With “Made in America” no longer the standard in what we buy, one Oakdale woman has put forward a simple easy-to-use website to assist consumers to find American made items.
Inspired by a drive to help the country’s lagging economy and the shortage of “Made in USA” on labels, Jamie Norwood set out to launch a way to showcase domestically-made products.
“When I was in a store, I could hardly find anything made in the USA,” said Norwood. “One common solution to bring jobs back to the country is to buy American products.”
Norwood, 33, a fourth generation Oakdale resident, is not alone in her belief.
Walmart, the nation’s largest retailer, announced last year it would increase carrying U.S. products by $50 billion during the next 10 years. General Electric is investing $1 billion through 2014 to revitalize its U.S. appliances business and create more than 1,500 domestic jobs.
Norwood started DigUSout.com, which lists companies that sell “Made in the USA” goods. The site now features over 500 links to American companies and their products.
It’s free, and according to Norwood, easy to use.
For the business owner, there’s no charge to register.
Norwood said her website makes a profit by selling advertising space.
Norwood is now competing in the 2013 San Joaquin Entrepreneur Challenge where contestants vie for a chance at a $10,000 cash prize and $14,000 in business services with a two-minute “pitch” to a judging panel and audience members.
Norwood was one of 18 finalists that have moved on out of 50 competitors from San Joaquin, Stanislaus, Merced, and Tuolumne counties. The next round is Wednesday, March 20 (today).
Norwood is pitching adding a “shopping cart” feature to her website where users can actually shop and purchase items from all the available companies. She anticipates that this feature would also add a commission to her business from the sales.
DigUSout.com also includes a blog written by Norwood that features information on the companies of the site. This month she highlights Kona’s Chips of Oakdale that makes natural dog treats.
Norwood promotes a “One for US” idea for the public to grasp – to buy at least one product a month from a U.S. company.
“A lot of these companies are small family businesses that sacrifice a great deal to keep jobs in the U.S.,” Norwood said. “Not an extreme, I’m not advocating buying everything made in America, just once a month. It can make a difference.”
The event is March 20 from 5 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. and is held at the Stockton Golf and Country Club on 3800 W. Country Club Blvd. in Stockton. It is open to the public and tickets are $20 and include light refreshments.