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Shoppers look for ‘Made in USA’ via Winston-Salem Journal

April 15, 2014

Made in USA FurnitureRichard Carver of Winston-Salem Journal reports ‘Made in USA’ furniture resonates with the consumer in a “feel good attribute.”

Our neighbors Telescope Casual Furniture and others were interviewed in recent coverage at High Point Market on Made in USA furniture and what they’ve found the shopper is looking for from them despite foreign opposition.

Here are excerpts from Carver’s recent article:

The Made in the USA campaign in the home furnishings industry was dealt a blow last week when Stanley Furniture Industries Inc. announced plans to close its last domestic plant, cutting 400 jobs in Robbinsville… But exhibitors, buyers and industry officials at the spring High Point Market stressed Tuesday that consumers still want American-made products. The market, which is closed to the public, ends Thursday.

The caveat – and it is a large one – is that the furniture must find the right balance between quality, design, cost, service and availability. It’s the same challenge and opportunity that has faced domestic manufacturers since the flood of Southeast Asian and Chinese furniture began arriving in the U.S. in the early 2000s.

“American made is more than just a slogan for us. It is who we are,” said Henry Vanderminden IV, president of Telescope Casual Furniture of Granville, N.Y.

The family-owned company, founded in 1903, makes “in the high 90 percent” of its outdoor-oriented furnishings in a 1 million square foot facility in Granville. Ten members of the Vanderminden family, representing three generations and an equal mix of men and women, comprise most of its management team.

“We know that Made in the USA resonates with consumers in a ‘feel good attribute,” but only if the other things are in place,” Vanderminden said…

Tom Conley, president and chief executive of the High Point Market Authority, said the appeal of Made in the USA “continues to grow for certain consumers.”

“Consumers understand that companies have to do what is best for them and their shareholders,” Conley said, referring to the Stanley plant closing. “Consumers will judge products using the best information they have and their own sense of values.”

“Consumers are becoming more conscious of where furniture is made,” said Doug Bassett, president of Vaughan-Bassett Furniture Co., and an authority board member.“If they perceive a price value along with the quality of U.S. product, they’re willing to pay more,” Bassett said.

…Mary Mezzineo, owner and designer with My Life Designs of Hickory, said most of her customers prefer American made furniture, in part “because they feel that they are supporting their fellow American.”…“The U.S. manufacturers have done a good job of getting their price points down to the levels of their Chinese competitors without sacrificing the quality,” Mezzineo said.

…Sara Chiarilli, owner and designer with Artful Conceptions of Apollo Beach, Fla., said her company is benefiting from a recovering housing market…“We’re finding more customers who are doing their initial shopping on the Internet to get a feel for what’s out there and what they want,´ Chiarilli said. They hire us to find it for them at the best price and quality.”

“Increasingly, we’re finding it in American-made products, which is a pleasant benefit all around.”

Do you shop for furniture Made in USA specifically? What are the qualities you find? What, if any, would be a deterrent from buying furniture Made in USA?

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