Saturday, April 04, 2009

Cannondale Takes “The Good Fight” to Taiwan

The parent company of Cannondale Bicycle Corporation has announced that it will move all remaining cycle frame production to Taiwan and reduce employment at the Bedford, PA factory from 300 to 100 workers by the end of 2010. No more American-made Cannondale bikes.

Dorel Industries, headquartered in Montreal, entered the bicycle business in 2004 with its acquisition of Pacific Cycle. After acquiring Cannondale in February 2008, Dorel separated its bicycle business into two divisions, with Pacific Cycle focusing on mass market retailers (e.g., Kmart, WalMart, and ToysRUs) and Cannondale Sports Group focusing on the more up-scale cycling market (sales through independent bicycle shops). The company hoped to capitalize on Cannondale’s legacy of handcrafted bicycles and competitive cycling. Cannondale Sports Group, now renamed Cycling Sports Group, is composed of 4 cycling brands: Cannondale, Schwinn, GT, and Mongoose.

Dorel Industries is better known to many consumers as the parent company of baby product brands, including COSCO, Safety 1st, and Mother’s Choice. The company’s website proclaims this rather odd combination of interests, with a slogan “Dorel: A World Class Juvenile Products and Bicycle Company.” Welcome to the strange world of multinational conglomerate corporations.

I guess I had better speed up my plans to buy an American-made Cannondale bike!

Stephanie, Webmaster

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

New Beginnings in America

Spring has arrived in Northern Virginia, and that means flowering trees and the start of a new soccer season. America’s collective psyche has been dragging in the dust lately, and so I appreciated the lift from signs of new life around me.

To combat the sense that nothing good is happening, I offer two great stories of American-made products being launched. Dr. Brown’s Baby Bottles are now almost all made in USA, in St. Louis! Great news for expecting and new moms worried about contaminants in baby products. Dr. Brown’s bottles, made by Handi-Craft Co., come in glass or BPA-free polypropylene and are available at Kids R Us and many other retailers.

On the cooking front, Americraft Cookware of West Bend, WI has just launched a new line of waterless cookware called 360 Cookware that is made in USA. These are high-quality cooking pans made from 7 layers of stainless steel and aluminum, with water-tight lids that allow cooking with less water or oil than traditional cookware. In the past, the Americraft cookware was available only from live cooking demonstrations. However, the new 360 Cookware can be purchased online. The products are not cheap, but very well made and will last a lifetime—the website has a great video about the manufacturing process. (Maybe this will help me get over my disappointment at no more American-made Revere Ware!)

And finally, I came across a gorgeous example of designer rugs being made in USA…check out Barbara Barran’s hand-knotted and hand-tufted rugs, made in North Carolina and Georgia. She features a number of designs based on quilt patterns by the women of Gee's Bend, AL, and she told me that the quilters receive a royalty for each sale.

Stephanie, Webmaster