With the global supply chain continuing to experience disruptions as a result of the lingering impact of the COVID-19 pandemic—further exacerbated by the war in Ukraine—the spotlight is shining once again on the benefits of U.S. manufacturing. Domestic suppliers are seizing the opportunity to tout their local production capabilities in the face of rapidly rising freight charges amid longer shipping times.
But is all this flag-waving really resonating with floor covering retailers? FCNews asked flooring retailers around the country to weigh in on the merits of the Made in the USA label.
We proudly showcase the vendors that provide materials that are made here in the USA. We also have more confidence that these products will meet back-order dates—unlike the imported materials that are sitting at port with no accurate timetable for arrival. For us, the main advantages of domestic production are accurate ETA’s, confidence in communicating with customers about delivery, installation expectations and feeling good about supporting domestic jobs.
—Matt Wien, Marshall Carpet One Floor & Home, Mansfield, Ohio
I support Made in USA and believe that good manufacturing jobs are an important piece of the U.S. economy. However, this doesn’t appear to be a factor that is driving customers to buy flooring. Customers certainly don’t object to [made in USA] and I believe they are happy to discover the product they selected for other reasons (i.e., price, look, warranty, etc.) also happens to be made in America. The increase in domestic production capacity should theoretically allow manufacturers to have more control over variable costs such as freight, yet retailers continue to be hit with freight and fuel surcharges at dizzying rates that appear to be little more than disguised price increases.
—Palmer Johnson, Johnson Floor & Home, Tulsa, Okla.
About 40% of our customers are paying attention to where materials are made and pushing for U.S. goods. The big advantage is availability. People think if they throw money at it they can get it quicker. That only works if you can control it. We have no control over the shipping ports or container ships.
—Mike Foulk, Foulk’s Flooring America, Meadville, Pa.
The freight and global supply chain issues are an ongoing issue with us. The increases in freight costs as well as the material price increases are a real pain. We give every advantage possible to suppliers who can provide us with USA-made products. The advantage of USA made products is they are more readily available and our customer base prefers these products. They are willing to pay more for domestic products, and as the imported floors increase in price the selling process is becoming much easier.
—Bill Zeigler, Charles F. Zeigler & Sons, Hanover, Pa.
The increasing freight costs have finally made U.S. products more cost effective. In the past, customers often asked for U.S.-made products but weren’t always willing to pay the difference.
—Sam Locher, A.J. Rose Carpets & Flooring, Burlington, Mass.
Our client base is skewed to baby boomers and gen-x. Made in the USA resonates with them, so we put American flag stickers on samples and collections. We use these photos for social media and also include it in emails. I’m considering a Made in the USA landing page for American made collections.
—Randy Downs,Quantum Floors, Boynton Beach, Fla.