While shopping for silverware, dishes and other kitchen items for his new apartment last summer, Joe Sessa quickly discovered his cart was filled with products made mostly in China. It bothered him to send his money overseas when factories here were closing and so many people needed jobs.
He wondered, Could you buy only American if you wanted to? Sessa scoured stores, visited websites and arrived at a surprising answer. "You can basically get anything you need made by an American."
So Sessa opened U.S. Mart with his cousin, Brenda Forristell, in late May. Located at 5690 Ridge Road in Parma, the store offers flags, cookware, cleaning supplies and tools among its selection of 1,300 American-made goods, including toys from Jolly Pets and Step 2, both located in Streetsboro.
Sessa and Forristell aren't trying to take on big-box retailers. Their first goal is simply to increase the store's inventory to 3,000 products and give people more ways to support American workers.
"All of that money we're spending, all of the money the customers are spending goes back into the [national] economy," Sessa says.
Forristell says many customers say they try to buy only American-made goods, and U.S. Mart cuts down on their number of errands. She says it also eliminates another step. "They don't have to turn over every product to see where it's made."