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Who Said the American TV Industry Was Dead?
Our Buy American Mention of the Week!
by Roger Simmermaker
March 17, 2002

One of the most difficult areas where Americans have trouble buying American is in the electronics industry. Televisions in particular are especially tough to find made in the USA. A few years back, I bought a General Electric TV that was made in Indiana. Back in 1995, one of my brothers bought a Bell & Howell TV from Montgomery Ward that was made in USA. Montgomery Ward, the largest privately-owned, American-owned retail chain at the time, went bankrupt, and Bell & Howell no longer makes televisions. I'm not sure if that GE plant is still in Indiana either, but one thing I am sure of is that Curtis Mathes is American owned and makes some of their TVs in the United States. They even design their own products, so white-collar Americans retain jobs as well.

When I found that Bell & Howell was making TVs in the United States and that Montgomery Ward was in financial trouble, I thought it was a rare opportunity to prop up two birds with one stone. Bell & Howell deserved our dollars for going against the tide and employing American workers and Montgomery Ward deserved our dollars for carrying their products. We have another golden opportunity here to support yet another unpopular TV brand and help Kmart avoid financial ruin at the same time. Sony, Toshiba and Panasonic surely don't need our dollars, and the last thing I heard about Wal-Mart's connection to the TV industry was that they finally stopped carrying Konka TVs. Konka is Chinese-owned and none of their TVs are made here, yet Wal-Mart seemed determined to help them compete against the Japanese and grab an eventual 1% share of the U.S. market. Kmart, on the other hand, appears to be trying to help out an American manufacturer in Curtis Mathes.

Curtis Mathes doesn't make all their TVs here, as the small screen models are made just south of the U.S.-Mexico border. But if you visit your local Kmart store, you will find larger models from 27" to 36" proudly display the Made in USA logo. Now who was it that said the American TV industry was dead?


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