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Archive for March, 2009

When it comes to American-made motorcycles, we’ve all heard of the market leader, Harley-Davidson.  Yet, I’ve recently discovered a growing and not yet so well-known brand, the Victory.  Victory is made by Polaris Industries of Minnesota, makers of snowmobiles and ATV’s.  They have gotten into the motorcycle business since the late 90’s.  Their 2009 line-up sports 18 models and they’ve been growing modestly while the market has been shrinking.  This is quite impressive for an upstart manufacturer in this age.  

Victory Cruiser

The Victory line-up is quite beautiful and compares favorably with Harleys and other cruisers on the market.  The price point is also quite good, and they now offer a 5 year warranty!  Check out victorymotorcyles.com  for pics, videos and more info.  Let’s support this new American manufacturer!

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My wife bought a container of honey made in northern Michigan, my home state. The next time she was at the (same) store, she picked up an almost identical carton but this honey was imported from Brazil. Why do we even need Brazilian honey? But that isn’t my point. I want to be able to look down an aisle of a store and at a glance know where the American made items are. I don’t want to have to search the label for every item. I don’t even want to have to think about it. I could walk past all those Chinese, Taiwanese, etc flags and then decide if I prefer the U.S. made item…whether it’s a carton of honey, a basketball, lamp or a car. Granted it gets a little sticky when it comes to cars because many vehicles share parts from several countries…which is all the more reason to label these products. I was told by my brother-in-law that the car with the most U.S. made parts is a Honda!
I recently wrote to five U.S. senators about this issue. I got form letters back from each. Senator Carl Levin’s office sent me (dated) information about C.O.O.L. COOL is an acronym for country of origin labeling. This was a provision in the Farm Bill (Farm Security and Rural Investment Act). It was signed into law in 2002. The final provisions are becoming mandatory on March 16, 2009! This was enacted to provide added levels of safety for imported food items, mainly beef and pork but for all perishables. Why it has taken so long to implement this is beyond me but it speaks volumes for how inefficient our legislators really are. I still believe they will help this cause because it’s critical for our economy and there are many Americans who WANT to buy U.S. made goods to support American companies, their workers and their families but we can’t be bogged down with hunting tiny “made in the USA” stamps on each and every item when shopping.
This will also help identify illegal goods coming into the U.S. Take toothpaste for example. Last year, tooth paste was imported from China with packaging identical to the American made item. Inspectors would have a much easier time spotting these goods arriving off the boat from China if they had American flags on them. By the way, this morning I checked my tube (and its box) of Crest tooth paste. It does not indicate where it was made….Just “distributed in Cincinnati, Ohio”.
I understand it’s a world economy but there are people out there who we support (financially) that just don’t like us and I think flags would be a big help making more informed decisions. I’d like your thoughts on this idea.

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Today, my wife and I were passing through the Culver City farmers’ market.  We really like going there since the produce is high-quality, pesticide-free, and is grown locally.  This time, I had the pleasure of walking past an artist’s booth who was selling Korean-style ceramics.  He had multiple different wares: tea-cups, goblets, vases, and tea pots.  I was really taken by the various tea pots there.  I asked if the products were made locally.  Mr. Kwon assured me that his shop is in Korea Town in Los Angeles and that he makes everything himself.  To be sure, there was no “Made in China” sticker to be found and the wares had a non-mass-produced-looking stamp on the bottom of them.

I was thrilled with the tea pot – I’d been looking for one like this for quite some time, as it would look really cool for serving green tea, but I was in no rush, since I was resigned to it being imported.  So this little tea pot caught my attention.  How much would you expect to pay for a teapot like this?  $80? $60, NO – $25!!!  (Am I on QVC?)  Ok, it was marked down, but this handmade teapot is a steal at $25!  I had to put it on the blog.  I also wanted to reward this artist with a link to his shop:

Yehyang Ceramics

833 S. Western Ave., #11, Los Angeles, CA 90005

213-380-1023, email: yehyangceramics@hotmail.com

Locally-Made Korean-Style Teapot

As I’ve said in previous posts, the future of commerce is anti-brand and locally-sourced. Even now, global supply chains are collapsing and in-sourcing will hopefully replace out-sourcing. Just as green technology will replace fossil-fuel-based technology, so will local, individually-made, custom products which are sold on a person to person basis, replace the impersonal, mass-produced-all-over-the-world products that we had been getting used to. I may be wrong, but I hope that I am right. Time will tell.

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