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AMERICAN CEOS: YOU’RE PART OF THE PROBLEM

February 09, 2017

Originally posted June 30, 2016

Every afternoon I take a little break over lunch, and watch the financial news shows. Today’s guest was a CEO of a major department store. He was blaming the economy and lack of good jobs in America for the reason why sales were declining. He was basically saying, “It’s not our fault, folks – we have great stuff – it’s the economy’s fault!”

I completely disagree. In fact, it is very much his fault, as it is the CEOs of other large companies, and here’s why: they’re not buying American.

Now, I’m going to talk jewelry, but the same type of thing is happening in other departments in his store, and other companies across the US.


Texas-Silversmith-Andrew-Vandekop-Backyard-SilversmithsHowever, if this department store would have bought their jewelry from my company, or one of my silversmith friends instead, here’s what would have happened:My hunch is at least 85% of the jewelry at this major department store is manufactured overseas (probably more). So, this would mean the CEO writes a $100K+ check and sends it overseas every month. That money is now gone, out of our economy. It’s very much appreciated by the foreign country, but does not help the US or create any jobs in the US at all.

-          A jewelry kiln would have been purchased from Paragon Kilns in Mesquite, Texas

-          Several metal marking stamps would have been purchased from EverStamp in Providence, Rhode Island (a company in existence since 1898!)

-          Lots of silver would have been purchased from Rio Grande in Albuquerque, New Mexico (a company founded more than 70 years ago off Route 66!)

-          Leather would have been purchased from Springfield Leather in Springfield, Missouri

-          Graphite blocks would have been purchased from Becker Brothers Graphite Corporation in Maywood, Illinois

-          Silver melting torches and tanks would be purchased from Garland Welding Supply in Garland, Texas

-          Jewelry gift boxes would have been purchased from Dufeck Wood Products in Denmark, Wisconsin (a company founded around 1912!)

All of these companies provide jobs to people in the United States.  Had the department store bought American, that single order would have generated work for so many companies, and would have put money in the pockets of employees that live across the country - money that these employees could use to buy things from the department store.

So my message to the CEO of that major department store is very simple. You own a part of the problem. Your decision not to do business with American jewelers has reduced the job opportunities for your retail customers, and that is one reason they do not have money to shop in your store.

My message to the rest of us this Independence Day weekend: where it makes sense, buy American-made products. The job you save may just be your own. - Andrew

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