Friday, July 2, 2010

Be true to the red, white, and blue

Go American!

In light of Independence Day's nearness, I set aside a couple of other topics to address a more important and timely one: giving kudos to American companies that perform admirably with consistency.

I've limited my few suggestions to American-owned, American-based companies selling tangible items of high quality; I've also found through experience that the help desk representatives for said companies speak English as their primary language—always a nice touch.

The list is not quite as long as I'd hoped it would be. (Perhaps you can help me expand it? I know there are more!)

Here, in no particular order, are some of my faves:

Okabashi and oka b Shoes
If you've seen me, then you've seen these shoes. I wear them almost exclusively in spring and summer. They are plastic, which sounds gross and weird, but they are ergonomically designed for comfort and they are dishwasher-washable. I highly recommend them, especially to people with any foot issues. Best of all? Made in the good ol' US of A, in Georgia. You can even send them back when they become too worn so they can be melted down and incorporated into new footwear. How's that for reduce and reuse, eh?!

Lands End
This company has delivered every time I've ordered. They offer lots of cute, comfortable, classically styled clothing, shoes, coats, bags, outdoor gear, etc. Their kids' stuff is excellent. Their sizing is accurate. Their return process is simple and reasonable. And telephone help is top-notch. I know that much of what they sell is not made in the United States... but that's the only beef I have with them.

Burt's Bees Skincare
These guys make lots of really nice, harmless products for even overly sensitive types like me. Their creams are great, balms are better, and their stuff seems to last a reasonable length of time so the prices, albeit high, aren't ridiculous. I've never had a reaction to anything they've made, and I can't say that about plenty of other, more over-priced skincare companies.

All-Clad Cookware
I love my All-Clad. I wouldn't trade it. Even before Emeril embraced the brand, my family became well-versed in its superiority thanks to a handy "connection" via my sister's in-laws. Treated right, it will last a lifetime. It's heavy, it's professional quality, it cooks and bakes food beautifully, and it was dreamed up and continues to be created within 40 minutes of my home. What more could I ask for?

Celestial Seasonings Tea
Celestial Seasonings have so many great tea varieties, and their packaging is beautifully, intelligently decorated to boot. They offer frequent coupons, even going so far as to occasionally hide coupons in their boxes of product, and they make a point of explaining their business practices: to conserve paper and packaging, as well as to trade for and buy tea-related items for fair prices and from legal, above-board sellers who take steps to leave no footprint.

Penzeys Spices
A former colleague turned me on to Penzeys when I got married, and I never looked back. If you love creating magic in the kitchen, then you must become a Penzeys convert. The company opened a store here in the 'Burgh a few years back, then happily moved it even closer to my home; if you want a fragrant, fabulous field trip, let me know. Their mail order service, which was their backbone for years, is superb; carefully packaged orders, extras like nutmeg and bay leaves tucked in around the scrumptious-smelling jars... a class act. They even have their own magazine, and I do a happy little dance on the days when their newest catalog arrives—usually with a coupon for a free item on the front cover.

There are others I could mention, but I'm not as familiar with them; these companies I've mentioned above are regulars in my home, and I feel confident about recommending them.

I urge you to shop American when you can, and especially to reward American companies with word-of-mouth advertising and additional business when they've exceeded your expectations. And, I ask that you share positive or other feedback on these or other American companies here for edification of any other visitors. Let me know about any great companies I missed, please! Thanks!

And Happy 4th, America! Maybe it's not too late to save our country from the idealistic, frothing libs!


Facie said...

Thanks for this list. I will definitely check out the shoes (had never heard of them). Is Penzey's no longer in Squirrel Hill? The last time I was there, believe it or not, was with you, I think when you were pregnant but maybe even before that.

I am a fan of stride rite shoes, and I think the company is based in the US. I used to shop at a little SR store in Monroeville, but they sadly closed last year.

Mel said...

Hey! Penzeys is now in the Strip, right on Penn Ave almost next to Wholey's, and also dangerously close to a wonderful kitchen store that has far too many tempting gadgets and shiny cookware. I can't believe that's the last time you went--sad! You must go again! It's worth it just to step in and inhale.

I think there was a Stride Rite on McKnight Road that closed a couple of years ago... not sure. It's a shame when they can't make a go of it anymore... whatever happened to Buster Brown? Remember them?