September 24, 2015 Leave a comment
Vendors are resisting the retailer’s attempt to impose fees on them. Read more of this post
September 24, 2015 Leave a comment
Vendors are resisting the retailer’s attempt to impose fees on them. Read more of this post
October 22, 2013 1 Comment
McClatchy Regional News
HIGH POINT — The reason Robert Deese is optimistic about the future of American-made furniture lies in the innards of the sofas made at his Montgomery County plant.
A vice president at Lancer Furniture in Star, Deese stood in a High Point Market showroom full of his company’s products on Sunday and explained why customers are increasingly dissatisfied with imported furniture.
“That’s the thing with upholstered furniture — the value is on the inside,” he said. “You can’t see it unless you flip it over and start cutting it apart. You can’t show somebody. And the Chinese, some of the fabrics and foam they use can make it look really pretty, except three months from now, you couldn’t tell that the foam was bad, the (design) is going to come off the fabric and that the particle board or half-inch plywood could come apart.”
Lancer is one of 60 furniture exhibitors in the Made in America Pavilion in the Suites at Market Square at the fall market, which continues through Thursday.
The 25,000-square-foot exhibit space is devoted solely to domestically-produced goods, according to International Market Centers, which operates the showroom. Launched two years ago with 30 exhibitors, the pavilion has doubled in size following an aggressive sales and marketing effort and an increase in consumer demand for American-made furniture, according to IMC.
In addition to wooden furniture, exhibits at the pavilion include upholstery, rugs, wall art and decorative accessories.
“For many retailers and designers, offering domestically-produced merchandise has moved from a trend in the marketplace to an absolute expectation by their customers to present American-made options,” said Julie Messner, vice president of leasing for IMC.
While several factors related to overseas furniture production — such as an increase in offshore labor and shipping costs — have played into the hands of American manufacturers, Deese said consumer tastes are driving many of the trends.
“We’re getting a good response out of people wanting to buy ‘Made in America.’ They’ve had enough experience with buying some of the Chinese stuff,” he said.
Other Made in America pavilion exhibitors said having domestic furniture companies gathered in one spot should help them reach more buyers.
Wally Mitchum, president of Carolina Classic Furniture in Granite Falls, said people at the pavilion appreciate the stories of companies like his, which came up with a variety of new designs for its furniture after a 2006 fire destroyed his factory.
“That’s why I’m here, because I believe in ‘Made in America,’” said Mitchum. “For some other businesses, they’re about, ‘I want to make a dollar.’ They don’t care about how it’s done.”
Deese said he’s seen the market put more emphasis on American-made products.
“We think being here pulls us out from the crowd,” he said. “We can really make sure people understand we do American fabrics, we have our own foam facility. Pretty much the whole process is done right there.”
Andy McAlister is another Made in America pavilion exhibitor banking on the growth in consumer appetites for hand-crafted furniture.
Before he went to work for Wellborn Industries, Inc. — a Jacksons Gap, Ala. company that processes the wood inside old mills into custom-made furniture — McAlister said he worked for a large furniture company and was involved in extensive offshore production.
“I used to import 300 containers (of furniture) a year, and I’m not proud of that, but that’s just what we did back in the day,” said McAlister. “One reason things have changed is that, for people like me, they’re a little older and they see what it does to the country when you buy overseas.”
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October 15, 2013 Leave a comment
Made in USA Certified® proudly grants Certification to American Refining Group, Inc. in Bradford, Pennsylvania, the birthplace of the U.S. domestic oil industry more than 100 years ago.
BRADFORD, Pa.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–October 14, 2013
American Refining Group, Inc. has successfully completed the Made in USA Certified proprietary supply chain audit process and is the first oil refinery to be granted license to use the Made in USA Certified® Seal for the following products: Brad Penn® Lubricants, Kensol® Naphthas and Distillates and Kendex® Base Oils, Custom Blends, Waxes and Resins.
American Refining Group, Inc, a privately owned facility, is situated on approximately 131 acres in Bradford, Pennsylvania, McKean County and the birthplace of the U.S. domestic oil industry over 100 years ago. The refinery has a rated capacity of 11,000 barrels/ day processing 100% Pennsylvania Grade Crude. This type of crude is available domestically and American Refining Group purchases the majority of their crude from sources in Pennsylvania, Ohio, New York, and West Virginia. It is the oldest continuously operated lube oil refinery in the world. They strive to supply their customers with consistent quality products and flexibility in working together, delivering the highest quality service.
American Refining Group’s stocks are converted into high quality waxes, lubricant base oils, gasoline and fuels, as well as a wide variety of specialty products. American Refining Group’s state-of-the-art blending and packaging facilities have the capability of producing a full spectrum of finished lubricant products. These products are available in a broad range of package sizes including bulk and these products can be delivered either by rail and/or truck. Our total commitment to quality is proven through our packaging plant and refinery being ISO 9001:2008 certified and Made in USA Certified.
Director of Marketing for American Refining Group, Roy Sambuchino states, “We felt that it was important to become Made in USA Certified to be able to distinguish our products as being truly “Made in USA” which is a strong part of our heritage and something our customers value. The Made in USA Certified seal gives our consumers added assurance in their purchases.”
Made in USA Certified’s Co-Founder & President, Julie Reiser stated, “The Bradford refinery was founded in 1881 at the height of the domestic oil boom and is the oldest continuously operating lube oil refinery in the world. Oil refinement in the USA is a critical piece of our Nation’s past, present and future. We congratulate this historic company on their on-going innovation and the good paying jobs they create for hard working Americans in the Bradford, Pennsylvania region. We are proud to certify ARG’s select line of products.”
Made in USA Certified® is the only Registered “Made in USA Certified” Word Mark with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and is the leading non-partisan, independent third party, certification company for the “Made in USA”, “Product of USA”, “Grown in USA” or “Service in USA” claims. The USA-C™ Seals show that a company bearing these trust marks has gone through a rigorous supply chain audit to verify compliance with our strict certification standards. Together, We Create Jobs in the USA!
October 8, 2013 1 Comment
By Ros Krasny – Reuters
6:34 PM CDT, October 7, 2013
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Hundreds of people in 18 states have become sick from a salmonella outbreak linked to raw chicken products made at three California plants owned by Foster Farms, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said on Monday.
“The outbreak is continuing,” USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service said in a statement.
An estimated 278 illnesses, mostly in California, were caused by strains of Salmonella Heidelberg. The chicken products were distributed mostly to retail outlets in California, Oregon and Washington state, USDA said.
The illnesses were linked to Foster Farms brand chicken through epidemiologic, laboratory and traceback investigations conducted by local, state and federal officials.
In a statement, Livingston, California-based Foster Farms said it was working with authorities to reduce the incidence of Salmonella Heidelberg on raw chicken products.
No recall is in effect, the privately owned company added.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is partnering with state health departments to monitor the outbreak while the Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) continues its investigation, USDA said.
“In addition to collaborating with FSIS and CDC, the company has retained national experts in epidemiology and food safety technology to assess current practices and identify opportunities for further improvement,” Foster Farms President Ron Foster said in a statement.
Salmonella Heidelberg is the third most common strain of the Salmonella pathogen, which can result in foodborne illness if not destroyed by the heat of proper cooking.
The most common symptoms of salmonella infection are diarrhea, abdominal cramps and fever within eight to 72 hours. Additional symptoms may be chills, headache, nausea and vomiting that can last up to seven days.
FSIS is one of the arms of USDA that continues to work during the federal government shutdown, but with reduced staffing. Meat, poultry and processed egg inspection activities have been maintained.
Raw products from the facilities bear one of the following numbers inside a USDA mark of inspection or elsewhere on the package: P6137, P6137A or P7632.
(Reporting by Ros Krasny; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)
Copyright © 2013, Reuters
September 24, 2013 1 Comment
By Susan Berfield | BusinessWeek – Mon, Sep 23, 2013 1:14 PM EDT
Magnus von Buddenbrock and Stefanie Giesselbach arrived in Chicago in 2006 full of hope. He was 30, she was 28, and they had both won their first overseas assignments at ALW Food Group, a family-owned food-trading company based in Hamburg. Von Buddenbrock had joined ALW—the initials stand for its founder, Alfred L. Wolff—four years earlier after earning a degree in marketing and international business, and he was expert in the buying and selling of gum arabic, a key ingredient in candy and soft drinks. Giesselbach had started at ALW as a 19-year-old apprentice. She worked hard, learned quickly, spoke five languages, and within three years had become the company’s first female product manager. Her specialty was honey. When the two colleagues began their new jobs in a small fourth-floor office a few blocks from Millennium Park in downtown Chicago, ALW’s business was growing, and all they saw was opportunity.
On March 24, 2008, von Buddenbrock came to the office around 8:30 a.m., as usual. He was expecting a quiet day: It was a holiday in Germany, and his bosses there had the day off. Giesselbach was on holiday, too; she had returned to Germany to visit her family and boyfriend. Sometime around 10 a.m., von Buddenbrock heard a commotion in the reception area and went to have a look. A half-dozen armed federal agents, all wearing bulletproof vests, had stormed in. “They made a good show, coming in with full force,” he recalls. “It was pretty scary.”
The agents asked if anybody was hiding anywhere, then separated von Buddenbrock and his assistant, the only two employees there. Agents brought von Buddenbrock into a conference room, where they questioned him about ALW’s honey business. After a couple of hours they left, taking with them stacks of paper files, copies of computer hard drives, and samples of honey.
Giesselbach returned from Germany three days later. Her flight was about to land at O’Hare when the crew announced that everyone would have to show their passports at the gate. As Giesselbach walked off the plane, federal agents pulled her aside. She, too, answered their questions about ALW’s honey shipments. After an hour, they let her leave. The agents, from the U.S. Department of Commerce and the Department of Homeland Security, had begun to uncover a plot by ALW to import millions of pounds of cheap honey from China by disguising its origins.
Americans consume more honey than anyone else in the world, nearly 400 million pounds every year. About half of that is used by food companies in cereals, bread, cookies, and all sorts of other processed food. Some 60 percent of the honey is imported from Argentina, Brazil, Canada, and other trading partners. Almost none comes from China. After U.S. beekeepers accused Chinese companies of selling their honey at artificially low prices, the government imposed import duties in 2001 that as much as tripled the price of Chinese honey. Since then, little enters from China legally.
Von Buddenbrock and Giesselbach continued to cooperate with the investigators, according to court documents. In September 2010, though, the junior executives were formally accused of helping ALW perpetuate a sprawling $80 million food fraud, the largest in U.S. history. Andrew Boutros, assistant U.S. attorney in Chicago, had put together the case: Eight other ALW executives, including Alexander Wolff, the chief executive officer, and a Chinese honey broker, were indicted on charges alleging a global conspiracy to illegally import Chinese honey going back to 2002. Most of the accused executives live in Germany and, for now, remain beyond the reach of the U.S. justice system. They are on Interpol’s list of wanted people. U.S. lawyers for ALW declined to comment.
In the spring of 2006, as Giesselbach, who declined requests for an interview, was preparing for her job in Chicago, she started receiving e-mail updates about various shipments of honey moving through ports around the world. According to court documents, one on May 3 was titled “Loesungmoeglichkeiten,” or “Solution possibilities.” During a rare inspection, U.S. customs agents had become suspicious about six shipping containers of honey headed for ALW’s customers. The honey came from China but had been labeled Korean White Honey.
September 23, 2013 Leave a comment
Sep 20, 2013 (The Gazette (Menafn – Colorado Springs – McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) —
Maxx Sunglasses hopes to use 3-D printing to write a new chapter in its business plan.
The Monument-based sunglass maker bought a high-capacity 3-D printer last month for 70,000, and is using it to make prototypes of the glasses and other merchandise with logos and team colors from professional baseball and football teams and college football teams.
The company plans to spend 500,000 over the next three years to buy enough 3-D printing equipment to bring production of its sunglasses to Monument from contract manufacturers it uses in Taiwan. The company also use the printers to manufacture other products it plans to add to its lineup, such as gift items and chess sets.
Three-dimensional printers aren’t printers like the ones most consumers use with their home computers. Using specs created on computers and sent to the printer, the devices build objects with plastic or powdered material held together with a super-glue-like resin, one thin layer at a time, with heads equipped with small jets similar to inkjet printers.
The machine Maxx uses is the size of a washer and dryer set side-by-side, and it can create sunglasses, chess sets and other objects in just a few hours.
“Three-D printing gives us so many options that it is an exciting thing for business. It reminds me of the beginning of the computer age or when we first began using the Internet,” said Rick Milner, CEO, co-founder and owner of Maxx. “Our whole idea with 3-D printing is it gives us more access to other product lines for the licenses we already hold. It will allow us to move from sunglasses to other gift items, like a chess set, and allow us to partner with artists and entrepreneurs who have ideas for licensed products.”
Already, the 3-D printer that Maxx bought has reduced the time the company spends producing prototypes from a month to two or three days, since the company no longer has to send designs to its manufacturers in Taiwan and wait for them to be made and shipped back to Monument, Milner said. That will allow Maxx to display potential products at annual trade shows and take orders from retailers, television shopping networks, online sales sites and the teams for which it holds licenses, he said.
Maxx plans to add at least 25 people to its 35 year-round employees once it begins manufacturing its own products, Milner said. The company has formed a separate division for its 3-D printing operations, called Maxx 3D, that will do 3-D printing, design and prototyping.
Milner and his wife and business co-owner, Nancy, couple got into the sunglass business in 2000 after owning other companies, including a vehicle window-tinting business that grew too quickly and failed. They initially sold sunglasses from trailers parked on street corners in the Springs and other locations before switching to a distribution model of selling through retailers, websites and television shopping networks.
Maxx expects to hit 10 million in sales this year, largely from licensing deals: one signed in 2011 with Major League Baseball; one signed last year with Collegiate Licensing Co. for 43 college football teams; and one signed in June with the National Football League. Since landing the first licensing deal, the company’s sales have more than doubled, and licensed sunglasses — which are made in a team’s colors and have a small medallion on the side with the team’s logo — are expected to overtake its primary line of sunglasses by the end of next year, Rick Milner said.
Contact Wayne Heilman: 636-0234 Twitter @wayneheilman
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September 23, 2013 Leave a comment
On the very day that I arrived in Lima, Peru’s capital, I heard that people had burnt China-made clothes in the Gamarra market at the end of August. The next day, thousands of people demonstrated on the street, protesting that cheap Chinese clothes had destroyed their jobs.
Gamarra is one of the largest commercial markets in South America, employing tens of thousands of people. Many commodities there are made in China, especially clothes and textiles.
Two days later, I went to this crowded market, where the buildings have floor-to-ceiling windows with colorfully dressed mannequins. One can buy all kinds of commodities at stores on both sides of the street. If you look closely, you can see that most of the goods are made in China.
Jau Kin Siu, chairman of the Sociedad Central de Beneficencia China in Peru told me that there were three reasons for the clothes-burning incident. The clothing industry in Peru has been greatly affected by the Chinese imports. Some clothes traders try to report low prices at the customs and bring down the price of Chinese clothes. And dealers have suffered losses due to smuggling from neighboring countries.
In fact, Peru has strict restrictions on imported Chinese clothes. Although China and Peru have signed a free trade agreement, the clothing industry is excluded from the agreement.
Even so, Peru has felt the pressure from China’s clothing industry in recent years. It is considering starting an anti-dumping investigation into almost all clothing and textile products.
The impact of Chinese clothes on Peru reflects the tensions between China’s rise and global development, especially the development of emerging economies.
Peru’s official data shows that from 2005 to 2012, more than 14,000 clothing and textile factories were closed and over 94,000 people lost their jobs. These were mostly family workshops and unable to compete with their Chinese counterparts at both national and international levels.
Similar things have happened in other South American countries. Made-in-China goods have been encountering more obstacles when entering the South American market and become the target of anti-dumping investigations.
Over the past decade, the economic relations between China and Latin America have been developing rapidly. Data from the UN Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean shows that China invested more than $15 billion in Latin America in 2010, which was twice the amount between 1990 and 2009, and the investment scale is still expanding.
China’s investment undoubtedly injects a powerful impetus into the economic development of Latin America. But the similar nature of made-in-China and made-in-Latin America has resulted in a backlash.
The manufacturing industry in some Latin American countries has been shrinking in recent years, partially due to made-in-China goods squeezing them out of the market. Unless Chinese enterprises open factories there, they will encounter more trade barriers.
Globally, industrial complementarity is one of the main problems that restrain made-in-China goods from going global. The arrival of Chinese goods has had some positive impacts, like bringing down inflation. But if it harms people’s jobs, the reputation of Chinese goods, or even China itself will be affected.
Employment is high on the agenda in every country. Only when Chinese goods are cheap, well-made, and drive local employment can China’s image be improved.
The author is a senior editor with People’s Daily. He is now stationed in Brazil.email@example.com
September 10, 2013 Leave a comment
By Michaeleen Doucleff
Ten years ago rye whiskey was on the brink of extinction.
Despite its venerable history as the whiskey made byGeorge Washington, only a handful of distillers were bottling this quintessentially American spirit. And you definitely couldn’t order a rye Manhattan at your local cocktail lounge.
My, how times have changed.
Now craft distilleries have popped up across the country devoted solely to making the golden liquor. And hipsters from Brooklyn to San Francisco can impress their friends by commenting on the peppery notes imparted by the rye in their Old Fashioned.
Rye lovers say the whiskey is spicier, edgier and less sweet than bourbon, which is made of corn. But few studies have actually looked at what makes American whiskeys unique how fermenting rye versus corn changes the taste, aroma and mouth feel of the spirit.
Chemist Thomas Collins is trying to fill in those blanks. He and his team at the University of California, Davis, have analyzed the flavor profiles of about 70 American whiskeys, including 38 bourbons and 10 ryes.
In many cases, Collins says, what matters the most for a whiskey’s flavor isn’t what grain is in the bottle but where the spirit was produced and what other whiskeys are made at the distillery.
Through their analysis, Collins and his colleagues discovered about 4,000 unique compounds in the 70 American whiskeys, they said Monday at the American Chemical Society’s annual meeting in Indianapolis.
That’s not so surprising. Any beverage that has been roasted, fermented and then aged in oak barrels is bound to serve up a sensory smorgasbord of compounds.
But when Collins and his team whittled down the list to about 30 to 50 critical flavors in each whiskey, a surprising pattern emerged.
Rye and bourbons made at the same distillery had flavor profiles that looked more similar to each than to other ryes and bourbons, respectively. In other words, each distillery left a stronger fingerprint on the spirit’s character than the grain did.
In contrast, the ryes made at operations that don’t also produce bourbon had a unique flavor profile distinct from corn whiskeys.
Why? Collins isn’t exactly sure, but he thinks a big reason is that the dominating flavors in American whiskeys come from the wood, not the grains or the yeast.
All bourbons and most ryes are aged in oak wood barrels that are charred to release an array of flavor compounds. Think vanilla flan, burnt caramel and smoky wood. These compounds seep into the whiskey as the spirit sits in the barrels. If distillers are aging their rye whiskeys in the same type of barrels that they use for their bourbons, then the two liquors wind up with a similar flavor profile.
“When you look at the unaged whiskeys, then you can see the difference between rye and corn bourbons,” Collins says. “But once the spirit is put into the barrels, the wood compounds dominate the flavors that come from the grains.”
“Craft distilleries or ones that just focus on making rye must be doing something different in terms of the aging or the distilling process,” Collins says, to get a unique character to their ryes.
Another factor blurring the line between whiskeys is the fact that many ryes don’t actually have that much more er, rye in them than corn, says Scott Harris of Catoctin Creek Distillery in Purcellville, Va.
By law, rye whiskeys must contain at least 51 percent rye. The rest can be corn, wheat or any other grain. The same goes for bourbons, except they need to be 51 percent corn.
“The vast majority of Tennessee bourbon and rye on the market are some mixture of rye and corn together,” Harris tells The Salt. “Sometimes it’s disclosed. Sometimes it’s not.”
Recently, more craft distillers like WhistlePig in New York, Old Potrero in San Francisco and the shop Harris runs with his wife are starting to make 100 percent rye whiskeys. Then the difference between bourbon and rye becomes crystal clear, says Harris.
“When I taste 100 percent corn bourbon, it tastes like Halloween candy corn. It’s super sweet, with almost a caramel-type flavor,” he says. “With a whiskey that’s 100 percent rye, there’s not as much upfront sweetness. And there’s a white pepper note at the end that really distinguishes rye from corn.”
Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.
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