t is arguably the most iconic and recognizable symbol in the world—the American flag—especially when followed by the words, “Made in the USA.” But as our economy transitioned from traditional sectors like manufacturing to technology and services, an American flag on products has become increasingly scarce. In a global economy that is ever shifting, though, there are small signs that this situation may be shifting as well.
“We try to buy made in the USA products and some of them do very well for us,” said Robert Perlaky, general manger of the Raccoon Mountain Caverns, including an 800-square-foot gift shop, near Chattanooga, Tenn. “For me, and I believe for many other people, the first thing that comes to mind is quality.”
He noted, though, “Many of the items are a little bit more expensive, but it is better quality. The Corinthian Bells wind chimes from QMT, for example, are not the cheapest, but they sound really excellent because they use good quality metal.”
“We have drinkware, things like shot glasses, bookmarks, and some apparel that is printed in the USA,” said Elena Bakaeva, assistant to the vice president of retail at Ripley’s Aquarium in Orlando, Fla. She added, “But when it comes to apparel, it is really hard to sell to guests because of the higher costs.”
“Our zoo was closed for two years because of flooding so we are just getting back into operation,” said Staci Skeldum, who helps determine what gets purchased for the gift shop at the Roosevelt Park Zoo in Minot, N.D., in her role as Greater Minot Zoological Society coordinator, which includes event and marketing planning.