CAPPS Shoe Company honors employees of 20 or more years of service


22 NOVEMBER 2011

CAPPS SHOE COMPANY, Gretna, Virginia, hosted a luncheon today at C & E Family Restaurant to honor employees with over twenty years of service, noting particularly the service of Mrs. Mary Moore, who was recently forced to retire due to illness. Mary will be missed greatly.

Tom Capps, President, and Tim Huffman, Director of Manufacturing, both emphasized that pride in workmanship, loyalty, and the experience of our dedicated employees, has been the primary contributor to the success of Capps Shoe Company.  When Capps acquired the factory in 1997 he was able to re-instate many of the former Craddock Terry employees, many of whom are still with the Company. The approximately 50 employees honored at the luncheon, of the 175 total, represent over 1500 years of shoe making experience, an impressive number in any type of business.

Capps Shoe Company manufactures uniform dress shoes for the U.S. Department of Defense for both men and women, and for all branches of the military. This year, Capps presence as an internet retailer in both uniform and civilian shoes has been growing rapidly. Dress and casual footwear in over 100 sizes and widths for both men and women may be purchased at or at the Company’s outlet store at 300 Monticello Ave in Lynchburg.

Listed by years of service and not as pictured are those honored today:

20 Years

Sonya Hubbard

21 Years

Martha Hunt

22 Years

James Dodson

Jimmy Owen

Sheila Witcher

Chelene Anderson

Betty Bravo

John Motley Jr

Eva Hammack

23 Years

Donnell Hunt

Trudy Hedrick

Judy Edwards

25 Years

David Hunt

Sharon Moore

29 Years

David Fitzgerald

Ethel Dodson

30 Years

Peggy Cook

31 Years

Gracie Tanks

Betty Taylor

32 Years

Martha Ford

33 Years

Jeanette Davis

Gloria Davis

John Glover

Barry Carroll

Kim Hall

Carol Carter

34 Years

Vivian Hubbard

35 Years

Wanda Cook

Benjamin Farmer

37 Years

Luella Anderson

Hazel Tuck

Tom Capps

39 Years

Pauline Leonard

Ervin Waller

41 Years

Octavia Oakes

Brenda Motley

42 Years

Gloria Godfrey

Edith Calloway

Betty Towler

Sallie Haskins

Virginia Belcher

43 Years

Nancy Jordan

44 Years

Ira Polk Jr

50 Years

Hilton Maddox

Mary Moore

American Made Matters & ChemArt featured in the Museums & More Fall 2011 issue

National Treasures

Buying American helps more than just the bottom line

By Abby Heugel
Managing Editor

Julie Reiser, president and co-founder of Made in USA Certified, Inc., has traveled back and forth to Washington D.C. for years, and said it has always disturbed her that so many shops in the D.C. area carried patriotic items -American flag products, coffee cups with a president’s face, etc. – with labels that read “Made in China.”

“If gift shops in places that are showcasing American history don’t honor U.S. sourcing and manufacturing, the message it sends is incongruent with our nation’s values and traditions,” Reiser said. “However, this past May I purposely went into all the gift shops in the Capital Building and was pleasantly surprised to see shirts, caps, mugs and many other items all Made in the U.S. and very competitively priced.”

The Capitol Visitor Center Gift Shops opened in December 2008 when the Visitor Center opened to the public, and as a key component of the overall visitor experience, the Gift Shops’ unique product assortment is focused on the rich history of the U.S. Capitol and the U.S. Congress. Many of the products are developed exclusively for the Gift Shops, and all of the products offered for sale are made in the United States.

Best-selling items that appeal to visitors are pencils, replicas of historical documents such as the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution and collectable coins, while during the holiday season they see a shift toward gift items like ornaments, books on the history of Congress and the building of the Capitol and home décor products.

“We continually work to develop and refine our product selection,” said Susan Sisk, general manager, U.S. Capitol Visitor Center Gift Shops. “To assist us in doing so, we have hosted two Small Business Industry Days to seek out small businesses that are making unique products that we could offer in our gift shops.”

Small Business Industry Days include information sessions hosted by the U.S. Small Business Administration about making the most of government certifications and another led by Architect of the Capitol (AOC) staff about the AOC’s procurement process.

There also are one-on-one “breakout sessions,” and small business owners are provided with a networking opportunity where they can speak with representatives of some of the prime contractors who are currently under contract with the AOC.

“The fact is that there are many companies that provide products at very competitive rates and some are even cheaper than sourcing from overseas,” Reiser said. “It may take a little more time and research to find these companies, but they are out there and they are ready to do business.”

Reiser would know, as Made in USA Certified Inc. is a leader in third party, independent, non-partisan certification for the claims “Made in USA”, “Product of USA” and “Service in USA.” Consumers looking to buy American can identify products by the recognizable seal, and companies that have gone through the audit process and have successfully become certified then have the ability to use the seals as a powerful marketing and branding tool.

Domestic Demand
And according to a 2010 Harris Poll, researchers found that more than 60 percent of American consumers want to purchase products made in the United States.

“It’s important for tourists to take a true piece of America home with them when they visit an American landmark/destination,” said Allison Hamilton, marketing manager for ChemArt. “As ABC reported, if every one of us spent an extra $3.33 on U.S.-made goods every year, it would create nearly 10,000 new jobs in this country. We all need to unite as a country and focus on growing the U.S. economy, and this starts with supporting American made products.”

Since its inception in 1976, ChemArt has chosen to keep production in the United States to ensure that their products live up to the high-quality standards that customers know and expect. As the official manufacturer of the annual White House Christmas ornament, they take pride in the fact that all of their products are handmade in America.

All product packaging, print advertisements, trade show booth signage and any other means of promoting business have “Made in the USA” branded on them, and they offer several display units and small metal “Handmade in the USA” signs that retailers can display in front of the products. In addition, they’re also members of American Made Matters, a company with a mission to educate consumers that buying U.S.-made products strengthens the economy.

“A strong manufacturing base is vital to our economy, communities and society,” said Don Rongione, president and CEO of Bollman Hat Company and founder of American Made Matters. “Research tells us that for every one manufacturing job, there are four to five supporting jobs. This is more powerful than any segment of the economy.”

Rongione said it’s a common misconception that American-made products are always more expensive than their imported counterparts. While that may be true in some cases, in many cases it is not.

“Quality, durability, reliability and safety of American-made products in addition to the benefit to our people, our economy and our environment are important factors for consumers to consider,” Rongione said. “A satisfied customer will become loyal to a brand or a retailer. When a product does not last beyond a few uses, that loyalty is threatened.”

Quality Choices
Bob Harju of Pumpernickel Press agrees, as when he and his wife began the company in 1998, they made a commitment to produce and package their cards in the U.S. using materials that are made only in the U.S. Harju said this gave them the assurance and satisfaction that every phase of the manufacturing of their product is helping people in America with work.

“I don’t think it’s that great of a cost difference, especially since the labor costs have been raised offshore, and I hear more complaints about products made offshore than I hear of the cost being a factor,” Harju said. “My opinion is that U.S. consumers are beginning to be very particular about the products they buy and about supporting our economy. If we all start making and selling products that are made in the U.S., there will be more jobs, more retailers, more buyers and a healthier country.”

If customers complain about cost, Todd Lipscomb, founder of, suggests reminding them that these are American institutions that are proud to sell what Americans make with their own hands.

“Not only is the quality better and will last years longer, but is not much more meaningful to know that this was made with pride by an American earning a living wage,” Lipscomb said. “Some may still complain, but many others will thank them for it. The alternative is just another chintzy big-box store, which is as much a part of the problem as the solution.”

Hamilton agreed, saying that price point will always be a heavy factor for some retailers, but that they’ve learned that many customers are willing to pay a premium for products made in the U.S.

“The products are of higher quality, turnaround times are much quicker, shipping is much easier/cheaper and any problems with orders are much easier to solve,” she said. “Buying American helps to ensure that jobs with fair wages continue to be available to us and for future generations.”

Lipscomb added that those that are the caretakers of our nation’s history and national treasures have a special place in our society. The gift shop can be a shining beacon that we do still make things and that “Made in USA” is still meaningful.

And in the end, you truly get what you pay for.

Looking Local

In addition to a limited directory on their site ( of Made in USA Certified companies that have gone through their proprietary supply chain audit, Made in USA Certified, Inc. has also partnered with several directories that have more extensive lists of companies:

Hats Off To The Bollman Hat Company (The Good Roundup)


Hats off to the Bollman Hat Company


From the Bollman Hat Company website/press release on American Made Matters™…”At a time when saving American jobs is more important than ever and the economic recovery needs a boost, a growing group of American manufacturers have come together to form American Made Matters™. The mission of this newly-reinvented organization (formerly SaveAnAmericanJob™) is to stimulate American manufacturing by promoting a broader understanding of why purchasing American products is vital to our future, and enabling consumers to easily identify goods that are American made.”

To read the full release click here.

This consortium has an interesting group of manufacturers on-board, and growing, including K’NEX, Todd Shelton, Andrew David, Riccar and more…see the full member list. Although American Made Matters does not abide by the “Made in the USA” Federal Trade Commision guidelines, because the standards of manufacturing for American Made Matters differs (50% of cost and production for American Made Matters vs. 100% of cost and production for all or virtually all for goods carrying “Made In USA” labels), the founder of the organization Don Rongione, CEO and President of the Bollman Hat Company, states that “… at least 50 percent of costs are incurred, and final assembly occurs in the U.S. You might not be able to say ‘Made in USA’, but you can say you produce in the U.S. and comply with the Save An American Job standard.” (Save An American Job or SAAJ was the original organization name, which has changed to American Made Matters).

What I found really exciting was that some of these manufacturers are licensees.  Over $5 billion in royalty revenue was generated through intellectual property licensing in 2010 according to the International Licensing Industry Merchandisers’ Association.  These numbers equate to 100s of billions of dollars in retail sales of consumer goods in 2010.  Seeing licensed propeties seeking out manufacturers in the United States, to license, make and market product lines, is an additional opportunity for real economic growth for America. Bollman Hat Company just recently signed two licensing agreements with American entertainment icons – multi-platinum, 3-time Grammy Award-winning Def Jam recording artist Ne-Yo for his brand Francis Ellargo, which signifies the ultimate gentleman, and Trevor Brazile, America’s #1 All Around Cowboy under Brazile’s Relentless brand with Bollman’s Bailey Western hats.

“Hats have always been a part of who I am” said Ne-Yo,“ so head-wear was the obvious first product to launch under my brand.  Offering the world’s best quality and American made matters to me, so connecting with America’s oldest and the world’s best hat maker was also an obvious choice.” (see the full press release here)

We will be keeping an eye on this trend!

Correction – American Made Matters requires 50% of cost and final assembly to take place here in the United States in order for a manufacturer to be a member of American Made Matters. We originally post that figure at 60%.

President’s Message – August, 2011

We celebrated our second anniversary on July 4thand I am very happy to report that our members and sponsors now number 34. Our members span a range of US  manufacturers making a variety of products from denim to pet supplies, from shirts to metal fabrications, from bags to vacuums and from shoes to toys. What we have in common is a passion and commitment to continue to produce products in the United States.

American manufacturing continues to face tough challenges related to costs, currencies, and compliance to name a few. Despite these challenges, we hear every day from consumers, retailers and press who have a re-newed interest in buying US produced products because they appreciate that American Made Matters. We have over 12,000 fans, friends and followers in our social networks. Our website views grew 20% in the last month. Online and bricks and mortar retailers contact us every week seeking US product.

Many consumers continue to have difficulty finding US products which is where our American Made Matters logo comes in. More of our members are using our logo on products, packaging and promotional materials which is very important to continue this momentum. Please use our logo on your qualified product. There is strength in numbers. And we are growing and growing stronger!

Don Rongione

Geneva’s organizational products to be featured on DIY’s “Extra Yardage” show

Geneva is proud to announce its line of garage organizational products will be featured on an upcoming episode of “Extra Yardage”, airing on the DIY Network Tuesday, July 12th. “Extra Yardage” host Billy Derian takes neglected backyards and transforms them into functional and usable spaces for entertaining, recreational activities or added storage areas. Watch how he turns this backyard into a motorcycle workshop!!

Geneva Manufacturing has been fabricating sheet metal products for the automotive aftermarket since the late 30’s. Their products include truck boxes, catalog racks, and garage gear with accessories. Geneva continues to manufacture all products in Illinois and is proud to say “Made in the USA.” For more information on Geneva, go to or call Marketing Manager Christa McCaffrey at 847-697-1161.

Member Profile: Bollman Hat Company

Member Profile: Bollman Hat Company

Company Name & Location – Bollman Hat Company, Adamstown, PA

# of US based employees – 200

Years in Business – 143

Corporate Structure – Employee-Owned

Principal line of business – Bollman is an industry leading designer, manufacturer and distributor of men’s, women’s and children’s headwear and accessories.

Do you have any future expansion plans?   We continue to look for new opportunities to expand our brands in existing markets as well as new markets outside the US. We have recently signed two new licenses; first with R&B artist, Ne-Yo for his line of headwear and second with 8 time all around champion cowboy, Trevor Brazile, for his Relentless® brand.

Why does American Made Matter to you?   As the oldest hat maker in America dating back to 1868, manufacturing is part of our heritage. Over our 143 year history, we have provided tens of thousands of jobs, supported the local economy, and provided opportunities for a better life for our employees. We see renewed interest in US made products and believe that US manufacturing still plays a vital role in the future of our company.

How are you using the logo on products, website or marketing materials?   The American Made Matters logo is placed on the homepage of our website, It is also featured on hangtags placed on our products made in our Pennsylvania factory and listed in our Bailey catalogs next to products made in the USA. We are going to be using the logo on our shipping cartons as well.

Do you have any tips for communicating the American Made Message?   As the founding member of American Made Matters, we have invested significantly in getting the message conveyed to our retail customers and the consumers of our products. We have created the website as well as a Facebook and Twitter account where we are connecting with consumers.  American made is always part of our discussions about our company.  This includes press, retailers and consumers.

Has your company won any awards recently?   In 2010 we were recognized at the Governor’s mansion as one of the oldest companies in Pennsylvania and have also recently been recongnized by the ESOP association for over 25 years as an Employee/Owned company.

What’s your vision for the future of your company?   To grow our brands and private label distribution in targeted markets throughout the world, increasing opportunities for our Employee/Owners.

What values drive your business decisions?   Our core value is to exercise effective stewardship over the heritage and assets handed down from past generations.  This will be upheld as our people pioneer change by listening, thinking, and acting with integrity for the long term.  We will achieve excellence by taking ownership, supporting our teammates, giving more than we take, and treating others fairly.

What advice would you give to a start-up business that plans to manufacture/source/etc. in the USA?   To make sure the product that you are offering is the highest quality possible and that you are able to respond with fast, exceptional service as it is unlikely that you will be able to compete on price.

What are the benefits for your company of manufacturing in the USA?   Being able to better control quality and consistency of the products. We can also respond much faster to new trends and short lead times. US manufacturing also enhances our ability to innovate.

How do you balance US and foreign manufacturing for your company?   The market most often dictates that balance. There are products that we sell and components that we require that are no longer or have never been available in the US. There are price points at the lowest end of our market that simply can’t be met using US manufacturing.

How do you get the message out to your customers that you are manufacturing in the USA? Is it important to your customers that you manufacture in the USA?   We present American Made Matters to our private label customers when we meet with them. Our Bailey brand features American Made Matters in our catalogs and we have discussed and encouraged the focus on American Made Matters with our salespeople. We think it is important to most customers but it is only the determining factor of whether they will buy from us by a minority of customers. Obviously the value of consistent quality, innovative designs, excellent service and a price that is within a competitive market range are all key components.

A growing band of US manufacturers is on a mission to restore The American Dream—by helping consumers understand why buying American made matters, and how to choose wisely.


December 15, 2010, Adamstown, PA – At a time when saving American jobs is more important than ever and the economic recovery needs a boost, a growing group of American manufacturers have come together to form American Made Matters™. The mission of this newly-reinvented organization (formerly SaveAnAmericanJob™) is to stimulate American manufacturing by promoting a broader understanding of why purchasing American products is vital to our future, and enabling consumers to easily identify goods that are American made.

America’s settlers came to this country seeking a place where they could establish a better life. They came with hopes and dreams and the belief that anything was possible: a safe and secure life for their families, an education for their children, owning a home. For generations, this has been the American Dream. But amidst our struggling economy, the hope of realizing “The American Dream” is becoming more and more illusive for many Americans.

“Buying American is more important than ever,” says Don Rongione, the organization’s Founder and the Chief Executive Officer of Bollman Hat Company, America’s oldest hat maker. “Simply put, stimulating manufacturing here at home will save jobs and increase the pool of job opportunities, but it is also the only way we will get to a sustainable economic recovery and secure our independence. The most valuable service our group can deliver is to make it easy for shoppers to identify products that are made in America.”
American made products matter to different people for different reasons, and so on its new website (, the organization provides consumers with a comprehensive education on the impact that buying American has on our economy, consumer safety, our national security, our independence, our planet, and more. In addition, the website speaks to the potential long-term ramifications if we don’t start supporting manufacturing here at home. The site also offers lists of, and links to companies rooted right here in the U.S.—companies that offer world-class products that are safer, more reliable, more innovative, more environmentally friendly and superior in quality to comparable imports.

The cold, hard truth says Rongione, is that most Americans don’t really understand that purchasing less expensive goods manufactured in foreign countries—no matter how much they spend—isn’t going to help “stimulate” the U.S. economy; it’s actually a losing proposition. Over the last 10 years, more than 5.5 million manufacturing jobs have been lost in the U.S. Add in the documented “ripple effect” of four to five jobs lost for each single manufacturing job, and this translates to some 30 million American jobs lost. Tens of thousands of American factories, unable to compete with lower cost producers, have closed their doors and laid off workers, or been forced to move their jobs offshore to compete with lower-priced foreign alternatives.

Less than 12 million Americans worked in manufacturing at the end of 2009, the lowest number since 1941. More than 40,000 U.S. manufacturing plants closed their doors in 2008 alone, putting hundreds of thousands of hard working men and women in the unemployment line. And at the moment, there aren’t any indicators that American manufacturing will recover any time soon—during November, only 39,000 jobs were added (with the number of manufacturing jobs falling), a sharp drop-off from the 172,000 jobs gained in October, and this year’s average monthly gain of 86,000. And the jobless rate jumped to a seven-month high of 9.8% in November.

Yet despite the belief of many Americans that the “heyday” of American manufacturing is long gone, it is still possible to turn things around. “We have become too dependent on foreign manufacturing for what we use and what we wear,” says Rongione. We need to start regaining our independence by bringing back the quality craftsmanship and manufacturing that have been the keystones of the American economy.”
Inspired by our current economic climate and his own experience with the painful process of cutting jobs, Rongione decided to ramp up his original concept for the organization, which was first launched in July 2009. American Made Matters™ will offer a higher level of consumer engagement through its newly designed website and friendly, informative Facebook page. The organization itself, acts as a member-based “consortium” of like-minded U.S. manufacturers and sponsors, and as a public forum for consumers to obtain information on high quality, American-made products. Benefits for members include networking and partnering opportunities, access to blog posting, a branded link to members’ websites, and participation in regular promotional campaigns designed to heighten awareness of U.S. made products. Member companies are authorized and encouraged to use the American Made Matters logo on products where at least half of the cost and the final assembly or transformation takes place in the United States. Plans are currently underway for a major public marketing campaign, as well as an educational program specifically designed for schools.

More information is available at; companies interested in membership should contact Don Rongione, President and Chief Executive Officer of Bollman Hat Company, at 717-484-6230, or email
# # #

Spreading the Word – American Made Matters

Spreading the word — American Made Matters

BY:  29 JULY 2011

Remember those “look for the Union label” commercials back in the 1970s and early 1980s?

The group responsible for those ads was the International Ladies’ Garment Workers’ Union (ILGWU) as an attempt to bring attention to a phenomenon that was a clear threat to the loss of jobs in that industry — cheap labor available in the third world. So, let’s see if this sounds familiar to anyone — companies were talking about expensive labor, protecting their bottom lines, cutting costs in orders to compete, etc. We all know what happened to the textile industry — jobs were lost to foreign countries in droves starting in the 1970s and that trend continues.

To have a look at an IGLWU commercial from 1978 to see if the themes within sound a bit familiar, just click here. That campaign wasn’t exactly a success as evidenced by how few articles of clothing are made in the U.S.

Don Rongione, president and chief executive officer of Bollman Hat Co. in Adamstown, Penn., said his company has been around since 1868 and — like other businesses in the textile industry — has felt the pinch from foreign competition. Rongione said his company isn’t unionized, but does share a common goal with those organizations — to keep jobs in the United States.

That goal, he said, prompted him to launch Save an American Job — a project that now operates as American Made Matters — on July 4, 2009. That group partners with companies that manufacture products in the United States and gives them the tools to brand their products with an “American Made Matters” logo so as to let consumers know when they’re purchasing domestic products.

Rongione said it is critical to get people interested in purchasing American products as the nation has lost millions of jobs in Manufacturing. According to the Metropolitan Policy Program at Brookings, over 5 million manufacturing jobs — close to one-third of all jobs in that sector — vanished from the U.S. between 2000 and 2010. Rongione said those losses translate into jobs being shed in support industries — truckers, research and development workers, suppliers, etc. all rely on the manufacturing industry to thrive. Some of those support jobs, of course, are saved when manufacturing jobs leave the country. Truck drivers, for example, are still needed to haul goods to stores like Wal-Mart regardless of where products are made.

Still, Rongione argues that keeping manufacturing local also tends to keep support industries local. When a manufacturing jobs leaves the country, he said it takes four to five support industry jobs with it.

The American Made Matters labels, then, are part of an overall attempt to curb those job losses and to, perhaps, encourage other manufacturers to establish jobs in the United States. Rongione said a sluggish economy, in his view, has caused some shoppers to search for American-made products and the labels can help them locate those items.

“There’s no question in my mind there is a movement back to buying American made products,” he said. “There seems to be a growing awakening among consumers that it does matter. They’re starting to look again for U.S.A.-made products.”

Since American Made Matters was started, 34 companies and sponsors have joined the effort. What must a company do to join and use the organization’s branding to steer consumers to its products?  At least 50 percent of the cost of the branded product (cost includes labor, materials and overhead) and final assembly must take place in the U.S. The “50 percent” requirement is there as it is impossible for some companies to buy components for their products that is made in the U.S.

Those businesses, Rongione said, want to produce items here buy ought not be penalized is they use some imported products in their processes.

In addition to the labeling, Rongione said members get a link on the American Made Matters Internet site that lists the companies. Rongione said the listings exist as a service to consumers and retailers  — finding companies that manufacture in the U.S. can be a challenge, and the service can help those buyers locate American companies.

Membership costs $40 a month, a sponsorship costs $25 a month and consumers can sign up for free to an email list that distributes news and information about members and the organization.

Rongione said his company has, in fact, found some customers through the program and from people out looking to buy American-made products. Will the program prove effective? It’s only been operating for a little over two years, so Rongione said only time will tell. He did say the effort is not as political in nature as some that may be operating out there — American Made Matters is not a lobby group, does not show preference to unions and was built on the notion that consumers are the only ones with enough economic clout to create a demand for products made in the U.S.

Will that philosophy turn the tide? Again, only time will tell.

Click here for more articles in this series.

About: Ethan C. Nobles:
Benton resident. Rogue journalist. Recovering attorney. Email