Sunday, June 6, 2010

Observations of Growth in U.S. Manufacturing & Consumer Power

Detailed multi colored reports with graphs are nice, but they don't compare to what my own eyes witness.

We've been conducting a full review of each department on our site. This presented the opportunity for me to visit some businesses I hadn't personally browsed in several months. I am the one who is most familiar with the inventory of all the companies we list. 

I'm very pleased to share my observations and conclusions.  Keep in mind this involves domestic consumer products and this is happening in a down economy at a time when banks aren't lending.

My observations:

We removed only one link to a site that appears to be offline. It's possible that one company ceased operations but we'll return in the future to see if a new site appears.

Many smaller companies have invested in their web sites and have redesigned them or added e-commerce. Some companies with attractive and well designed sites have further improved their web sites.

The updates of a number of web sites now permit them to search in our Marketplace search. Those sites have since been added and their products can now more easily be found via that feature on our site.

Many American manufacturers have expanded their lines. Some have even expanded their lines into other types of products suitable for listing in additional departments. My own company contributed a new product to the marketplace this year so we too are part of this trend.

There are several manufacturers who are having difficulty meeting demand. They are noting for their customers the expected future date when they can fill orders. (I'm wondering if those companies will soon hire.)

Many retail sites where a keyword such as "USA" was necessary is now unnecessary because those retailers have since added Made in USA departments to their sites.

We've recently added to our site two new online malls that are filled with U.S. made consumer goods.

We also came across several retailers suggesting to their visitors that purchases of Made in USA products be made early, prior to need because of increased demand for such goods. One retailer even described the increased demand as "extreme."

We check many things related to the sites we list, including their traffic. The trend is up for nearly all sites, including other directories, Blogs & resources. This indicates to us that there is definitely an increased interest & demand for U.S. made product.

There is willingness, even in a down economy, to manufacture in the U.S. and enter the marketplace. This is demonstrated to us by a growing number of new companies that we set aside for research & review prior to appearing on our site.

Overall I see progress, growth and expansion with the American manufacturers & selected retailers we list and I am heartened.  I'm looking forward to a full review of the remaining departments. 

My conclusions:

I conclude that when you, the consumer, take the time and make the effort to purchase an American made product, you do much more than just snag a great product and a good value for yourself. That reason alone is really all the motivation a consumer needs.

Given what I'm witnessing, the dollars that consumers traded for U.S. made goods supported American workers & American manufacturers and enabled them to prosper. When able to expand, such companies will expand and deliver additional U.S. made goods to the marketplace providing consumers with greater variety and selection of Made in USA products.

Those consumers who shop for U.S. made product have actually invested in U.S. manufacturing. It appears that prudent and motivated consumers are a fine substitute for a negligent Wall Street.

Now consider Mr. Griggs, a motivated consumer who invested differently in the marketplace. 

Mr. Griggs was a consumer with a need for a set of matching stainless flatware.  He searched numerous big box stores and of course noticed the lack of a Made in USA option for flatware. 

Mr. Griggs understands the same as I, that consumers can not be expected to find the value in the marketplace if a Made in USA option is not present. 

The choice of one shoddy product from Country A and some other shoddy product from Country B is not a real choice. Where was the option for the consumer who is looking for quality and a fair trade for their money?

Mr. Griggs faced a lack of choice.  He knew though what he wanted, what the marketplace needed and what consumers deserved.  He spent about a year working on a solution to his problem and he now has his set of matching flatware.  It is manufactured in Sherrill, New York.  He's now in business selling Made in USA 18/10 & 18/8 stainless steel flatware in 9 tasteful patterns.  I have no doubt this flatware will make it from one generation to the next. 

Well done Mr. Griggs.

While the review continues I will of course be shopping.  Epicurean is now manufacturing kitchen utensils & coasters, Okabashi is now manufacturing children's footwear and The Three Weavers are back in business.

American manufacturers seem intent on keeping me busy with updates to our site while tempting me with desirable product.

Good on 'em.

Mary - web person for  

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