El Cajon, CA (PressExposure) May 20, 2011 -- Hoping to reach patriotic customers and support American jobs, a Southern California entrepreneur has created a website to help small businesses [http://topics.signonsandiego.com/topics/Small_business] sell their U.S.-made products, including several made in San Diego.
"We're really making a difference," said Todd Lipscomb, owner of MadeInUSAForever.com. "Every item that we ship - someone had to make that... I think people are waking up to that issue."
His website is attracting attention and was recently featured on CNN. It offers 2,400 items, including wood furniture from Colorado, maple syrup from New York, jeans from Texas and sunscreen from California.
Its San Diego products include a $26.95 wall-mounted, stainless steel bottle opener with a cap catcher from Kentner Fabrication of Oceanside; an $8.95 "Keep Christ in Christmas" accessory set from Flexsystems in El Cajon; and a $19.95 "Surf Grip" body-surfing accessory from Sick Performance Concepts in San Diego.
Lipscomb established his San Clemente business in 2008 because he was concerned about the massive U.S. trade deficit. As an executive in the tech industry working in Asia, he saw firsthand how manufacturing operations - and jobs - were steadily moving overseas.
He quit his job, moved back to the United States and founded MadeinUSAForever.com. He has more than 400 vendors, most of which are small businesses, and is constantly adding more. He purchases some items wholesale and ships them from his San Clemente warehouse, in which case he keeps the margin between wholesale and retail. Other items are purchased through his website and shipped directly from the manufacturer, in which case he keeps a portion of the sale price. Gross revenues hit $1 million last year.
Lipscomb believes that American-made goods tend to be of higher quality than goods from overseas suppliers who might substitute cheaper materials or take shortcuts on production.
"It's very hard for small businesses to get on the shelves at mega-markets across the nation; they're focused only on price," he said. "I have about 10 suppliers who were at Walmart at one point or another. Then Walmart keeps coming back, saying: 'Can you keep sharpening your pencils?' "
There are a growing number of citizens who are looking for the "Made in the U.S.A. [http://topics.signonsandiego.com/topics/Made_in_USA]" label, he said.
"We give the small businesses a free way to publicize themselves to hundreds of thousands of folks from every background that care about this issue," he said.
He recently wrote a book that he describes as a "business-based rallying cry to reclaim the U.S. economy." Titled "Re-Made in the USA," it focuses on how the U.S. can restore jobs, retool manufacturing and compete in the world market.
Interestingly, more of his sales come from San Diego than from the rest of California combined. He's not sure why but said the strong military presence could be a factor.
"Maybe it's San Diego's 'can do' attitude," he said. "If I drive my truck with the 'Made in the USA' sign through San Diego, I'll get orders from the area that same day."
Flexsystems USA Incorporated