If you're like most Americans, you've found it difficult at best to buy American in most of the big-box stores like Wal-Mart, K-mart, and Target. But just because it may seem harder to buy American these days doesn't mean that it really is harder. Whether you've rightly realized that small businesses in many areas are the real backbone of our economy or accepted the brutal reality that gas prices seem unlikely to stop rising anytime soon, you can find encouragement in ordering American-made goods over the Internet from smaller, online-only companies in the comfort of your own home.
Just because big retailers and big government haven't done their part to help secure the big American market for the American producer, we can still reward the right companies by simply redirecting our dollars to the right places. More Americans are already shopping online than ever before. "Business Week" reported back in December 2003 that 54 percent of Americans planned to use the Internet to find Christmas gifts, up from only 46 percent the year before, and subsequent years have seen the rate of online purchases go even higher. In 2006, an annual study from Forrester Research and the National Retail Federation's Shop.org revealed online sales of apparel (including accessories and footwear) jumped 61 percent. At $18.3 billion, apparel catapulted past computer hardware and software web purchases, second only to the travel industry in online sales.
To help consumers buy American-made products from American-owned companies, I've listed some of my favorite websites that sell nothing but American-made goods. I've known about most of these websites for years (and have come to know their owners as well) and I also know that these companies are the most deserving of our consumer dollars since their owners have established these websites because they feel it's the patriotic thing to do. So I have no problem in highlighting these companies even if I've mentioned them before in past articles. The more Americans who discover and patronize truly patriotic companies, the better off America's economy will be.
ZebulonUSA carries a large variety of men's, women's and children's apparel and accessories. Zebulon also carries duffle bags, rolling luggage, briefcases, backpacks, toys, games, as well as products for the home and outdoors. This is one of the original "American Hero" companies that have been swimming against the tide of ever-increasing imports for years.
Shop For America carries literally thousands of American-made products including a wide variety of clothing for the entire family, furniture, home d?cor, home improvement, bath & body, patio & garden, small appliances and gourmet food. As the name implies, when you shop here, you really are shopping for America.
All American Clothing has grown from reselling products made by other companies to carrying their own line of American-made jeans, shorts and other apparel. This company carries both union-made and USA-made to support both union and non-union American labor. Formerly known as Union Jean Company, it's been great to see this company expand and grow over the years, and with our help they'll continue to do so.
At Union House Apparel you'll find a lot of unique apparel and styles you may not have been thinking of or considering, as well as a rather large inventory of closeout and sale items at lower-than-normal prices. If you've been looking for an American flag made in the USA, this is the place to get one.
At The Union Shop you can find even more of both standard and unique American-made and union-made goods. Check out their selection of carved glass in the form of candle holders, lighthouses and sailboats just to name a few.
Supporting smaller American companies like these that employ American workers will go a long way to ensure that not only are jobs plentiful, but also to avoid losing entire American industries like the ailing textile industry. Because of our failed U.S. trade policies throughout the last few decades, we've imported enough apparel and American flags to put Betsy Ross and all her seamstresses in unemployment lines had we utilized similar trade policies during our country's infancy.
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.