You don’t need me to tell you the benefits of buying local and American-made products.
You already know that when you buy local, you support small-business owners, keep more money in your community and keep your neighborhood strong and vibrant. When you buy American, you keep jobs from disappearing overseas, go easier on the planet and assure that human rights, safety and environmental standards are being met.
But did you know that if everyone diverted just $5 of their budget every day toward American-made goods, we could bring unemployment down to almost nothing, says Alan Uke, the author of “Buying America Back”?
Buying something American-made from an independent retailer would be ideal. But sometimes just doing one or the other – buying American or buying local – is a feat in itself. Still, if you make the effort, you’ll find you can pull it off more often than you might have thought.
Here are a few ways to try:
• The Made in America store, 900 Maple Road in Elma. Local manufacturer Mark Andol started this store after losing contracts to overseas competitors and having to lay off half his workforce. It can be hard to find products that are truly 100 percent made in the U.S.A., from the labor to the packaging. Since Andol has done the work of vetting products for you, all you have to do is take a trip to the store (or its website, MadeInAmericaStore.com).
There, you’ll find just about everything you could ever want – clothing, groceries, toys, pet products, tools – all of it made in the U.S.A.
• Etsy.com. Individual craftsmen use this online marketplace to sell their handmade and vintage goods.
You can further zero in on sellers in your neighborhood by visiting Etsy.com/local, and narrowing your search to sellers in whatever city, state or region you specify.
A reader named Ruth called me recently asking for help finding a telephone that wasn’t made overseas. All I could find were cordless AirWay brand phones made here by an Ontario-based company (888) 949-9473.
Another option is to find used corded Western Electric phones, which were made in the U.S.A. until the company was bought by AT&T (which now manufactures its phones in Asia).
• It’s KanJam season! The modified flying disc game was invented by two North Tonawanda teachers but is now played around the world. The game is manufactured on Walden Avenue using American materials, and the company is headquartered in Getzville.
You can pick up KanJam for $39.99 at Laux Sporting Goods, a six-store, family-owned retailer based in Amherst.