There is a big sign in the entrance of our Kidron store with a picture of my dad. It says, in part, â€œWe believe in offering products made in the United States wherever possible. When we offer imported items, we choose the best quality we can find.â€
This is not just something we say to sound good. We spend time every day, sometimes hours every day, hunting down USA-made products.
I will make this claim and stand by it with confidence: We have more USA product in our store by any measure (percentage of units, percentage of dollars sold, percentage of inventory value) than any other hardware store you will visit. Click here to see the proof!
But, now I’m worried that the words “USA-MADE” might be disappearing! Here’s the problem: Whole segments of American industry have been decimated by Chinese competition.
If we decided to sell only American made products and dropped the imported stuff, it would mean dropping most of our shovels, all of our sledge hammers (but click here for a USA made splitting maul), all of our teakettles, nearly all of our pots and pans, every wood-fired cookstove (but one), all but three of our oil lamps and many, many other items that people expect us to carry. In fact, they rely on us because they can’t find them or a reasonable substitute at any other store.
Another problem is the price. Let’s face it, if it’s made in America, it probably costs more. For example, compare our Chinese-made skillets (three for $22.95) to our USA-made skillets (the popular 10″ skillet is $15.95 for one). Do you care if it’s USA made? The USA skillet is higher quality. Would you still choose USA made if you thought the imported one was better quality? Would you pay more to get something that is USA made?
We care what you think, because we have a simple goal: If we know of an American-made option for any product we carry, we will get it in stock. But, we’re only going pursue that goal if our customers care about USA products.
And, for us to pursue it successfully, I not only need you to care about it. I need your help!
First, please let me know if you care about USA made items by commenting here or on my Facebook page (http://www.facebook.com/galen.lehman).
Second, let us know about any quality USA-made products you find that you think we should carry. If we choose your product to feature in our catalog, website or store, we’ll even pay for your work! (Click here to learn more about how that works.)
Note: This blog posting was in response to an email I got from a Cleveland-area customer named Timothy and a letter I got last month from Kay of New Portland, ME. I’d love to hear from you, too!