Visitors to the Made in America Store in Elma, New York, undergo a memorable experience they won’t get anywhere else in the country.
“We’re the only department store in the United States that only carries 100 percent American-made products,” said Dorothy Furtney, development director.
Components must be U.S. sourced, made in the U.S. and have ownership by a U.S. company. People often think prices for American-made products are higher because workers earn a living wage, but that’s not necessarily true, Furtney said.
“We make it our mission to keep our prices affordable even compared to other stores selling American products,” she added. “We tell a story about American manufacturing and how every consumer has it in their power to make a difference through their purchasing decisions.”
The store opened in 2010 with 50 products, some manufactured by parent-company General Welding and Fabricating. Now, the store helps support 500 manufacturers and artisans across the U.S.
Owner Mark Andol opened the store after losing a major contract to a Chinese company causing two of his four manufacturing facilities to close. Andol also had to lay off half of his employees.
“It really took a lot out of him,” Furtney said. “He said, ‘I’m going to make a statement for country, for soldiers, for American workers. I’m going to create a retail establishment that will only sell 100% American-made products.’”
After national media exposure, business exploded. When the shop’s lease expired in 2016, Andol opened a new store tripling its size.
The flagship store, catering to motorcoach tours, is 20 minutes southeast of Buffalo and 10 minutes off I-90.
The store carries 9,000 products — everything from tools and toys to soaps and shampoo, and items for “every part of the home.”
Free motorcoach parking can accommodate up to 12 motorcoaches. Furtney can arrange for a farm-to-table food truck serving food “sourced within 20 miles and freshly made” for a modest price, she said.
Contact the Made in America Store at 716-652-0024 or go to madeinamericastore.com.
Article by Kathie Sutin