Friday, November 25, 2011

Invest in Your Future: Buy American for Christmas

It's here again! That time of year when so many of us have our annual shopping spree. Small businesses have banded together to urge us to "buy small, buy local" on Small Business Saturday. I take this opportunity to find American-made gifts for the loved ones on my giving list.

As ABC News keeps reminding us, if we all buy something made in USA we can make a difference. So, let's give the economy a boost by buying American-made products! Happy Holidays!

Stephanie, Webmaster and Junior Elf

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Made in USA—Again! Stainless Flatware and Faribault Mill Blankets

Good news! American-made stainless flatware is off the extinct species list, at least for now! Sherrill Manufacturing (Sherrill, NY) is restarting its factory for a limited production run to fill a large order from Silver Superstore.

When Oneida closed their last U.S. facility in 2005, it looked like there would be no more American-made stainless flatware. Then, the facility was purchased by two former Oneida employees and reopened as Sherrill Manufacturing! The new owners have worked hard to keep a toe-hold in the U.S. market. When orders were not high enough to keep the factory open, they were forced to lay off employees and close their doors in 2010. However, the owners refused to sell off the equipment in hopes of restarting production in the future.

Shoppers who have been holding out for American flatware now have that option and an opportunity to demonstrate that there is market demand for this product category. So, go shopping!

More good news! Faribault Woolen Mill (Faribault, MN) also is having a second lease on life! The mill is having a grand reopening this month, thanks to two local investors. The company’s new tag line is “The Revival of American Excellence.”

This wonderful mill, which had been making beautiful blankets since 1877, had closed in 2009. At one time, air travelers could snuggle up for an in-flight nap with a Faribault Mill blanket. Now we get a blanket made in China (and we pay extra for the privilege!).

As cool nights approach, I will get out my Faribault Mill blanket made from Ingeo, a corn starch-based fiber. Welcome back, Faribault Woolen Mill!

[Disclosure: I do not have any financial relationships with any of the companies mentioned in this article.]

Stephanie, Webmaster

Monday, March 21, 2011

Giving Anonymously

As I have watched the heart-breaking news coverage of the Japanese earthquake/tsunami/nuclear emergency, I cannot imagine the extent of the effort that will be required to return life in the region to any sort of normalcy. I read that the outpouring of charitable donations has not matched that seen for Haiti, possibly because we think that Japan can take care of itself.

My usual response is to donate to the American Red Cross.

Turning closer to home, I finally came across my notes about a wonderful website that was set up by a private citizen in Bellingham, WA, called The site allows donors to give anonymously to a friend in need, as a way to help without invading the recipient's sense of privacy. I loved this idea when I heard about it some time ago on NBC Nightly News. So often, one wants to help out a friend (or even a stranger) but without causing him or her embarrassment. This site is terrific.

Feeling grateful for what I have...

Stephanie, Webmaster

Saturday, January 01, 2011

New Year, Same Old Me

New Year's Day is always a time for reflecting on the past year, and setting goals and resolutions for the coming year. In that spirit, I sat down to make my list of resolutions. To avoid the trap of good intentions without follow-through (and to trot out my wonk credentials!), I also developed quantitative targets for each resolution or goal.

Vague ResolutionQuantitative Target
1. Eat less, exercise more.Lose at least 1 pound per month. Exercise at least 30 minutes each day. (Walking stairs counts!)
2. Spend less, save more.Monthly fixed contribution to savings.
3. Read more.Read one book per month.
4. Grow my website, StillMadeinUSA.comGoal of 100,000 visitors per month. Do a blog post once in awhile.

I'm into data, so I pulled together some statistics on my weight and my website. As shown below, both have been trending up over the last 6 years since the website was launched.

I’m against “junk science”, so I can’t claim that there is a causal relationship between my weight and the number of shoppers using my website. However, you will agree that this is very suspicious!!

Very best wishes to all for a wonderful New Year!

Stephanie, Webmaster