'Made in U.S.A.' hard to find amid foreign goods

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There’s a 2001 GM Chevy Suburban parked in Melissia Perry’s garage. Next to that is a ‘68 Ford Mustang. Inside her Woodstock, Ga., home are fully functional radios and televisions from the 1940s.

Perry, 44, sometimes uses her great-grandmother’s crochet hooks to make crafts.

Perry is surrounded by items from the past, but she’s an example of the future — one in which more American consumers are seeking out and buying 100 percent American-made goods.

“It is very difficult to find a truly ‘made in America’ product,” said Perry, a married mother of four. As a small-business owner, she understands the costs associated with stateside manufacturing, but as a consumer, she wants high-quality goods made right at home.

“How many plants have to shut down or jobs have to be lost because we do not manufacture in this country anymore?” she asks.

For several decades, “made in the U.S.A.” — a label once proudly imprinted on everything from apparel to cars — hasn’t just been hard to find; it’s been a hard sell.

In the minds of many American consumers, foreign goods came to represent superior quality at a lower cost. Shoppers showed their preference with their purchases.

Several previous attempts to invigorate consumer interest in American-made products fell flat, says Marshal Cohen, chief industry analyst for market research firm, NPD Group, but this time around the movement seems to have more traction with a broad range of consumers.

“Made in the U.S.A. now is all about patriotism,” Cohen said. “It’s about supporting jobs in the U.S. rather than shipping them off.”

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