(WIVB) – The first ever “Made in America” trade show kicked off Thursday in Indiana- and the owner and founder of the Made in America stores in Western New York is a keynote speaker.
Mark Andol, who opened the first of five local “Made in America” stores in 2010, said he will be telling his company’s story at the four-day event.
“We’re very excited,” Andol said on Tuesday. “No one’s ever had a Made In America event under one roof.”
The trade show kicks of Thursday, which is National Manufacturer’s Day.
“They’re really doing this from the heart, and we’re honored to be invited,” Andol said. “It’s open to the public and it’s the first of its kind- it shows where the movement is, it’s getting a lot of traction.”
The original store started out carrying 50 made-in-the-USA products. Made in America now has five brick-and-mortar locations and carries 9,000 American-made products from over 500 vendors.
“Really, we made it easy for people to buy made-in-America- making things in your own country is cool and supporting the country you live in is common sense,” Andol said. “We triple certify, so all the products here- the glue, the packaging- is all made in America.”
The stores carry a variety of products- including food items, toys, clothing, pet supplies, and CBD oil.
“We’re like the general store on the Oregon Trail,” Andol said. “People can find everything here.”
The flagship Made in America store in Elma often hosts busloads of tourists from across the country. They recently welcomed their 900th bus.
Andol greets buses as they arrive at the store and says goodbye to them as they leave.
“The buses are really neat to see,” Andol said. “It’s really neat to see great Americans coming in from all directions to visit our store.”
Tourists stopping into the store come from as far as San Diego, Andol said. While they’re in town, they’re also directed to dining and other local attractions in the area.
“We’re a key destination, but we tie to a lot of other places in the area,” Andol explained.