Opens the first 100 percent American-made souvenir shop in the U.S.
Mark Andol, founder of the Made in America Store, is opening a 100-percent American Made Souvenir Shop in Niagara Falls in mid-April. It is the first souvenir store in the country that will give visitors the opportunity to buy authentic, American-made merchandise.
"Over the last few years, I've conducted site visits to other states to consider prospective locations for additional brick and mortar Made in America Stores. Surprisingly, all roads led me to my backyard - Niagara Falls - the premier tourist destination in our region," Andol said.
He noted the U.S. and Canadian sides of Niagara Falls draw a combined 20 million visitors annually. Niagara Falls is a highly recognized brand around the world. According to Andol, it's on the "bucket list" of people everywhere. Travel and Leisure Magazine ranked Niagara Falls the No. 5 Top World Destination.
Media outlets from Japan, South Korea, Russia and Germany have interviewed Andol and published or broadcast the Made in America story to millions in Asia and Europe.
"Combining the Niagara Falls brand with the Made in America brand makes sense," Andol said. "The world already comes to Niagara Falls. Now we're giving the world an opportunity to take home a piece of America by buying souvenirs whose raw materials, labor and packaging are 100 percent American made. The souvenirs will be authentic and all-American."
In addition to carrying items branded with Niagara Falls and the region, the One Niagara location will carry souvenir items branded with the following gateway cities on the eastern seaboard: Boston, New York City, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C.
The opening of the Niagara Falls store is the second major announcement for the store in just six months. In November, Amazon asked Andol whether he'd like to sell his Made in America Store products on its site. The rest is history.
The Made in America Store now has two online shopping sites: www.MadeinAmericaStore.com and its Amazon location. Andol said the opening of the Made in America Store at One Niagara is another step in his company's success story, and in the creation of American jobs.
"Our Elma location proved the concept: Americans want to buy American. The Town of Elma had never been a destination for tour buses before, but our store changed all that. Our 100th bus group last year hailed from San Diego, Calif. And, we regularly host buses from the Carolinas and the Midwest," Andol said.
The robust U.S. tour bus business reflects the strong demand for American-made goods from the domestic market. This demand has led to four expansions in only three years at the Made in America Store's Elma location, just 20 minutes southeast of Buffalo. Andol said communities across New York , Pennsylvania and Ohio yield the highest number of visitors coming to the store on motor coach.
Another sign of the company's growth is Andol's acquisition in 2012 of a property adjacent to his Elma store. He converted the site to a world distribution center to fulfill the demand from the online, mobile and brick and mortar stores. The mobile store travels across the U.S., primarily to veterans-related events.
"Our Elma location will continue to be the flagship store, featuring nearly 5,000 items in 6,000-square-feet of retail space. Yet, we are very excited about our presence in Niagara Falls and the prospect of introducing international tourists to our unique brand - Made in America."
"I want to thank our customers across the United States for helping our mission to save and create U.S. manufacturing jobs," Andol continued. "The small business owners and employees of the 350 companies that supply our store thank the American consumer, too."
"Consumers have a lot of power. They can affect the change they want to see in our country. Consumer spending represents 70 percent of U.S. gross domestic product. Consumers are the true job creators," Andol said.
He is hosting an open house at the Niagara Falls store located on Saturday, April 20. The public is welcome. One Niagara is located at 360 Rainbow Blvd.