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Poll: Shoppers Want ‘Made in America’ Gifts

By Danielle M. Smith - Public News Service
The Tube City Almanac
November 28, 2023
Posted in: State & Region

Workers at Azzy’s Design Works in Finleyville sort linkage parts for shipping. The company, which tries to source its materials from other American businesses, makes gauges, parts and accessories for off-road vehicles. (Photo courtesy Azzy’s Design Works, via Facebook)

What’s on your holiday shopping list? This year, people may also be asking, “And where was it made?”

In a new poll from the Alliance for American Manufacturing, 81 percent of Americans surveyed said they would prefer to buy American-made gifts if given the option. The preference is driven by the belief buying products “Made in America” will help the economy, create jobs and support small businesses.

Bryan Spiegel, owner of Azzy’s Design Works in Finleyville, said it is important to support local businesses before looking elsewhere. His company recently designed a badge of honor for a local Girl Scout troop, which helped to market the business.

“Being active in your community, active in offering groups that kind of stuff, gets the word out best,” Spiegel said. “Because word-of-mouth has been the greatest tool I’ve had in marketing these past 10 years.”

Spiegel offers customized Jeep accessories, from gauge-face replacements and spare parts, to keychains and T-shirts. Azzy’s Design is one of the businesses in a new “Made in America Holiday Gift Guide,” compiled by the Alliance for American Manufacturing and featuring products from every state.

Scott Paul, president of the AAM, said 75 percent of poll respondents want companies penalized for falsely marketing their goods as “Made in the USA” when they are not, and 83 percent believe online retailers should have to label their products’ country of origin.

“There’s no requirement that they post where that product is made, despite offering thousands of other details, in some cases, about that product,” Paul said. “There is a bipartisan support for a change that would require that country-of-origin labeling for online shoppers.”

A Country of Origin Online Labeling Act has been introduced, but has not seen much progress given all the competing priorities in Congress at the moment.

Despite Spiegel’s commitment to source tools, supplies and materials from other U.S. producers, he said the business faced significant obstacles during the pandemic. And today, inflation continues to pose challenges.

“Everyone knows how the economy in general is going,” Spiegel said. “Our business, like a lot of other businesses, faced mandatory shutdowns for two years, and all kinds of other problems. And there are so few places left to get things made here anymore. We need to support that.”

Danielle M. Smith is a producer for Public News Service, where this story first appeared. An award-winning radio journalist/personality with more than a decade of experience in broadcast media, she is a former audio journalist with American Urban Radio Networks and Sheridan Broadcasting Networks who also hosts a weekly community affairs show “Good News” on WGBN (1360 AM/98.9 FM).

Originally published November 28, 2023.

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