Made in America Means Quality

It's easy to find a cheaper item every time you want to buy something, but if you're like most, sometimes it's that one purchase you had to pay full price for that ends up being one of your favorite items. Is it some form of self-justification for paying the higher price or was it the act of the splurge...the thought of treating ourselves to something we felt that we had come to deserve?

The truth may be the hardest thing to swallow. It could be that after owning it a little while, we actually realized it was worth more than the price of it? While foreign markets are loading the shelves with lower priced items, they are also lowering our standards of quality. It's like a tsunami and the rippling effects are costing us more than the dollars we are saving.

The furniture industry is no stranger to out-sourcing production to countries where employees are paid only a few dollars a day, where there are no insurance or retirement plans, there are no unions, and for the most part, there is little concern for the materials or safety used to get the job done. And if you need customer service, chances are that you are going to be disappointed. As a result, some of these manufacturers have grown by leaps and bounds while terminating most of their employees and abandoning their American factories. How would you feel if you found out that your retirement fund owned stock in an American company who had eliminated the chance of retirement for hundreds, if not thousands of American families?

Make no mistake. American-made quality is like no other. And there's nothing better than treating ourselves to that quality whenever possible. Thankfully, some American furniture manufacturers have taken a strong position in preserving this quality for those who can appreciate it and understand it.

One of the foremost furniture manufacturers that comes to mind is EJVictor. Based in Morganton, North Carolina, they represent a tradition of very high quality, hand-made casegoods and upholstery items. After doing business with them over the past 18 years, I can honestly say that nothing is spared to ensure that their product is second to none. And their customer service is not just a's their method of business. While others are pumping out stamped carvings or turnings, EJVictor is painstakingly producing theirs the old fashioned way, one piece at a time, using the talents of many second generation furniture builders who are still practicing the art of craftsmanship. And they are not the only ones keeping the American quality here at home. Others companies such as Carolina Chair, Harden and Hekman are also keeping their feet planted firmly here at home. One look and feel at a piece of furniture made with American quality is enough to convince you of the difference in the price when compared to foreign-made products.

Pieces of furniture that are made this way are the treasures of tomorrow. They are pieces that last a lifetime and then some. Yes, they cost a little more. But they are also better designed, of higher quality, have finer finishes, offer more flexibility and will no doubt become of your of favorite pieces. You'll also have the added pleasure of knowing every dollar you spend on it, from the manufacturer to the trucking company to the retail dealer, will be kept here at home to benefit all of us.

It's just one more way you can make a difference in helping our country get back on its feet and own a piece of American quality.

William Philby, ASID is the co-founder of Retro Interiors and Island City Traders in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. He is a Florida licensed interior designer and professional member of ASID. A graduate from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, Mr. Philby has been practicing interior design for 30 years in South Florida. You can visit his company websites at

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