where their products are made or are retailers ashamed of where they are made so they dodge the question?

I care! Our company cares!  I will continue to shop locally, purchase products that are made locally, regionally, in the United States and when none of those are an option, I will seek out products that are made in countries I want to support.  And, I will feel good about doing it.  After all, according to President John F. Kennedy,

"One person can make a difference and every person should try."

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In the Oklahoma City area shop

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