Retailers weigh merits of Made in USA

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By Ken Ryan The Made in USA movement appears to have gained momentum in the past year as businesses reassessed their overseas supply lines in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Among other challenges, the pandemic has caused an ongoing—and costly—ocean freight slowdown. As such, the COVID-19 pandemic seems to have bolstered the case for domestic manufacturing.

FCNews asked flooring retailers to weigh in on the merits of the Made in USA label and whether it really influences consumer purchasing decisions.

“Made in USA is very close to my heart. I believe in keeping jobs in America, growing our economy and employing our citizens for a multitude of economic factors. Import issues are going to continue to haunt our industry if we don’t produce more product in the USA. The manufacturers that are building plants to produce product in the USA will be the leaders and have stock when others do not. We need the politicians to now support the companies who employ our citizens and get everyone back to work.”
—Kevin Rose, president/owner,
Carpetland USA and America’s Flooring Store, Dixon, Ill.
“Customers and retailers are going to migrate to the path of least resistance. So, whether the product is made in the USA or not makes little difference. Both customers and retailers would like the product delivered when promised; where it is sourced from is secondary. In my experience, customers want to purchase Made in the USA until they have to pay more for it. As a business owner, I’d prefer to purchase domestically made products, and a lot of times I do. Unfortunately, the domestically made products have had just as many supply and logistical issues as imported goods. Therefore, we’re left searching for the best viable options at the time—either domestic or imported.”
—Eric Langan, president and owner,
Carpetland USA (The Langan Group), Davenport, Iowa
“As a retailer I like the idea of Made in USA. I believe it creates more jobs, which continually helps our economy. But locally, it is not really an issue. At least not an issue that people talk about.”
—Eric Buehler, president/owner, CarpetsPlus Wyoming, Thayne, Wyo.
“Increased domestic production continues to be high on our wish list. The lead times on imports is obviously frustrating to all. Consumers love the message of Made in USA, and it’s simply better for so many reasons. We’re ready for it. Made in USA, in retail, also helps tell a great story about a particular product. It’s essentially a shop local message, which everyone appreciates.”
—Adam Joss, co-owner,
The Vertical Connection Carpet One Floor & Home, Columbia, Md.
“I have found that more customers are looking for USA-made products. They are surprised when they find out the products are less expensive than the overseas products. The U.S.-made ones do not have the Chinese tariffs on them. They find more value in them because of the pricing and the fact that they are made here. We are finding that regardless of where they are made there are back-orders. This past year has been a roller coaster ride for the retailers and manufacturers. The manufacturers want to make the product as fast as they can with the same quality standards, and we want to install it. They are doing the best they can with the challenges they face. I do believe it makes more sense to purchase American made—more jobs here, better controls over quality and quicker turnaround times.”
—Typhannie Watson, owner, Carpeting by Mike, Somerset, Wis.

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