This blog is supposed to be about communications and marketing strategies for businesses, but I’m going off on a bit of a tangent this morning. However, read on to see how this could help local businesses reach an audience:

Has anyone else been watching ABC’s series Made In America?  It’s on World News Tonight this week, and it’s taking a close look at just how many products that fill our homes are not made in this country.  On Monday, the series visited the home of a typical American family and proceeded to conduct an in-home scavenger hunt for products made in the United States.  The family was sent away for a day, and the ABC crew removed all foreign products.  The family returned a day later to find a couple flower vases and a mirror or two in otherwise empty rooms.

Now ABC is on a mission to replace all those products with ones made in America.  I’m DVR’ing tonight’s WNT to see what the crew is able to find made in this country.  Last night, a map following the story marked places from where ABC ordered replacement products.  There were quite a few markers on North Carolina, and I’ll bet we’ll see some North Carolina furniture in the home.

For years, I’ve been looking for products made in America, and I must admit I’ve been largely unsuccessful.  Every time I have to get rid of a worn-out towel with a Made in the USA tag, I grimace a little, knowing that I’ll likely replace it with one from India or Pakistan.  I’d certainly be willing to spend an extra buck or two per towel if I could find them made domestically, but that’s difficult to do.

I do everything I can to support local businesses, often giving them free communications advice and frequenting local establishments whenever I can.  This series gave me an idea of another small way I can do that.  Are you a local (Charlotte-area) business which stocks Made in America products?  Whether it’s baby bibs or bicycles, dog toys or drills, let me know.  If I get enough responses, I’ll post them here so perhaps we can get an idea of where to look if we want to try to buy American.

(Two final notes: 1. There are people who argue that consumer goods production declining in America is not a bad thing, and that we’re trading manufacturing bathmats and children’s toys to focus on higher-ticket items like airplanes and pharmaceuticals.  However, I would argue that in an economy as large as the United States, there is room to do it all.  And, I would also say it’s little consolation to unemployed textile workers in North Carolina that a bunch of mechanics are working at Boeing in Seattle.  And 2. I understand that the only way Americans will buy American is if the products offered are of equal quality and comparable cost to those made overseas.  I don’t want to start a debate about healthcare costs and payroll taxes; I just want to know which manufacturers are overcoming those obstacles to keep production here at home.)

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