Live American Made

For 100 years, we’ve proudly supported American businesses and communities. The Born Made Stayed blog is our effort to shed light on other remarkable companies that make products right here in the USA.


April 8, 2015

One Town’s Trash Is This Woman’s Treasure

Pashon Murray could have had almost any cushy corporate job she wanted. As a highly recruited athlete, Murray attended the Jesse H. Jones School of Business at Texas Southern University, where she began preparing herself for a corporate job. But she made an impression on her teachers, who realized her entrepreneurial potential and encouraged Murray to start her own business.

The Michigan native grew up with an interest in the environment and sustainability – most likely generated from her father’s waste removal company and their frequent visits to area landfills. Murray knew whatever endeavor she undertook would have to help improve her home state’s environment. With her diploma in hand, she returned to Detroit, and after exchanging ideas with a local urban farmer, she conceived the idea for her company, Detroit Dirt.

Photo credit: detroitdirt.org

Photo credit: detroitdirt.org

Detroit Dirt collects food scraps from corporations and local businesses, as well as manure from the Detroit Zoo, and converts these materials into valuable soil on its 2.5-acre composting facility. Then, they sell the product to farmers and home gardeners.

Diverting waste from landfills and creating a useful product. Sounds like a very sustainable and environmentally responsible business model, right? Only it doesn’t stop there.

Detroit Dirt partners with corporations to establish urban farms in inner-city communities, allowing residents to grow their own fresh produce. This helps to alleviate the food desert effect many disadvantaged neighborhoods experience. Murray also uses the company to demonstrate to corporations the social, economic and environmental benefits of sustainable business practices.

Murray has big plans for Detroit Dirt, including investing in additional equipment that would allow them to accept more raw materials and offer more jobs to the community.

We thank Pashon Murray for all that she and Detroit Dirt are doing to improve the quality of their city.

April 1, 2015

Jacob Bromwell: An American-made Pioneer

As the pioneers rolled their horse-drawn wagons westward across the Great Plains in the mid-1800s, they carried with them frying pans, popcorn poppers and tin cups stamped with a brand that was already well established, with a reputation for dependable quality: Jacob Bromwell®.

Photo credit: jacobbromwell.com

Photo credit: jacobbromwell.com

Jacob Bromwell moved from Baltimore, Maryland, to the frontier town of Cincinnati, Ohio, in 1819 to start The Bromwell Brush & Wire Company, making wire goods and housewares for his fellow pioneers. His first products were similar to what other stores offered – scrub brushes, rattraps and flour sifters – only Jacob’s products were meticulously crafted by hand with portions constructed on innovative machinery, which quickened his production. This brought him success – and by 1910, his company consisted of seven factories, boasting the largest capacity in the country.

While the company has changed locations over the years, it has always remained in the United States. In fact, there are few companies today that have employed only Americans for longer than Jacob Bromwell. All Bromwell products continue to be made with domestically sourced steel, tin, aluminum, copper, wood, iron and leather, contributing to their authenticity of being 100 percent American-made.

Jacob Bromwell is America’s oldest manufacturer of kitchenware, housewares and tin and stainless steel products. The company continues to credit its success to loyally following its original mission statement of producing “the highest quality cooking, baking and campfire products for American families.”

Learn more at jacobbromwell.com.

March 25, 2015

Despite Foreign Competition, MAK Grills Keeps the Fire Burning

Bob and Kerrie Tucker make it no secret that their company, MAK Grills, doesn’t sell the cheapest grill on the market. But even with so many lower-cost options available to consumers, MAK Grills continues to thrive, selling products as fast as they can make them. If you asked them how this is possible, they might reply, “You get what you pay for.”

Photo credit: makgrills.com

Photo credit: makgrills.com

The husband and wife team is proud of why their grills cost more. The majority of each grill’s 158 separate parts is made in their precision metal shop. They have chosen not to cut costs by outsourcing their manufacturing overseas, and in turn are able to preserve their 35 employees’ jobs while offering them a fair wage.

MAK manufactures high-quality wood-pellet grills, which offer the authentic barbecue flavor of real wood with the convenience of automatic lighting and fuel feed. Grills are available with high-tech features, even enabling users to program a cooking strategy, using temperature sensors inserted into the meat to relay information.

Many MAK components are made in the U.S. from quality materials like stainless steel, so they’ll last without rusting out after a few years outside. In fact, the only parts that aren’t domestically sourced are a few components for the circuit board, because any American companies that might have manufactured those parts have become victims of overseas competitors.

Thanks for what you do, Bob and Kerrie. You can come over for dinner any time.

March 18, 2015

Hardwick Clothes: Proudly American Made Since 1880

Providing customers with high-quality American-made products they can wear with pride. That’s the mission statement of Hardwick Clothes Inc., America’s oldest maker of tailored clothing. Now in its 135th year, the company has weathered “factory fires, economic recessions, two world wars, inflation and leisure suits,” – all by dedication to producing the highest-quality product.

Photo credit: hardwick.com

Photo credit: hardwick.com

C.L. Hardwick founded Hardwick Clothes in Cleveland, Tennessee, in 1880, where it remains today. Innovation brought Hardwick quick success, found by developing a fabric woven from wool and cotton called “jean cloth,” used to produce Hardwick’s vastly popular Dollar Pants.

The company bounced back from multiple factory fires with new machinery and expanded operations. During the Great Depression, Hardwick survived by reducing its costs, moving sewing operations into workers’ homes. During the 1940s, the company contributed to America’s war effort by producing the uniforms worn by the military. Upgrading to a nearby expanded facility with modernized manufacturing equipment in the 1970s helped Hardwick compete with the increasing supply of cheap, offshore clothing.

Hardwick continues to thrive today, expanding its base of department stores and specialty retailers. Its reputation for quality has landed Hardwick Clothes contracts with the U.S. military, as well as Major League Baseball umpires.

We are proud to recognize Hardwick Clothes for exemplifying our values of Born, Made and Stayed in America.

March 10, 2015

Re Made Claims the Throne of American Master Plunger

When Peter Smith-Buchanan left his rural home more than 15 years ago to work as a designer in New York City, he began to feel disconnected from his roots. The third-generation farmer who grew up working with his hands suddenly found himself spending most of his days in front of a computer.

Getting back to basics meant finding a common thing to do uncommonly well. It meant finding something to design and build with his own two hands. And what better symbol of functionality, simplicity, rugged design and the American tradition of hard work than the toilet plunger?

Photo credit remadeco.org.

Photo credit remadeco.org.

Smith-Buchanan’s business, the Re Made Company, has elevated the toilet plunger to an art form. His white pine-handled plungers could almost be displayed on the living room mantle instead of next to the toilet. Each plunger is handmade in the United States, using only the highest-quality domestic materials, and promises a lifetime of dependable operation.

Smith-Buchanan hopes his products empower people to reconnect with their roots, work with their hands and embark on a lifetime of fulfilling projects and lasting experiences.

Here’s to taking that plunge. Learn more at remadeco.org.

February 27, 2015

Satya Twena Saves Scalp of One of Manhattan’s Last Hat Factories

After making her first hat to help her mother cover her bare head during cancer treatment, Satya Twena realized she had a knack for millinery – the craft of designing and making hats. She honed her skill making hats for herself, her mother and their friends out of her apartment. Her first tools? A Jiffy Steamer and her oven.

As her craft blossomed and interest for her products grew, she eventually began working with the Makins Hat Factory in New York City’s historic Garment District – one of Manhattan’s last hat factories. That’s why, when Makins abruptly closed in 2013 after almost 40 years, Satya knew she couldn’t let the factory be sold off in pieces.

With some hard work and a well-promoted Kickstarter campaign, Satya was able to purchase the factory and hire back all the employees. Now operating under her name, Satya Twena’s Fine Millinery continues to thrive – preserving the legacy of the Makins Hat Factory and the craft of handmade headwear in America.

Satya, we tip our hat to you.

Photo credit satyatwena.com

 

February 10, 2015

A Picture’s Worth $14 Million

For some, a picture is worth a thousand words. But for Brian and Julie Whiteman from California, a simple idea is worth more than $14 million.

Brian and Julie created GrooveBook, a service that compiles users’ cell phone images into books for just $2.99/month. The couple pitched their idea to the popular TV show Shark Tank, and it was a hit. Shutterfly – the online company that creates photobooks, personalized photo cards and stationery – offered to buy Julie and Brian’s idea for $14.5 million.

Kevin O’Leary, a Canadian entrepreneur and investor on Shark Tank, said what set GrooveBook apart from everyone else’s ideas was a groove in the book’s design – giving it the ability to bend. This unique feature allows the company to ship the books for just $0.80, compared to $2.99 without the groove.

To read more about the couple’s idea, view the feature on ABC News.

January 26, 2015

Wilson Handcrafts Footballs in the U.S.

Wilson can say that every play, kick and touchdown in the NFL has been made with one of its footballs – but the company’s deep American roots run on and off the field.

Wilson is a true American icon in the world of sports equipment, handcrafting the famous football right in Ada, Ohio. The company’s 130 factory workers stitch 4,000 footballs daily, ensuring product quality before shipping the footballs to stadiums across the country.

“I don’t know if you could make it by machine because it takes craftsmen to do it,” said Dan Riegle, Wilson plant manager.

The four-part process is intense and requires keen attention to detail. Every football is hand-inspected to meet strict regulations.

“I try to make the best football that I can, every day,” said Jane Hesler, a Wilson employee.

For more information on Wilson, visit the ABC News “Made in America” story.

January 14, 2015

The Best American-Made Building Products

If you’re a homeowner, chances are you’ve completed or are currently in the process of completing a renovation project – whether it’s updating the cabinets in your kitchen, or a more extensive project like adding onto your home.

Some people choose to hire contractors to complete the renovations, while other, more DIY-savvy homeowners take on the tasks themselves. Whatever route you choose, one thing’s for sure – there are a lot of product options.

Tom Silva, a general contractor for “This Old House,” highlights some of his favorite building products that are made in the United States. “There are lots of great building products being made in America these days, with more and more coming out every year,” Silva said.

From entry doors to concrete, gutters to tile and more, Silva gives a comprehensive list of product recommendations for homeowners. Visit This Old House to see which American-made building products would work best for your upcoming project.

December 15, 2014

10 Products Still Made in America

Buying 100 percent American-made is a difficult task in today’s global marketplace. And although finding a “Made in China” sticker on everyday items is common, many companies have proudly manufactured their products in the U.S. since the beginning.

The Huffington Post highlighted the following 10 products that are made in the U.S.:

  1. Duraflame Fire Logs
  2. Spanx Products
  3. Sub-Zero refrigerator
  4. Harley-Davidson Motorcycles
  5. KitchenAid mixer
  6. Weber grills
  7. Post-it Notes
  8. Oreck XL
  9. Pyrex
  10. Intel chips

Between 2000 and 2010, the U.S. lost 33.1 percent of its manufacturing jobs to China, India and Brazil. Companies found it was substantially cheaper to manufacture goods overseas because of cheaper labor costs and lax employment regulations.

Today, however, labor costs overseas are increasing, and companies with revenues of more than $1 billion annually are considering moving jobs back to the U.S. This recent shift has created more manufacturing jobs here – and will continue to do so as more companies follow suit.

Vaughan-Bassett applauds companies that manufacture their products in the U.S. and encourages those who are thinking about making the move back.