I blanched at the length of the school’s “Required Items” list, but as I prepare to send my son off to boarding school for the summer I decided to turn this into a QUEST for American-made products!
Here are my favorite product discoveries so far:
US-made organic cotton towels by 1888 Mills in Griffin, GA: These soft and fluffy towels, white with subtle accent colors (I chose sesame), are dreamy and quite affordable. The 3-piece set, with bath towel, hand towel, and wash cloth, was just $14.88. The hard part for me was that they are only available from WalMart. (I know, I know! Egad.) 1888 Mills usually only sells in quantities to the hotel trade, and I was having a hard time finding a good source for their products. I guess this is an instance where I must give WalMart credit for making a wonderful American-made product available to the individual consumer. I did call 1888 Mills, and a kind gentleman indicated that there might be additional venues for their wonderful towels in the coming months. I will check back with the company and update my Bed & Bath listings when I learn more.
Cotton Sheets from Mayfield Manufacturing in Thomson, GA: This was another great find, since I needed several sets of twin sheets. I chose the 300 thread-count set, and the feel and quality is very nice. I did notice, however, that the seams are 7 stitches per inch, as opposed to the 8 stitches per inch I was accustomed to with the Martha Stewart sheets by Westpoint Stevens (the latter are now all imported). I am an EXTREMELY infrequent mender, so I pay attention to these things because items that go onto my mending pile almost never return. I also give high marks to the family-owned business in Michigan, US-Mattress.com, who carries the Mayfield sheets. Their customer service was very friendly, and shipping was quick.
Shower/pool shoes from Okabashi in Buford, GA: I had been looking for an excuse to try some Okabashi flip flops, and I was very impressed with their solid construction and extremely comfortable feel. These are not your dime-store flip flops, and they come with a 2-year guarantee! In addition to pairs for the kids, I finally got the brown and pink thongs I had been lusting after. I received free shipping, and our shoes came in just a few days. (My son slipped his on and said, “Wow, these are really comfortable!”)
Athletic Shorts by Sovereign Manufacturing in Allentown, PA: these are very high quality shorts made from a heavy, silky polyester fabric in lots of great colors. My son likes his shorts long, so I was able to order the Tall sizes from Big and Tall World.
Well, that’s the update from the shopping wars. I can’t vouch for his grades, but at least my son will be outfitted with nothing but the best!
I enjoyed reading your interesting blog. I thought I'd share how I found it. Fr. Benet Amato, a monk of Saint Meinrad Archabbey and a good friend died today. He was only 56 but had diabetes. On our lunch break, my son reminded me the last monk to die here was Fr. Camillus Ellspermann in February, 2007. My other son said he had a Camillus pocket knife. I looked on the web for information about the company and here I am. Check out our website where all three of us work: www.saintmeinrad.edu. Thanks for your blog. John
Stephanie, I haven't written in a while and just recently caught up on your blog but as always your site is incredible. I am thinking about getting some of the Okabashi shoes(I guess you can't judge a product by it's name) and was glad to see that some of the wind turbines are made in the US. I would like to add a couple of companies if I may. I know you bought a G6 that is made in the US and wanted to let you know that I recently bought a Jeep Compass, a small SUV that is made in Illinois and has 77% American made parts. I believe alot of the Jeeps are made in the US. It even gets 25 mpg in town. I also found out that besides Fisher and Paykel, Bosch also makes some of their washers and dryers in the US. Anyway, keep up the great website and I will continue to log on.
Dear Stephanie -
This is such a cool blog, and we're feeling so good seeing the huge interest that has begun to take shape around American-made products.
Our company, Emerson Creek Pottery, has been handcrafting non-toxic, Made-in-the-USA ceramics since 1977. We're located in Virgina, and our potters create one of America's only complete domestic lines of ceramics for the home. We make dinnerware, bakeware, housewares, lamps, clocks, all here in America.
We'd be mighty pleased if you'd come and check out the page on our site that explains our American-based, green business practices:
Over the decades, we've seen a lot of fads come and go, but it's our hope that the Green Movement is going to be a lasting change in our country as people demand non-toxic products that support our own economy. We really appreciate what you are doing for readers here. You are offering really important choices for a better life for Americans.
Hi, Stephanie - I love your blog posting on buying "made in USA" for back to school. Now it's the winter holidays, and the economy is tough -- let's do this for holiday giving!
I have found nutcrackers Made in USA at the Great South Pecan in Georgia, where you can also order pecans for holiday pecan-pie-making.
I found a darling stuffed animal (monkey) made from "seconds" of organic socks (Order from Maggie's Organics, in Michigan - which has a textile company in North Carolina). Considering the contamination of toys from China, this baby toy, with no small parts and toxin-free cotton, really fits the bill!
The garden hand-tools from Garden Works (which is liked from your site, and is also known as Create a Garden) are first-rate. I got a set for myself last spring, got a set for my dad for father's day, and now am getting a set for my sis. I highly recommend the scoops, the angle-weeder and the tiger trowel. The Ken-Ho is NOT made in USA. But the plant stakes are! I emailed Garden Works to ensure they are still made in USA and got a really lovely email back!
From Bromwell Housewares, I just received my order of an old-fashioned popcorn popper - with a long handle. No oil touches the popcorn but the roasting/shaking of this kind of popper over the stove is so much tastier than the electric air-poppers. And more fun too.
Let's not forget the website of the Syracuse Cultural Workers -- who have a plentiful variety of American made coffee mugs with fun slogans and great greeting cards on recycled stock.
Next stop - Cutco. A former student told me about their fine kitchen and steak knives, and he's setting up a local outlet. Most Cutco products are made in a small town in Upstate NY. Zoom in on the photos, and you can see the "made in USA" mark on most of the items.
Thanks for your site and for your good words about American-made things, Stephanie. If each of us is mindful about our purchases and considers investing in our domestic workers, we can help turn this economy around. People need jobs to pay their mortgages (let alone renegotiating them!).
~Libby of Silver Spring MD
Love your blog! We, too, are on a constant quest to buy and sell American-made. It is not easy and I am thankful when people share their finds.
Hi Stephanie-I started out a couple days ago to replace towels here at home. I think it's been over 10 years since I've bought towels and I want to get some nice plush towels. I started looking online at a few of the "usual" places. All offered many choices all of which were imported, India and Pakistan primarily. Yesterday I headed to the mall and all the "Big" stores JCPenneys, Sears, Kohls, on and on it was all China, Turkey, India, Pakistan. I suppose if I was going to buy 1 towel, but I was going to buy 18 bath towels, that's a significant purchase one I felt was worth searching out "Made in the USA" I just want bath towels, I find this shocking!
I do have an organic cotton towels too. I bought at Amazon :)
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