In the last few weeks, American automobile makers General Motors and Ford Motor Co. have announced plans to bring manufacturing and other jobs back to the U.S. And they’re not the only ones.
Sixteen years ago, Denver-based Samsonite shut down its manufacturing plant over profitability concerns. To cut down on costs, the luggage company has been making the majority of its suitcases in India and Europe. Now, however, the company is looking at returning production to the U.S.
New York-based Trans-Lux, which makes LED and LCD displays, has been considering moving its facilities in China to the U.S. for over a year now. Again, the decision to move production to China in 1997 was a cost-cutting one.
Trans-Lux officials say Donald Trump’s win in the recent election was the final push they needed to come home. Since early on in his campaign, Trump has promised to cut regulations and slash corporate taxes to bolster domestic manufacturing and make it easier for American companies to come back home. Officials at GM, Ford, and Samsonite all say market trends—established long before President Trump started making promises—are the reason they have looked at returning jobs to the U.S.
No matter their motives, these and many other companies are being lauded for what should bolster the U.S. economy and provide good-paying jobs here at home. After years of “turning their backs” on the American worker and creating jobs in China, Mexico or elsewhere, they’re finally doing the right thing.
Kudos to them.
Companies That Have Kept America Great
But what about the companies that never left in the first place? What about the CEOs and presidents who decided long ago that American values were more important than the bottom line?
Plenty of U.S. corporations have been providing jobs right here at home all along, and they’re the companies that deserve the applause. Here are just a few examples of American brands that have kept the vast majority—if not all—of their manufacturing operations in the United States:
For over 100 years, the Harley-Davidson brand has been synonymous with motorcycles. Started by two childhood friends in a wooden shed in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, today Harley-Davidson makes its iconic bikes at factories in Wisconsin, Missouri, Ohio, and Pennsylvania. Some of its parts are made overseas, but each and every bike is assembled right here in America.
It’s only fitting that the NFL, the king of American sports institutions, uses only American-made footballs. Since 1941, Wilson has manufactured every single football played with in NFL games. The Wilson factory in Ada, Ohio, makes 4,000 footballs each day. Two years ago, Wilson took over another American-made company: Louisville Slugger. The acquisition ensured that the iconic baseball bats would keep being made in Louisville, Kentucky.
This year marks the 40-year anniversary of the Post-It Note, invented by Spencer Silver in 1977 and produced by St. Paul-based 3M. Post-It Notes are now sold in over 150 countries around the globe, yet the iconic office supply is still made at 3M’s facility in Cynthiana, Kentucky.
Since 1902, Gibson guitars have been made in the U.S. They were manufactured in the company’s headquarters in Kalamazoo, Michigan until the plant there closed in 1984. Rather than relocate overseas where labor is cheap, Gibson moved shop to Nashville, Tennessee. Gibson electric guitars are still made in “Music City,” while its acoustic guitars are made by employees in Bozeman, Montana. Gibson’s also has a third plant in Memphis.
Founded in Idaho Falls, Idaho, in 1985, Melaleuca products include over 500 health and wellness products from vitamins and supplements to eco-friendly cleaning products. These products are manufactured in the company’s plants in Idaho Falls and Knoxville, Tennessee. While Melaleuca now operates in 18 overseas markets, the vast majority of its employees live and work in the U.S.
Multi-colored Crayola crayons are used by children—and adults for that matter—all over the world. They may be the most iconic art supply on the planet, and every single crayon is manufactured at Crayola’s plant in Easton, Pennsylvania. The facility employs hundreds of Americans who help produce 3 billion crayons a year.
There are hundreds of additional large corporations—and thousands more small companies—that manufacture goods in and provide service from right here in the United States. While many of them have had enticing opportunities to outsource their jobs to other countries, they’ve chosen to keep employing the dedicated American workers who have gotten them where they are today.
While the companies deciding to return to the U.S. after years of foreign operations are the ones making the news, it’s the companies that have stayed put all along that deserve the headlines.