We’ve been seeing a lot about the Made in America movement over the past week, and have even been in on some of the conversations that have surrounded it. But what does being American Made really mean? Why is it good for our country? Why should you be worrying where your plates and other goods are made? We talked to a couple of family members of The Homer Laughlin China Co. to break it down for you.
First off, we’d like to take a minute to brag about ourselves (that’s okay, right?). The Homer Laughlin China Co. has been making dishes since 1871, and every dish with an HLC backstamp is American made. That’s over 145 years of American dishes! We began making Fiesta Dinnerware in 1936, and similarly, every dish with a Fiesta backstamp is Made in America. We’re pretty proud of that.
Katie Bricker and Pete Wicks show off Homer Laughlin dinnerware in the White House.
So, after all these years, why have we stayed at our Newell, West Virginia factory while so many of our competitors have moved their business over seas for cheaper labor? Easy. It’s because we are completely committed to our community. We talked with Katie Bricker, Marketing Manager at Homer Laughlin China and member of the team that attended Monday’s Made in America Product Showcase at the White House, who agreed emphatically.
“Homer Laughlin is one of the largest employers in our area and the loss of jobs would be catastrophic to a community already suffering from loss of industry. Our dedicated local employees have supported Homer Laughlin for over 145 years, it only makes sense to offer them the same commitment.”
Our President, Liz McIlvain, is equally enthusiastic about keeping our dishes in West Virginia, even though she’s been given plenty of chances to move the company over the years.
“The Wells family, owners of The Homer Laughlin China Co., has been approached throughout the decades to sell the company to many different entities,” says McIlvain. “For example, other dinnerware companies, other tabletop companies, capital investors, etc. It has been important to keep our dinnerware manufacturing jobs here in USA to provide employment for those living in the Upper Ohio Valley and contributing to the economy. Our commitment to our workers and their families has kept us operating in the state of West Virginia.”
A view of our Newell, West Virginia factory.
It’s more than just a commitment to our community that keeps us in America, though. We’ve made a promise to our customers to keep manufacturing in the country, and we don’t intend on breaking that promise.
“To me, there is no other option than continuing to produce our dishes in America,” says Bricker. “Betraying the trust of our customers that we’ve worked so hard to build over many, many years is not an option. Manufacturing in America is such a large part of what Homer Laughlin is, we’d be betraying ourselves as well.”
By now, you might be wondering what producing goods in America has to do with you, the consumer. Why should consumers buy American made products instead of going for the cheaper alternative? How does buying American Made impact Americans?
“Buying American is essential for supporting industry in the United States,” says Bricker. Buying American made products allows companies to stay on American soil and offer high quality goods to American consumers. If you want to support the American economy and create American jobs, the choice is easy, buy American goods!”
Liz McIlvain, President of Homer Laughlin China Co.
“The more that people buy American made products, the more jobs that will be maintained, or created, in the U.S.A. We Americans have to support ourselves,” agrees McIlvain.
As you can tell, there is a certain pride and purpose that goes into creating our American made dinnerware. We do it for our community, our customers, and our economy. So the next time you’re deciding whether to go with a high quality American made product or not, remember to go with USA.