Buying American

There was a recent release by Southwick Associates on their findings that the “Made in the U.S.A. “ label was a major selling point when choosing between two similar products. However, it was also noted that while both hunters and anglers are more than happy to support their fellow Americans by buying products made here, they are not willing to pay a premium price for those products.

The tackle industry is flooded with products that are made overseas, many of which appear to be very similar to American-made products. Most of these products also retail for much less than our natively produced ones. So how can you, the retailer, help support the American economy and job market in light of these facts?

The short answer to such a question is you cannot; the long answer is you just need to do your part. If you switched to selling only American-made products, you would risk missing out on some super products, and you may miss out on offering products in the price points your customers want. Fifty years ago, selling American-made products was much easier than it is today, and that is a fact we are forced to live with. I don’t foresee it changing anytime soon either.

The foreign countries of the Pacific Rim can produce products for much less than we can, not because they are more advanced than us, but rather because their workers make less than ours do. Those products can then be sold for much less as well, and when you are looking at purchasing something as disposable (or easily lost to fishing gods) as fishing tackle it is hard for the American angler to justify the cost difference.

I feel the best place to make inroads with the consumers and help bolster our economy is to focus on where the fight may be easier to win. Larger items, or less disposable items, may be a great area to focus on. Fishing rods, fishing reels, tackle bags and boxes, sunglasses, electronics and even watercraft are great sources to promote the Made in the U.S.A. label. These products are far less disposable and once purchased will not need to be replaced as often if ever.

Consumers want to be lead – they rely on you, the retailer, to inform them, educate them and sell them the best product there is. It won’t be easy, but if you can carry more American-made products in your store, and sell a few more each week, your customers will be happier to see your support, and so will our economy.