Venice store only sells items made in USA
This article originally appeared in the Sarasota Herald-Tribune (July 3, 2013).
VENICE – Molly Kraut found out just how hard it is to sell only made-in-America products when she began ordering American flags.
It turns out that, while the flags were made in America, the stands came from China.
So, at US Mart, you can buy a flag, but not a stand.
Kraut, 47, a veterinarian by profession, this year opened US Mart on East Venice Avenue, a modern-day general store that sells everything from brooms to toys, all united by one principle: Made In America.
Kraut said the store grew out of years of her own shopping frustrations. Her father-in-law was concerned about the growing unemployment rate and the decline of manufacturing, so he requested gifts made in America for his birthday each year.
“He said he feels like we’re giving the country’s power away by buying (foreign-made) things,” Kraut said. “But it was so hard to find anything made here.”
Frustration turned to action when Kraut’s daughter, Jamie, proposed opening a store full of nothing but American-made products. Kraut tried to find a franchise but discovered only a handful of stores selling American-made products. She said she could not find one in Florida, so she started her own in a newer strip center east of downtown, which coincidentally is next to another den of patriotism, a thriving American Legion.
“I was going to have a little store,” Kraut said. “Now I have 3,000 square feet.”