Friday, August 08, 2014

Hats off to Americraft Cookware for Sourcing in the U.S.A.

While looking for a U.S.-made crock pot for a site visitor, I contacted Americraft Cookware (West Bend, WI) about a slow-cooker base that they manufacture. The product is a base for a 4-quart stock pot that produces a "crock pot like" cooking experience.

I like Americraft because of their quality cookware that is made at their facility in West Bend. The customer service representative acknowledged that some components of the slow-cooker base (including the thermostat component) are imported because they are not available from U.S. sources.

However, she reiterated the company's commitment to U.S. sourcing of production materials, even when these are at higher cost than imported materials. I wanted to share her email here:

Unfortunately there are three items in two of our products that are no longer made in the United States and we are forced to source these items from foreign sources.  These items are certain metal handles, burner rings and a thermostat component for the slow cooker base.  We would be willing to spend more to buy these items from US sources if they were available but they simply do not exist anymore.  Perhaps one day they will return as many other former US dominated industries are.

As for our cookware all of the metal comes from Pennsylvania and Massachusetts at a cost that is 65% higher than the foreign sources we could use but choose not to.  All of our injection molded pieces such as the slow-cooker base and phenolic handles are made in Missouri at a cost that is also 65% higher than what we could get from a foreign source.  Once these parts and materials come into our factory they are formed, buffed, sanded, inspected, assembled, inspected again, tested, packaged, shipped and serviced by hard working, blue collar, lean and Green Americans that cost 90%.  We would challenge any of our competitors using foreign labor to put these numbers in their “Assembled in the USA from foreign components” pipe and smoke it!

When it's all said and done our products average 98% or better US components of which they only need to be 85% to be able to officially say "Made in the USA".  While we loose millions of profits that could be made from foreign sources of labor and parts we loose no sleep at night knowing that we’re doing the right thing.

By the way, I do not know of any traditional ceramic crock pots that are still made in USA.

Stephanie, Webmaster

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Organic Bedding made in USA with Renewable Energy

As we celebrate Earth Day, here is a great story about a U.S. company that is making a great product in the U.S.A. and doing so with 100 percent renewable energy.

CozyPure, based in Norfolk, VA, is a manufacturer of organic bedding including mattresses, blankets, pillows and sheets. The company has been named among the Top 100 companies in the Green Power Partnership for their investments in on-site renewable energy to power their manufacturing facility.

The CozyPure on-site power system consists of solar panels, including some that also serve as the building’s awnings, and 2 wind turbines (a Skystream and a Wind Spire). With installation of the on-site system in 2011, the facility now generates all of its electricity from on-site wind and solar. 

As the company notes, “CozyPure is now what’s called a "Net Zero Energy Building", and there aren't too many commercial buildings that can make that claim. In fact, we're one of the only green organic bedding manufacturers who has made the commitment to make our products with 100% renewable energy. First, we made sure we were highly energy-efficient with appliances, lighting and geothermal HVAC, R-25+ insulation, and reflection foil in our ceilings and walls. Next, we designed a system that generates both solar and wind to generate power that would meet and exceed our energy needs. The system was completed in early 2011, and we've been using zero electricity from the grid ever since.”

It’s nice to be green while buying American-made!

Stephanie, Webmaster

Saturday, March 29, 2014

American-Made Watches and Bicycles from the Motor City

For everyone that is rooting for Detroit as it seeks to recover and reinvent itself, here is a great story about a company that set up shop there several years ago. Introducing Shinola of Detroit, “Where American is Made.”

Like many, I associated Shinola with shoe polish and the infamous expression, “you wouldn’t know sh@#t from Shinola!” The new incarnation of Shinola is as a company that, in addition to shoe polish, handcrafts dress watches, bicycles, and leather goods.

Shinola men’s and women’s watches are assembled in Detroit from Swiss-made components and leather bands made in Florida from U.S. leather. The bikes are assembled in Detroit from steel frames and forks made in Wisconsin by Waterford Precision Cycles, and are available in men’s and women’s frame designs in great colors.

Last, but not least, the company crafts a number of leather goods including wallets, bags and covers for those ubiquitous Apple products!

Check it out, and raise a glass to the spirit of Detroit!

Shinola of Detroit: Where American is Made

Stephanie, Cheerleader and Shopper-in-Chief

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Santa, Won't You Bring Me an American-Made Workbench?!

I've heard the expression "tool porn" so I think I have found an example of "workbench porn"! These work benches by American Workbench (Charleston, SC) are hand-build with beautiful maple butcher block tops, custom height, recessed shelves, and choice of stains. These are almost too beautiful to use, but what a wonderful piece of functional furniture in the best hand-craft tradition.

So, who's been a good boy this year?!

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Bosse Tools Launches American-made Ergonomic Yard Tools

Just in time for the autumn yard cleanup, and the planting of perennials, a new start-up company is working to bring American-made yard tools to the market. Bosse Tools is the brainchild of young entrepreneur Steven Walden, a recent graduate of Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles. 

Being made in America is rare enough (try finding a U.S.-made Ames True Temper shovel anymore!), but Bosse Tools have another innovative feature: an ergonomic design with a rotatable center handle that makes it much easier to grasp the tool handle
To get his idea to market, Walden is launching a campaign on Kickstarter to raise money to begin manufacturing.

Below is a summary of my interview with Walden:

1) You say you got your idea for improved tools from your own experience using traditional shovels. How did you get from "idea" to design?

The short answer is that I’m no stranger to the shovel, and after working for my parents a few summers ago (with my mom in her community garden and with my dad at his properties in Phoenix) – I decided that I may have thought of a ‘better mousetrap.’  It shouldn’t be normal to wake up sore every day after using these tools, so why not come up with a way to make them easier to use.  I was using other tools as well, with perpendicular handles, like hedge trimmers and weed whackers, when I realized that this handle configuration can be used on a simple shovel.

I took this idea to my entrepreneurship class at Loyola Marymount University – and as a senior, I ended up winning the school competition for “new venture creation.”  What started as a class project grew into an idea for an entire line of tools, so I started Bosse Tools – the ergonomic tool company.

2) Where are your products manufactured and what was important to you in making that choice?

The best part about Bosse Tools is that we are 100% American born and 100% American made.  For me, the choice was obvious.  We have redesigned a tool for the American worker and we want it built here too.  I have faced a lot of scrutiny from potential investors and so-called 'business experts' about the strategic maneuver.  They said it is just not possible to do it in America.  I would usually tell them, "Just watch."  Next time the price of a shovel comes into question, I ask you to flip the tool over and look where it's made.  Be proud to buy American, and be proud to buy Bosse Tools.

3) What product lines are you currently manufacturing, and what ideas will you be working on in the days ahead?

Although we started with just one shovel, we realized that ergonomics can apply to all shovels, not just regular pointed ones.  We are ready to move forward with the production of our entire shovel line which includes spade shovels, flat head shovels, and snow shovels.  The plan is to be an all-encompassing tool company that manufactures all sorts of long shafted tools – anything from pitchforks to rakes and brooms.

4) How can consumers find your products?

Shoppers can go to our Kickstarter page or to

Best of luck to Steven Walden and his innovative idea!

Stephanie, Webmaster

Sunday, September 08, 2013

An American-Made Food Mill for My Vintage Kitchen

This weekend I scored a “vintage” food mill from the thrift shop. I didn’t even know I needed a food mill, but when I saw it on the shelf it just looked so sturdy and from another (non-electric gizmo) era that I had to take it home.

Made by Foley Mfg. of Minneapolis, Minnesota, this food mill is beautiful in its simplicity and utility. I’m not sure when Foley Food Mills went out of production, but they were probably in use in most of our grandmothers’ kitchens.

I have a batch of locally grown, fresh apples that I am cooking up and I will run them through my mill to make applesauce.

Enjoy the coming of autumn, and keep checking where things are made!

Stephanie, Webmaster