ROCHESTER, N.Y. — This back-to-school season, Wegmans Food Markets is building on last year’s push to source products that are made in the USA. There are currently 80 domestically made school supplies on shelves, said Mary Ellen Burris, Wegmans' senior vice president of consumer affairs, in a recent blog post.
Each product undergoes a two-step process to ensure that they are indeed American made, as regulated by the Federal Trade Commission. Wegmans category merchant Tom Gavin selects products and Betsy Crater, Wegmans’ quality assurance manager, contacts each vendor to check the origin of all pieces and parts.
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Signs in Wegmans' general merchandise aisle highlight products meeting the criteria. They include Union, Mo.-based Esselte's two-pocket folders, Griffin, Ga.-based Norcom's composition books and Ogdensburg, N.Y.-based Acco's vinyl binders.
“Even though costs from U.S. manufacturers were sometimes higher than the import alternatives sold by other stores, they weren’t so much higher that we couldn’t maintain competitive prices,” wrote Burris. “The labor rates in China are rising; for many years products from there had costs way below those made here. Concerns of Americans about jobs in this country have made it more important to many people that we do what we can to increase demand for U.S.-made items.”
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