by Mark Andol, founder & owner of Made in America Store

For decades, the United States has been racing toward globalization, integrating our economy with economies around the world. Outsourcing was presented as our ticket to a limitless supply of cheap, foreign goods, made by cheap, foreign labor to replace the tried and true American versions we grew up with that had served our families and communities well.

Making products here at home had a benefit that could not be measured with one transaction at a cash register. Making products here at home enabled our neighbors to provide for their families, and in turn, our communities. The tax dollars from Americans employed in manufacturing with good-paying jobs helped fund our schools and social security, our road repair and river clean-ups, our scientific discoveries and innovation.

The frenzied pace of business expansion and job creation in the years following World War II reached its apex in 1979, when the percentage of Americans employed in manufacturing reached its peak.

Not satisfied with this pace of growth, or rather pace of profit, American companies aggressively pursued new markets around the world, building factories in places where the cost of labor was a few cents to the American dollar. But the cost to our communities was high --shuttered factories, bankruptcies, foreclosures, urban blight and a generation of Americans born into a dismal jobs economy.

In 2010, when we opened the original Made in America Store in Elma, NY, we were a determined “David” facing a global “Goliath.” Many people said that we were crazy, that Americans would not give up their cheap products – most of which were made in China. The concept of economic patriotism was something we did to help the war effort during World War II. It was considered an idea whose time had come and gone.

Fast forward one decade later – 2020, which will long be remembered as the Year of Covid. During the greatest public health crisis ever faced by our nation, the greatest nation on earth could not keep itself supplied with urgently needed medical supplies and equipment or personal protective gear right down to N-95 masks. We had outsourced ourselves into dependence on products arriving on shipping containers an ocean away.

At Made in America Store, we don’t depend on shipping containers for our products. We depend on American-owned companies that employ American workers to assemble products from American components. These American-based companies and employees, through their taxes, support social security and Medicare; transportation; schools; medical and technological innovation and, most importantly, the defense of our nation. In other words, they support America’s future.

Our mission to save and create American jobs for our country, our soldiers, our workers and our children is just as relevant today as the day we opened in 2010. Are we really free if we are held hostage by a global goliath that, from time to time, crushes our domestic economy? Whether it’s computer chips or potato chips, is it really worth the cost in lost opportunity?

Think about it. Your freedom to choose is your power to change. Choose American-made and you’ll change our country, powering it for a better today and a brighter tomorrow.