- Posted October 21, 2013 by
This iReport is part of an assignment:
From hobby to job
Norton's U.S.A. American Made Only Store!
I was an actress for twenty years and I first became alarmed by the offshoring trend while acting in a stage adaptation of Barbara Ehrenreich's book Nickel and Dimed on (Not) Getting By in America. I had the good fortune to play the lead role of Barbara and while researching the play, my eyes were opened to the plight of the American worker and the dramatic change in the economic landscape. I began meticulously researching products still made in here in the U.S.A. and was shocked by how few there really were.
Saddened to learn how many companies had left, I opted to do something to highlight the wonderful products made in the U.S.A. Through diligent research and direct interaction with companies, I assembled an eclectic selection of products. Norton's U.S.A. opened in 2007, selling products from only 20 companies. Today, the store has products made by over 440 different companies and the list is growing. With a general store format and large selection, every customer can find both necessities and treasures.
Housed in an old livery barn, the store is reminiscent of a bygone era. The minute you enter the store, you are greeted like an old friend. Loose candy is displayed right near the entrance like in general stores of the past. The feeling of community is throughout. I wanted the store to be a place where parents would be comfortable sending the kids for a piece of candy. Norton's U.S.A. brings back to the community a little more of that connectedness that is lacking in today's society.
Norton's U.S.A. further reaches out to the community by engaging in many special community events throughout the year including a community plant exchange, antique and garden sale, a cake auction benefitting Relay for Life and a coat sale that benefits Wings. The store supports the local community in so many ways beyond selling American-made products. This support helps families both near and across the county.
In addition to the brick and mortar store, I established an online store to make shopping for American-made products easier for consumers all over the country. This past year, Norton’s teamed up with MyRegistry.com to offer a made in America gift registry option for special occasions. One deterrent to purchasing American products is often the difficulty in locating these products. With an online store and gift registry, I have made this easier for consumers.
My dream is about supporting American workers, the community and the American dream. Six and a half years later, my dream is alive and thriving with my Uniquely American General Store, Norton's U.S.A. Come on by for a visit, it is a very fun place to visit and shop! I think you will be pleasantly surprised.
- My life