I received an email the other day, as I often do, telling me that there just isn't much out there that's made in USA anymore. But the truth is that there are more American-made goods available than we think if we know where to look. After all, the name of my book is "How Americans Can Buy American", not "How Americans Can't Buy American."
One store you can visit that caries more American-made products than you might have expected, if you happen to live in one of 12 mostly Midwestern states from Ohio to Wyoming, is a home-improvement chain called Menard's.
On July 19, they mailed out their weekly flyer in many Sunday newspapers highlighting their "Made in USA Sale." The flyer consists of 20 full pages of American-made products carried in their store. The flyer even displays the city and state where the products are made.
The Menard's flyer contains American-made products like 3' x 5' American flags made in Milwaukee, WI for just $3.99; a 4-pack of Sylvania light bulbs made in St. Marys, PA for $1.49 (buy one, get one free); tamper resistant dual 15-amp outlets made in Greensboro, NC for 99 cents each; laminate flooring made in PA and NC starting at just 99 cents per square foot; or grill/patio furniture cleaner made in Atlanta, GA for 99 cents.
Maybe you would be interested in a 15-pack of Bounty Basic paper towels made in Green Bay, WI for $9.98, entrance mats made in Calhoun, GA for $3.99, retaining wall blocks made in Shell Rock, IA for 88 cents each, Channel Lock pliers made in Meadville, PA starting at $9.99; siding nails made in Peru, IL for just $2.99 per box; an Allen 47-piece socket set made in Fayetteville, AR for $39.99; or various Rubbermaid linen wire shelving made in Jackson, MO starting at $7.99.
If you're ready to do some more-serious home improvement around the house, Menard's has interior flat or ceiling paint made in Batavia, IL for $12.89 per gallon; pre-hung steel entry doors made in Eau Claire, WI for $149.00; 200 lbs. of roof shingles made in Minneapolis, MN for $16.99; 12 percent off pre-finished oak and maple cabinetry made in Jeffersonville, IN; stainless steel kitchen sinks made in Ruston, LA, starting at $199.00; toilets made in Perrysville, OH from $99.00 each; a 2-pack of steel sawhorses made in St. Louis, MO for just $9.99; or 12" x 12" ceramic tiles for 88 cents each.
And these are just the made-in-USA products that happen to be on sale! How do I know that there are many more American-made products in Menards? Because the home improvement chains in my area (Home Depot, Lowe's, Ace Hardware) carry American-made items I've purchased in the past like wire strippers, gas grills, batteries, staple guns, tool boxes, and shovels. I'm sure Menards has similar products like the ones I've bought in other stores. Just recently, I bought a brand new American-made Whirlpool refrigerator for $1,100.00, and a new American-made Lasko pedestal fan with remote control for $39.00 from Lowe's.
What can we do to encourage this sort of patriotic advertising in the future? Download the Made in USA Sale flyer, print it out, take it with you on your next visit to a different home-improvement store, and encourage them to create a similar flyer in the future.
And please visit the Menards.com website and thank them for making it easier for consumer patriots like us by going to their guest services page and filling out a guest response form.
The Menards "Made in USA Sale" is proof that more people are linking patriotism to their pocketbook than ever. From the concerns over outsourcing and the danger of Chinese imports to the current debate about how to get our economy back on track, Americans are looking for ways to display their patriotism beyond just flying the American flag.
American-made products are on the store shelves, we just have to find them and buy them. Sitting back and saying you can't have a positive, powerful impact on our economy because "nothing is made in America anymore" won't cut it any longer.
We only vote once every two or four years at the polls, but we vote every day with our cash, credit cards, and checkbooks at the stores or on the Internet. We have more power and potential to steer the direction of our U.S. economy right now than many of us ever thought possible. Don't let it go to waste. Let's use that power to keep manufacturing here and bring even more back to the USA.
Roger Simmermaker is the author of How Americans Can Buy American: The Power of Consumer Patriotism. He also writes "Buy American Mention of the Week" articles for his website www.howtobuyamerican.com and is a member of the Machinists Union and National Writers Union. Roger has been a frequent guest on Fox News, CNN and MSNBC, has been quoted in the USA Today, Wall Street Journal and US News & World Report among many other publications, and is now a weekly contributor to WorldNetDaily.