FEATURES
6/1/2020

American Made

Jennifer Polanz

I asked some of our featured companies to highlight the benefits to garden retailers of buying American. The answers ranged from supporting businesses in the U.S. that employ local workers and helping local economies to faster fulfillment and support tools like on-site visits. Here we dig into what they make and how they impact the industry.

DeWitt Company

This landscape barrier and accessories company operates out of a 400,000-sq. ft. facility in Sikeston, Missouri, and is continually investing in state-of-the-art technology and equipment to provide customers high quality products, says Vice President Meredith DeWitt.

“From day one, we’ve been a family-owned, family-operated and family-inspired company,” she says, adding the company employs 75 team members. “Being centrally located, we are able to shorten the lead times for customers to receive product shipments.”

While they’re a global company, they manufacturer several of their products in the U.S., including TYPAR landscape fabric, DeWitt Garden Weed Barrier, edging, pond liners, anchor pins and biodegradable stakes, among other products. They can be found at www.dewittcompany.com.

 

Gempler’s

Carl Atwell is the new president and owner of Gempler’s, a mainstay in agriculture, nursery and landscape for more than 80 years. His company carries both products made in the U.S. and abroad, and his dedicated team fulfills orders out of a warehouse in Mt. Horeb, Wisconsin. He enjoys supporting American entrepreneurs who develop products based on a need they find in their industry.

“It excites you to see that they are creating a product that solves a problem; they are passionate about every detail about why it is the way it is,” he says. “And they’re using local resources. That’s inspiring. It’s easier, too, because you don’t have to talk about long lead times. The supply chain is a lot simpler.”

Gempler’s makes a few of their own products here, too, such as tool racks in varying sizes and lengths that can be installed in a garage or shed to store tools.

Carl notes the company’s main focus is to provide quality tools and accessories that customers need. “We believe strongly that one of our fundamental roles is to curate—to do the hard work for customers in terms of figuring out an amount of choice they need, no less and no more.”

Some of those curated products made in the U.S. include these tool and accessory manufacturers:

King of Spades—This New Jersey company offers a wide variety of nursery and landscape tools, including rakes, pitchforks and, of course, spades.

Rogue Hoe—Carl calls them the “Patagonia for the tool world.” They make hoes and a few other tools from recycled agricultural disc blades.

Bully Tools—They offer a wide variety of gardening tools that are 100% made in Steubenville, Ohio.

You can find the full list of Gempler’s collection of Made in the USA products here: gemplers.com/collections/usa-made.

 

HC Companies

One positive aspect of buying an American-made product is quick replenishment, says Craig Ruvere, marketing communications manager at HC Companies, a container manufacturer in Twinsburg, Ohio.

“Products are often more readily available,” he notes. “The stress of possibly running out of product and having to wait months at a time for replenishments is completely abated.”

They’re currently manufacturing two new products: a new three-layer planter for consumers called the Terrace Stacking Planter, which also features a self-watering reservoir, and the Deck Rail Box, which is designed to fit 4-in. or 6-in. deck rails. The box has removable drain plugs and are available in earth tone colors. Find more at hc-companies.com.

 

Kazumi Gardens

Kazumi Gardens isn’t just a Florida-based company that creates handmade kokedamas in the U.S., it’s also a family affair.

Edgardo Manosalva explains, “My mom learned this technique when she went to visit her daughter (my sister) in Nagoya, Japan. Also, she’s certified in Japan. Now it has become a family business where my mom, dad and I are working full time.”

They create their own mix of potting soil, organic mix, sand, vitamins and a Japanese substrate, and they use preserved moss so the green coloring doesn’t fade. The company offers more than 33 different types of plants and sizes. Visit KazumiGarden.com for more.

 

Pallet Tower

This company is a great example of seeing a need and filling it, thanks to a real-life rocket scientist. Brian Groves, CEO of Pallet Tower and project manager at Panoramic Farms who holds a master’s degree in aerospace engineering, designed the Pallet Tower after needing a better solution for a one-way shipper.

He teamed up with industry vet Ron Sims to start a business based on the shipping solution, which features corner posts made out of 100% recycled materials (that can be printed on and branded) and pallet shelves. Those corner posts also can be recycled once the system is broken down. The wood shelves can be resold to pallet manufacturers, which means retailers aren’t left with a lot of waste and don’t have to wait for a company to come retrieve them. The pallets also are heavy-duty, holding up to 1,850 pounds, and can be reused multiple times (Brian has reused some of his over 25 times). Find out more at www.pallettower.com.

 

Rockford Systems

Speaking of filling a need—right now retailers need ways to reduce the spread of COVID-19. Rockford Systems introduced a GermBlock line of cough and sneeze shields for retail, as well as industrial and commercial use. The shields are constructed of heavy-duty clear 3/16-in. polycarbonate and 16-gauge 304 stainless steel ¾-in. framing, and are available in tabletop, floor standing and extended leg versions. They also offer custom shields. The shields are made in Rockford, Illinois, and can be cleaned with surface and sterile wipes, ethanol, hydrogen peroxide, isopropyl alcohol and dishwashing soap solutions. Find out more at www.rockfordsystems.com. GP

 

 

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