Since opening Ameri-Can on September 1, 2015, owner Liz Boberg has made a strong commitment to American craftsmanship, art, and industry in the Ellicottville area, as her inventory is made by local artisans and crafters. The scope of Boberg’s inventory expands even further to include items such as clothing made in the United States and Canada. Now, Boberg is pleased to share the exciting news that her store features a selection of merchandise from the well-known franchise, the Made in America Store, whose flagship store is located in Elma, just twenty miles south of Buffalo. According to Boberg, “There is a strong resurgence in companies that are carrying American-made products, and I was really impressed by the story behind the Made in America Store.”
Mark Andol, owner and founder of the Made in America Store, has received national attention for his unique business, which was born out of sheer desperation during the Great Recession. In 1989, Andol opened General Welding & Fabricating, a manufacturing business that grew from a 5,000 square-foot shop with 10 employees in East Aurora to a 48,000 square-foot location with 60 employees in Elma by 2007. When overseas competition caused him to lose several customers, including two multi-million dollar accounts, Andol was forced to lay off half his workforce, many of whom were friends and employees he’d known for many years.
Confronted with the reality of the importance of keeping manufacturing jobs in the U.S., Andol fought back by opening the Made in America Store in a vacant auto dealership showroom in 2010. Every item in his store is 100% made in the United States, right down to the packaging and store displays. Andol’s store is the only brick and mortar store to sell all American-made merchandise, which includes clothing, gift items, and even everyday basics like paper towels and dog food. Boberg emphasizes that all of Andol’s goods are backed by a 100% guarantee that every component is American-made. Not only has Andol’s store supported manufacturing jobs in companies all over the U.S., but it has also created many jobs in his flagship store, as well as seven other locations across the state.
Boberg is thrilled to be one of the first Made in America “store in a store” locations in Cattaraugus County, which is another way Andol’s store supports American businesses. Boberg explained, “Because Andol buys in bulk from manufacturing companies, little stores like us can buy from him at wholesale prices. I can order small amounts of what I’d like to carry, without committing to a huge bulk order. The Made in America Store helps put small businesses like mine on the map by linking to us on their website, www.MadeInAmericaStore.com, their Facebook page and other media outlets to let people know where they can buy Made in America Store products in their own community.”
This winter, Andol visited Ellicottville on a skiing trip and approached Boberg about carrying items from his store. After more conversations throughout the spring, Boberg made plans to have a selection of Made in America Store merchandise in time for the fall/winter season. In September, when Boberg celebrated Ameri-Can’s first anniversary, she officially introduced her selection of Made in America Store products. Customers can choose from a variety of home décor items, flags, glassware, decorative metal signs, puzzles, greeting cards and more, knowing that they are supporting American jobs all over the country. Boberg even carries fabrications from Andol’s welding company, including a packable, portable woodburning fire pit/grill - a must-have for outdoor entertaining. “So far, the response has been wonderful,” said Boberg. “I’m very excited to be a part of the Made in America story.”
Visitors and holiday shoppers can check out the Made in America Store selection at Ameri-Can, located at 11 Washington Street, downtown Ellicottville, Monday through Thursday 10am-5pm, Friday and Saturday 10am-6pm, and Sunday from 10am-4pm. For more information, contact Boberg at Ameri-Can at 716-699-6690.