Are Your Retail Products Made in America?
Is it just me or is there anything made in America anymore? From the pencil sharpener and the iPod docking station in my office down to the multi-socket power strip on my office floor, it’s all made in China. Whatever happened to American-made products?
This frustration was amplified a month or so ago when I saw a segment on the nightly national news. To paraphrase the segment, a young college girl was moving into her dorm room and wanted to furnish her room with American-made products. She quickly discovered the difficulty in that. Turns out the university only offered products made outside the U.S. Long story short, her quest to find American-made products launched an investigation by CBS to uncover how many universities and colleges across the nation only offered products made outside the U.S. The number of schools was significant. More shocking was the billions of dollars spent in producing products overseas.
Another interesting story I recently heard was about a man building a new home and demanded every product involved in the construction of his home—wood, sheetrock, brick, even the nails—be made in the U.S. Extreme, but you get the point.
So when my wife asked me if the products sold at our self-storage facilities were made in the USA, I of course said yes. Then I thought about it and I wasn’t 100 percent sure. The next morning I was on the phone asking each and every store manager to check each product and report back to me. As it turns out, not all our products are made in the U.S. All of our boxes are because of the lost cost involved. Almost all of our other point-of-sale products are made in China. To be fair, we do have some vendors that supply some of our stores with 100-percent-made in USA products.
As of right now, we’re searching for alternative vendors and conducting a price comparison. While we want to support products made here at home, we also have to consider the inflated cost to do so, which may or may not work with our current budgets.
Does your facility carry products made outside the U.S.? Has a tenant ever asked? Post a comment below to share your comments. I look forward to reading some responses. Hopefully, this will encourage us all to make an effort to outfit our stores with American-made products.
March Chase is vice president of Southeast Management Co. and the director of operations for Plantation Storage in South Carolina. His background includes experience as a self-storage manager and district manager for a large management company.