Suddenly it's fashionable to tout furniture 'Made in America.'
Evidence of this phenomena abound in postings on WoodworkingNetwork.com, including:
- The Las Vegas Market, which just concluded last Thursday, featured a 5,000-square-foot pavilion dedicated to "Made in USA" furniture. Vegas followed the High Point Market's lead, when a 16,000-square-foot "made in America" pavilion debuted. These pavilions came on the heels of the "All-American Furniture Expo" held in Lancaster, PA, which proudly proclaimed, "No Imports Permitted."\
- Last Thursday, we reported that Stanley Furniture plans to invest $4 million on woodworking equipment this year at its Robbinsville, NC, plant that makes its Youth America wood product lines. This is on top of spending $4.2 million on upgrades ot the plant in 2011.
- Two weeks ago, Vaughan-Bassett of Galax, VA, announced expansion plans, investing $8 million to purchase and upgrade the former Webb Furniture plant adjacent to its plant that currently employs 630 workers.
- Linolnton Furniture President Bruce Cochrane attended the State of the Uniion address as the guest of President Barack Obama. Lincolnton is already looking to expand its workforce at its start-up solid wood furniture operation in Lincolnton, NC, from nearly 50 to about 180
Who do we thank for this trend to market furniture ‘Made in America?
A. ABC’s Diane Sawyer for her “Made in America Reports?”
B. Ford Motor Company for saying thanks but no thanks to a federal bailout and turning things around on its own?
C. Chinese manufacturers for not only being the leaders in U.S. imports but for products recalled by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission?
D. American consumers finally recognizing the social-economic costs of letting go of manufacturing jobs, including the making of furniture and wood products?
I would volunteer it’s a combination of all of the above and more.
- Doug Bassett, COO of the aforementioned expanding Vaughan-Bassett Furniture, notes, “Our sales first jumped after we were featured as the master bedroom set in the “Made in America” house last February on The ABC World News with Diane Sawyer. Furniture dealers are reporting to us that their customers are asking for American-made products." But Diane Sawyer is hardly the only high-profile media type to hype "Made in America." Lou Dobbs, who has ironically made the transition from CNN to Fox, has also pontificated much on the virtues of "Made in America."
- Ford did it "Its Way," but General Motors, which grabbed its share of U.S. taxpayer bailout money has reclaimed its spot as the world's largest auto maker (not that Toyota's safety problems hurt that reclamation effort).
Whatever the reason(s),its refreshing to watch. Don't you agree?
Recent blogs by Rich Christianson
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Rich Christianson is Associate Publisher and Editor at Large of Woodworking Network. During his 25+ years covering the wood products industry, Rich has toured hundreds of manufacturing plants throughout North America, Europe and Asia. His reporting has covered everything from the state of the industry and impact of wood imports to technology and environmental issues. In his current capacity he is responsible for editing the daily Woodworking Network Update newsletter and coordinating events including the annual Cabinets & Closets Conference & Expo and Canada’s biennial Woodworking Machinery & Supply Expo. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.orgRead more of Rich Christianson's blogs.