Made in America was his first choice
daniel bouzide wellness mats
Daniel Bouzide's customers include the Tranportation Security Administration, which uses his WellnessMats at airport checkpoints.

Based in: Troy, Mich.
# of employees: 180

Most floor mats sold in the U.S. are made in China. So when Daniel Bouzide decided to start a company that would make high-quality floor mats in America, he knew the odds were stacked against him.

But Bouzide had one big advantage: With a decade of experience as a manufacturing rep in the flooring industry, he knew what customers liked and disliked about existing mats.

"I saw an opportunity to create a high-quality floor mat that [would offer] consumers more than the obvious," he said.

He spent six months researching and developing a line of therapeutic, anti-fatigue, antibacterial floor mats for home and business use. In January 2005, he launched his company, Smart Step, which began to manufacture WellnessMats in St. Louis.

"I wasn't convinced that I would save money or get the best quality by going abroad," he said. "My goal all along was to make the absolute best product."

The mats, which sell for $195, are more than double the price of competitors'. But because higher-quality mats last much longer, his firm's mats are more cost-effective in the long run, he said.

WellnessMats are sold at more than 700 retailers nationwide. Since 2008, the company has enjoyed 30% to 35% annual sales growth and, Bouzide added, "we're quite profitable."


Do you have a business that makes its products in the USA? Is it thriving? What are the challenges? Email Parija Kavilanz and you could be included in an upcoming story.
- Last updated January 25 2013 12:55 PM ET
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