Made in the U.S.A.'s new cachet

American manufacturers take back turf.


(FSB) -- U.S. toymakers, long ago crowded out by Chinese manufacturers, may be taking back a bit of turf. Whittle Shortline Railroad (woodentrain.com), a Louisiana, Mo., toymaker, saw a 30% surge in sales in June, when lead paint was found on Chinese-made toys. Whittle is happy to play the "Made in USA" card: Its home page now sports a yellow 100% KID-SAFE WITH LEAD FREE PAINTS banner. "The atmosphere right now is positive for us," says owner Mike Whitworth, 59. "American consumers are willing to pay more for quality."

Some businesses go even further in trying to leverage the recall backlash. Frank Davis, CEO of Food for Health International (foodforhealthint.com) in Orem, Utah, drew national media attention for slapping CHINA-FREE stickers on his nutrition supplements. Accused of nativism, Davis, 60, is unapologetic: "I'd prefer to say 'synthetic-free,' but customers are looking for 'China-free' right now." And he says it's working: "We're on the cusp of increasing sales fourfold."  Top of page

To write a note to the editor about this article, click here.

Sponsors