General Welding & Fabricating in the Buffalo suburb of Elma NY is home to a light-duty trailer manufacturing operation, a truck equipment shop, a custom fabrication service, and the birthplace of a chain of retail stores that specializes in selling consumer products that are made in America.
A 2,000-sq-ft showroom is almost equally divided between parts for light-duty trailers and parts for snow and ice control equipment.
The showroom also displays a few of the products that primarily are sold at the Made in America Store across the road, including American flags and [foreground] an “All-American Grill” that is built in the fabrication department at the rear of the building.
After losing a lucrative fabrication contract to Chinese competitors, General Welding founder Mark Andol responded by opening The Made in America Store—a retail store specializing in selling only products made in the United States. Is the package printed elsewhere? Then it can’t be sold here. The six-year-old company now has seven brick and mortar stores and several locations online. This new building, opened in May, is the new home of the flagship Made in America Store and its distribution center.
The Made in America Store store has become a tourist attraction, with tour buses frequently filling the store with customers.
One section of the store is dedicated to home decor. Other sections include products such as food, clothing, and sporting goods.
Software designed to handle crowds at sporting events manages the inventory levels of more than 7,000 American made products. Because each size of clothing requires its own SKU, the result is more than 30,000 SKUs in the system.
General Welding & Fabricating has produced heavy steel structures for artwork that appears in city parks and museums. The fab shop also produces items such as this lawn furniture designed with the fisherman in mind. Because it is built entirely in America, it can be shipped across the street and sold in the Made in America Store.
The General Welding & Fabricating parts department helped prepare the company to launch the Made in America Store. President Mark Andol believes that the lessons learned in selling to retail consumer items also have made the truck equipment distributor savvier in technology and customer service.
Related story: Made in America store
Sponsored Introduction Continue on to (or wait seconds) ×