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"Buy American" helping some stores thrive in WNY

Posted at 7:11 PM, Feb 24, 2017
and last updated 2017-02-24 19:11:46-05

Macy's, Sears, and J.C.Penney are all going through tough times.  However, some stores in Western New York are seeing increasing business thanks to a demand for American and locally made products.

Seven years ago, Mark Andol opened his "Made in America Store" in Elma.

"People thought I was crazy.  You'll never make it.  Nobody cares anymore," said Andol who now operates seven brick and mortar locations that offer over 7,000 products.  The store has an online marketplace as well.

Andol said he is expecting to see even more customers this weekend as part of Elma Winter Fest taking place on February 25th.

The Bon-Ton is also seeing an increase in business thanks to sales of locally-made items in its "Close to Home" in-store shop.

"We can't keep the items on the shelves," said Holly Donohue, store manager for The Bon-Ton store at the McKinley Mall.

Buffalo stores were a test market for the initiative that has become so successful that it is being expanded to over 100 other Bon-Ton stores nationwide.

Plans are currently underway to expand the size of the current "Close to Home" shops in the Buffalo area stores.

The Bon-Ton wants to sell an even greater variety of locally-made items, and the store is reaching out to local artisans, designers and entrepreneurs for ideas.

Those interested can submit an applications for the online sourcing fair at:http://closetohome.bonton.com/?btn_source=ANCL&btn_medium=ANCL&btn_term=170208&btn_content=MULT-CLOSETOHOMERELAUNCH&btn_campaign=CLOSETOHOME&ICID=17-02-08-MULT-ANCL-CLOSETOHOME-ANCL-CLOSETOHOMERELAUNCH-NON-NON

7 Eyewitness News Reporter Ed Reilly visited both stores today to learn more.