Category Archives: Made in USA

Made in the USA: Headbands for running and fitness from 4 manufacturers

Finding running gear made in the USA is tough. In a previous post, I discussed the handful of running shoes I could find that are made in America. While searching for a good headband for running, I was pleased to discover this week that my favorite product line is made in the USA!

I first tried a Bondi Band headband after purchasing one at a pre-race runners’ expo. The headband stays put and has a comfortable backing that wicks sweat away from my skin. It is also wide, giving you more forehead and hair coverage than some of the very narrow headbands sold by major sporting goods stores. The band comes in a couple of different styles and numerous colors and prints. A group that have sayings on them  offer humorous options. Not a runner? The Bondi Band could be used for aerobics, yoga and other workouts as well.

I investigated headbands made by other companies, but many were more expensive than the Bondi Band. I found a promo code on RetailMeNot that allowed me to get five Bondi Band headbands for $25 — a discount of $3 each. Another wide headband I seriously considered was $18 for one. Plus, BondiBand says 10 percent of its pre-tax profits go to charity.

While I have not tried them, I found three other headband lines made in the USA. First is the Halo headband. The manufacturer says the Halo wicks sweat and absorbs moisture. It comes in three different styles: a pullover headband, a version that ties in the back and a Velcro headband. If you’ve tried a Halo headband, please share your comments on how well it works. RetailMeNot also offers a Halo promo code. The bands cost $12.95 to $14.95.

A line of headbands made for women are also manufactured in America — RazzyRoo headbands have a unique design in the back and come in a wide array of prints and colors. The manufacturer’s website doesn’t offer many details on the features of these, so its hard to tell if the group labeled “running headbands” have wicking or sweat-absorbing properties. Expect to spend $5 (clearance items) to $15 for one of these.

Chica Bands offer another headband option for women. In a response to my email, a company representative told me these are made in America. The Chica Bands website describes the product as “a nonslip, nonbinding hair band…for active women and girls.” They come in solid colors, reflective finishes and a variety of other designs. Check out RetailMeNot for Chica Band coupon codes. These headbands range in price from $10 (sale selections) to $17.50. A “Chica on the cheap” option in the sales section allows you to get 10 discontinued bands for $25, but you won’t know the width or style until they arrive.

I would love to hear from ladies who have tried RazzyRoo headbands or Chica Bands for athletic use and get their comments on how well the bands work at keeping sweat off your forehead.

If  you’ve found other running or fitness headbands that are made in America, please let me know so I can expand my list.

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Made in the USA: glass food storage containers

At my house, we try to make the most of leftovers, so we need lots of food storage containers to save them for future meals. Typically, we have stored the extra food in plastic containers, but lately, I’ve become concerned that these may be leaching chemicals into our food, especially when the food is heated. So, I set out in search of glass food storage containers made in the USA.

Pyrex glassware is made in the USA, and the company offers a mixture of shapes and sizes. I purchased two of these 6-cup rectangular pieces from Amazon — they are a great size for taking leftovers to work. I also have a 7-cup round Pyrex food storage bowl. Other available configurations include:

  • 1-cup round
  • 2-cup round
  • 4-cup round
  • 4.75-cup rectangle
  • 6-cup rectangle
  • 11-cup rectangle
  • Sets mixing various sizes

The manufacturer of Pyrex, World Kitchen, also offers another product line called Snapware®. Its plastic lids latch on all four sides of the glass container. Snapware is available in sets or as individual pieces and is made in America. Sizes include:

  • 1-cup round
  • 1-cup square
  • 2-cup rectangle
  • 4-cup square
  • 4-cup rectangle
  • 4-cup round
  • 6-cup rectangle

These products feature a lifetime limited warranty.

Anchor Hocking gives you another option for glass food storage bowls made in the USA. It offers a 10-piece TrueSeal storage set available from Amazon, Walmart and other retailers.  The set includes one 1-cup, 4-cup and 7-cup round containers plus two 2-cup containers. You can also buy individual sizes, such as these 11-cup rectangles. The product listings I reviewed did not offer warranty information for these products.

Rubbermaid also offers glass food storage containers made in America — well, sort of. The product packaging states the glass portion of the containers is made in the USA, while the lids are made in China. The products are currently available in a square configuration only. You can purchase the Rubbermaid glass containers in a set or individually in these sizes:

  • 11.5 cup
  • 8 cup
  • 5.5 cup
  • 4 cup
  • 2.5 cup
  • 1.5 cup
  • 1 cup

These products have a limited two-year warranty.

Are you aware of other glass food storage pieces made in the USA, or have you used any of those listed above? Share your knowledge and experiences so others can benefit.

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How to get a great deal on custom framing made in the USA

My mission? Find a frame for a 12-inch by 12-inch photo print I bought at a street festival last fall. Since this is a nonstandard size, I knew I would have to purchase a custom frame for my item.

My first stop? A major arts-and-crafts supply store that offers custom framing. Armed with a 50-percent-off coupon, I thought I could easily get my item framed for around $60. After all, it was already matted —all I needed was the frame. I was so sure that I’d get a decent price that I brought my print to the store, expecting to return in a few days to pick it up. To be honest, I didn’t really care for the store’s selection of frames, but I was willing to settle for one that looked decent because 50 percent off seemed like a great deal. That was, until I got the price quote. I don’t recall the exact amount, but it was around $130. I took my hummingbird photo print and returned home.

I didn’t bother going to other major or locally owned framing shops, because I figured the results would be about the same. Instead, I turned to an online resource I’d used before in a similar situation: SendAFrame.com. The company may not have the fanciest website, and you may never have heard of it before, but it’s a great place to go if you need a custom frame.  Plus, you get a product made in the USA.

SendAFrame.com is a lot like quick-service restaurants where you build your own meal. In the website’s custom-framing section, you pick the size of frame you want, the material you want it to be built from, the frame width and the frame color. You choose whether to have a matte included with your frame, and what shape, size and color it should be. Want a mounting board? You can add that to your order as well.

Have a question? I got a quick answer to mine from a friendly customer service representative using the website’s chat feature.

Here's my print in the frame I purchased from SendAFrame.com

Here’s my print in the frame I purchased from SendAFrame.com

After you place your order, SendAFrame.com builds your frame by hand. My item was constructed and shipped quickly. The only criticism I have is that the instructions enclosed with the frame were confusing, and the metal hanger we had to attach to the frame was of poor quality. The latter is easily rectified by purchasing your own hook at a local hardware store.

If your order totals $49 or more, it ships free. My order was close to that price at $42.50, so I got a small photo album from the site to get free shipping. If I’d gone with pay-your-own shipping, my order total would actually have been higher than it was with the photo album.

Speaking of photo albums, SendAFrame.com has a good selection of those as well. I’ve previously purchased a product from their “build-your-own” photo album line. This allows me to select the album, which has a three-ring-binder style, and then choose the photo print sizes I want it to hold. In my case, I had a lot of 8 x 10 photos to keep, so I bought a package of 8 x 10 sheets, as well as some that held other nonstandard-size photos.

The company also sells ready-made frames and gifts.

The custom frame I purchased from SendAFrame.com cost about 2/3 less than the price quoted at my local chain store. I got good customer service, fast shipping and a beautiful, high-quality wood frame. The next time I need a custom frame, I’ll go straight to this website.

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Made in the USA: Dishes, dinnerware and serving pieces

When my  husband and I moved halfway across the country last year, we decided to leave our old dishes behind and buy new ones. It was important to me to buy lead-free dinnerware made in the USA. The shopping process proved harder than I’d expected. Not many companies sell dinnerware manufactured in the United States. I did find one whose plates I liked, however: The Homer Laughlin China Company. It’s been making dishes in America since 1871. The company is best known for its Fiesta line of dinnerware, which comes in a rainbow of colors.

I bought my Fiesta dinnerware from Macy’s. For online shoppers, the store seems to have the best prices and selection. Wait for one of their sales, and you’ll get very competitive prices. Fiesta’s dinnerware line offers you serving pieces and accessories, including platters, pitchers, salt and pepper shakers and cream containers. You can also buy baking dishes, flatware and glasses. While the company is best known for its solid-color dinnerware, it also offers diner-style and Christmas patterns. Plates are dishwasher, oven and microwave safe.

What about other manufacturers? Here’s what I’ve found:

Corelle: According to its parent company, World Kitchen, all Corelle dinnwerware are made in Corning, New York. However, the company indicates some of its dishes with decorations contain “low-lead enamels.” The company has not answered the email I sent a week ago asking whether its entire product lineup is made in the USA or only its dinnerware.

Pickard calls itself “America’s oldest fine china company” and says it has manufactured in the USA since 1874. The company’s china patterns are a mixture of understated and color options. While beautiful, they may not be an option for those on a tight budget. The company told me, “We use a low lead glaze system that is fully FDA compliant.”

Lenox says its fine bone china is made in Kinston, North Carolina. The company’s Made in America Web page features a dozen patterns with classic styles.

HF Coors says its dinnerware is lead-free, with all products made in the USA. While cheaper than Lennox and Pickard, its dishes seem to be more expensive than Fiesta.

Pfaltzgraff did not respond to my email asking where its dinnerware is made, but a variety of online sources indicate the company stopped manufacturing in the United States in 2005.

All Louisville Stoneware products are made in Louisville, Kentucky. The company has been in business since 1815 and bills itself as the “oldest handmade pottery dealer in the USA.” Its product lineup includes 19 dinnerware patterns, and a representative assures me all its products are lead-free.

Do you know of another source of dinnerware and accessories made in America? Please leave a comment so others can learn of additional options.

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Finding running and athletic shoes made in the USA

In my last post, I explained why I’m trying to avoid products buying made in China. If I can’t find a particular item made in the USA, I hope to find a version manufactured in a country other than China. This is especially tough when it comes to running shoes.

Calling myself a “runner” might be a stretch–according to my mile times, I am more of a “jogger.” Either way, I need to wear shoes designed for running when working out because they offer extra protection as I pound the pavement. I learned the hard way what happens when you run in shoes not designed for jogging. The protection offered by running shoes subsides the longer you wear them, so I recently set out in search of running shoes made in the USA.

New Balance is the only company I could find that offers athletic shoes made in America. Not all New Balance models are made in the USA, but if you search for “made in USA” on the company’s website, you’ll get a list of its USA-made running and athletic shoes.
Update: A May 4, 2014, website posting by New Balance states that the company defines “made in the USA” as a shoe that has a “domestic value” of at least 70 percent, meaning at least that much of the shoe was made or assembled in America.

Unfortunately, New Balance didn’t offer shoes in my size, so I kept looking. I ended up buying a pair of Mizuno Wave Alchemy 11 shoes from Endless.com (a great source for hard-to-find sizes), which are made in Vietnam.  Not all Mizunos are made in Vietnam; a Mizuno customer service representative told me some are made in China. Looking on the back of the shoe’s tongue can tell you the manufacturing location. Mizuno delivered good customer service by answering my email within 36 hours.

I emailed the Nike Store to ask where Nike running shoes are made. Here’s the response I got: “Virtually all of our footwear is produced outside the United States. We also have manufacturing agreements with independent factories in Argentina, Brazil, India, Italy and South Africa to manufacture footwear for sale primarily within those countries. I cannot pinpoint which exact shoe are made in China and other countries.” The representative did point out one pair of Nike women’s running shoes made in the USA. I will give Nike’s customer service team a “thumbs up” for responding promptly and honestly to my email. I got a response in less than 48 hours.
Update: As of Dec. 31, 2013, no Nike running shoes (men’s or women’s) are made in America, according to a Nike representative.

I also emailed Dick’s Sporting Goods, a large online and bricks-and-mortar retailer, to ask which shoes it carries are made in the USA. The response from Dick’s staff was less helpful: “If you would like information on a specific product we would be more than happy to find out the country in which the item is made. We don’t have a way of searching for items made in the U.S.A on our website and therefore, are unable to suggest a specific product.” Dick’s staff does score well for customer service here. They answered my email on the same day they received it.

My last running shoes were Asics Gel Cumulus. The shoes’ tongue shows they were made in China. My husband’s Saucony Pro-Grid Ride running shoes (purchased recently) were made in Indonesia.

Have you found quality running or athletic shoes made in the USA? If so, please share information so others can buy shoes made in America.

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Where to find products made in the USA

I’ve never felt good about buying products made in other countries. Financially speaking, I prefer to support the economy and job market of my own country, not someone else’s. I don’t want to be part of subsidizing low-paying jobs and unsafe workplace conditions in other countries. My resolve to avoid products made in China was strengthened recently when I learned the country is kidnapping women and forcing them to have abortions (this Washington Post article offers details). Since then, I’ve decided to try harder to purchase product made in my own country and especially to avoid those made in China.

Finding products made in the USA is not always an easy task. Many retailers buy cheap goods manufactured overseas to maximize their profits. To help you find products made in America, I will be featuring some on this blog from time to time. Since I have a limited budget, these won’t always be products I’ve had the opportunity to purchase and test myself.

Up this week are broiling pans. The house I moved into last year didn’t come with one in that drawer under the stove, so I recently set out in search of one.
I found a couple of versions manufactured in the United States on this website: Chef’s Catalog. The company offers free shipping on orders of $25 or more, plus free returns by FedEx.

The Granite Wear three-piece broil, grill and bake set is what I ordered first.
I should have paid more attention to the dimensions provided for the item. When it arrived, it was smaller than I thought. While it would be adequate for broiling steaks, it wasn’t long enough to hold a full rack of ribs. Thanks to that free return shipping, I’m sending this back and ordering the larger version.

Before ordering, I checked out Chef’s Catalog on the Better Business Bureau website. I encourage you to do this and take other steps to protect yourself when shopping with unfamiliar companies. See my previous post on this subject for more details.

I invite you to share links to and locations of your favorite made-in-the-USA items. Post a message if there’s a product you’re having trouble finding an American version of, and I’ll try to help you track it down. Stay tuned for more products made in America

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