It has only been open one month, but the new Made in America store is already making progress. The store, at 900 Maple Road in Elma, features 100% made in the USA products. Founder Mark Andol also owns General Welding & Fabricating in Elma. When he lost some business to China and was forced to cut some jobs, he was so fed up, he decided to open the store.
The idea attracted national media attention and Andol says he has gotten a huge response from people across the country, especially veterans who have called or emailed to thank him. "We've seen a movement started," Andol said. "So if everyone starts buying, maybe we can change the country through the store."
The idea is also catching on with businesses across the U.S. Many have contacted Andol about selling their products at his store and some are interested in store franchises. Andol says he plans to franchise and is targeting states like Florida and Washington.
What makes his store stand out from other Made in the USA efforts is that every item must be 100% U.S. made. Companies must verify their production, including all materials and labor and prove that profits remain in the U.S. as well.
Andol's company, General Welding & Fabricating, makes about half the products sold at Made in America like grills, fire rings and picnic tables. The store also carries artwork, toys, socks, food and beverages, soap, decorations and more.
Made in America is is open from 8am to 8pm, Monday through Saturday. Andol covers the sales tax and offers a military discount.