Celebrating Made in America
- June 28, 2017 |
The rumor on the street is that nothing is made in the USA any longer. In actuality, there is still a lot of manufacturing happening within the states. It accounts for about 36% of the nation’s gross national product, according to an article in MarketWatch from 2016. Manufacturing in some quarters is on the upswing, particularly if the product is highly regulated or requires specialized training to produce.
At the Mast Store, quite a few of our products are Made in USA. Items in that classification include foods, socks, furniture, apothecary, and clothing.
Our department with the most USA-made items is Mercantile, with over 40% of the items made in the states, and candy is close to 100%. Mast Store’s branded food items, our jams, jellies, pickles, chocolates, snacks, etc. are all made here. Our buying team works closely with vendors to find just the right partnership based upon their capabilities and our target market.
Some of our vendors are bucking the trend! Textiles is where most of the manufacturing losses have occurred, but Mindful Supply, Meridian Line, and Home State Tees are, in some form or fashion, making t-shirts in local mills with some made from locally-sourced cotton that is combed, spun, knitted, dyed, and printed all within a 600-mile footprint.
For a great story about NC-made clothing – “from dirt to shirt” – click HERE.
Mast Store branded socks are made just a short ride up the road from our worldwide headquarters. Mount Airy is home to Nestor Hosiery, which makes both the Mast Store performance socks and the Farm To Feet line. After weathering the outsourcing wave and the Great Recession, their knitting machines are humming right along making socks for us and private labeling for other large accounts. Read on about this all-American partnership HERE.
One of our newer favorite Made in the USA brands shares the same hometown as one of our stores: In Blue Handmade in Asheville, NC. After relocating from bustling Chicago to a small farm in Southern Illinois in 2008, Mary Lynn (owner of In Blue) recounts that she purchased a sewing machine on the way to the farm, learned how to work it, and never looked back.
Going from one employee to a full team of “leather working magicians” and over 50,000 items in sales, In Blue has grown quickly from one brick and mortar shop to a converted warehouse studio space now located in West Asheville. Together, the In Blue team makes each piece by hand. Starting with top grain cowhides, the team traces and cuts pattern pieces, sews 'em up (as they say), stamps down the ink, and ships their handcrafted leather journals and other handmade goods all over the globe. As owner, Mary Lynn, says, “Most importantly, we love what we do, and it means the world to the In Blue team to be able to bring you a personalized craft and a unique way to express yourself.”
In total, Mast Store purchases items from over 500 companies producing Made in USA goods like P Graham Dunn, Cielo Blu, Lodge, Darn Tough, Salisbury Pewter, and A Little Bit Country. Our goal when sourcing new products is to look close to home first, then within the United States, then elsewhere to find a quality item that we can offer at a fair price to our customers. Our Made in USA collection is continuing to grow. Come on over for a visit this holiday weekend, take a look around, and visit with us. Happy 4th of July, friends!