Local Manufacturer Turns Challenge into Success in Quest to Save American Jobs
This week a Western New York business owner heads to Washington, DC for a meeting organized by the White House at the invitation of Congressman Brian Higgins (NY-27). As a member of the House Make it in America Task Force, Congressman Higgins was invited to ask a constituent or business owner to participate in a “Make it in America” event at the White House Conference Center this Thursday. Featured guests at the session, which will involve a roundtable discussion and working meeting, include U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood and House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer.
Congressman Higgins invited Mark Andol, owner of the Made in America Store in Elma, NY to attend the White House event and the Congressman visited the store on Monday to discuss the Made in America mission with Andol.
“Mark’s commitment to protecting and creating American jobs is like nothing I have ever seen and really sets an example for the nation,” said Congressman Higgins. “Not only is he supporting US manufacturers by providing an additional retail outlet for their products, incredibly his leadership is persuading companies to change their thinking and develop products 100% made in America.”
A welder by trade, Mark owns General Welding & Fabricating, a manufacturing company that lost $3 million in sales to China. He was forced to close two of his four plants, and lay off nearly half of his workforce.
Frustrated by this turn of events, Andol opened the Made in America Store on April 3, 2010. It is the only general merchandise store in the country that sells 100% American Made Products, right down to the packaging. In 18 months the Made in America Store expanded from selling 50 to 3500 items and discussions are underway for additional stores. The unique retail facility has attracted the attention of national and international media outlets and to date, more than 75 tour buses have added the Made in America Store as a destination. Mark, through the Made in America Store, has made it his mission to save and create jobs in the U.S., and uses the slogan “Because China is a Long Drive to Work.”
Congressman Higgins is a cosponsor of the Currency Reform for Fair Trade Act, bipartisan legislation that would provide relief to U.S. businesses hurt by China’s currency devaluation policies by creating a level playing field. According to the Alliance for American Manufacturing 2.8 million jobs have been lost over the last decade as a result of our trade deficit with China, including 22,000 jobs in Western New York alone.
More information on the Made in America Store is available through their website at: www.saveourcountryfirst.com.