Here at BuyLocalized, we’re passionate about matching local suppliers with would-be buyers who may not realize that reputable companies on our soil manufacture the products they want. We often unknowingly purchase our goods from faceless companies based in Asia who have questionable ethical and labor practices, to say the least, even when we buy products from a “North American” manufacturer.
With that in mind, we decided to catch up with an American manufacturer, Maple Landmark, to speak to them about the challenges they face as a company that proudly produces everything they make within the four walls of their factory based in Vermont, USA.
Who Are Maple Landmark?
Based in Middlebury, Vermont, Maple Landmark is one of America’s most distinguished wooden toy manufacturers, with an increasing slice of their order book is taken up by custom work requests from their clients. They predominantly serve the thousands of gift and toy shops across America; however, they do have a growing client base overseas.
The company was started in 1979 by Mike Rainville and has since expanded to employ over 40 staff members, including his wife Jill and their two sons Adam and Andrew. Today their wide range of products includes ABC blocks, toy cars and trucks, building blocks, games, and personalized name trains, to name a few.
We caught up with Mike’s youngest son, Andrew, who gave us a useful insight into life as an American manufacturer:
Do You Manufacture Everything Within America? If so, Why?
“Some companies like to play games with the term ‘Made in America’ by following it with an asterisk or some caveat. We take no such liberties; everything that we make is manufactured in our 28,000 square foot facility in Middlebury, VT.”
“It’s something we’ve always done [manufacturing in America] across our 41-year history. We pride ourselves on doing business the right way by employing local people and using local resources (primarily wood in our case). We prefer to keep our money invested in the local economy, producing safe, durable products that consumers will enjoy for a lifetime.”
What are Some of the Challenges You’ve Faced by Choosing To Manufacture In The US?
“As much as we are committed to manufacturing in the US, it would be remiss of me not to acknowledge the challenges associated with doing so. Principally, America has much stronger protections for employees, consumers, and the environment than many countries who export our to our shores.”
“While these protections are beneficial and necessary, they do provide an expensive hurdle for us to jump over to ensure we do honest and fair business.”
What Are Some of the Benefits You’ve Seen by Choosing to Manufacture in the USA?
“We’ve found that there are numerous benefits. Firstly, our customers know that they are receiving a safe, quality, well-made product from Vermont. We frequently show off our factory and our crew on our website, proving we aren’t a faceless factory located somewhere across the ocean.”
“We also have the advantage of working with local suppliers. Instead of our lumber traveling thousands of miles to get to us, we have readily-available supplies located just ten miles away. Thus, our transportation costs remain low, and we maintain a short supply chain, allowing us to provide fast turnaround times for both standard and custom products. There are no worries about waiting weeks for a shipment to arrive or any of the frustration surrounding time-consuming customs checks.”
“When consumers buy our products, they are investing in their fellow Americans’ hard work, and we immediately reinvest that money back into the local economy, continuing the cycle of improving living standards and keeping the American Dream very much alive.”
Why Maple Landmark Proves It’s Better to Order Local
If you’re an avid online shopper, you should care about where your purchases come from. There are several reasons why ordering products from local companies is better. Firstly, you can purchase safe in the knowledge that your products have been created by North American workers who receive the working conditions and employment practices we expect from our local businesses.
Next, you are helping to minimize the environmental impact of your buying decisions. Supply chains that stretch from South-East Asia to your front doorstep are incredibly detrimental to our planet in the form of increased carbon emissions and fossil fuel consumption. You can change that by supporting businesses that come from within your own country, which require only a fraction of the logistics necessary to reach you.
Finally, you can buy products safe in the knowledge that you aren’t inadvertently funding sweatshop factories that employ extremely questionable ethics and labor practices. Some of the workers of the factories that supply some of our biggest household name brands operate in abhorrent conditions. By shunning those products in favor of locally-sourced ones, you can make the conscious decision to stop supporting exploitative industries and put your hard-earned money into the pockets of local workers.
Find Out Where Your Products Are from Using BuyLocalized
At BuyLocalized, our mission is simple. We aim to make it as easy for you as possible to buy local. Rather than carrying out several minutes (and sometimes hours) of your own research to find out precisely where your product might come from, our Chrome extension allows you to view where the item was produced instantly!So if you want to make sure that you are supporting local, ethical businesses you can trust, then make sure to install BuyLocalized to your web browser to make a well-informed choice!