I’d like to congratulate Floor Covering News for taking the lead on this topic (Made in USA special, April 30/May 7). It is, without a doubt, an important issue that impacts all of us. And the timeliness of this feature, especially when one considers the continuing economic uncertainties, unemployment numbers and election year politics, was also dead-on.
Allow me to add just a few thoughts about the carpet industry in light of your issue.
I believe that carpet is the last flooring segment that hasn’t been significantly impacted by foreign competition—at least not yet. Therefore, no other category has such a clear, unchallenged right to proclaim “American Made” as does carpet.
And, frankly, no other industry needs to proclaim it more. Due to a number of factors, the Dalton area has suffered higher-than-average unemployment over the last few years. Happily, some of those jobs are slowly coming back, along with the pride of making some of the world’s best carpet.
A while back, I began tinkering on a logo for the carpet industry that would proclaim to consumers that Dalton (and for that matter a big chunk of north Georgia) is the “Carpet Capital of the World.” As Matthew Spieler’s article, “Mills answer consumer calls to ‘Made in USA’ campaigns,” points out, Dalton still holds that distinction and occupies the epicenter of broadloom production that stretches up and down the I-75 corridor, between Chattanooga, Tenn. and Atlanta. Granted, there’s a lot of carpet produced elsewhere in the U.S., but nowhere is the production volume as great or as concentrated as it is in this region.
So, it’s no wonder that what Detroit’s reputation is to cars, Dalton’s is even more so to carpet—it’s that simple.
In fact, carpet production in Dalton has even served as a magnet for other flooring manufacturing and distribution, even from overseas. So in many respects, you could say what’s good for Dalton is good for the industry.
Consumers need to be reminded that carpet is American made and that we, as an industry, should not assume that carpet-shopping customers know that. And more specifically (where possible, of course) I believe consumers should also know that the carpet they’re considering for their home or place of business is from the “Carpet Capital of the World.”
That’s good for the country. That’s good for Dalton. And that’s good for the floor covering business.