Proudly Made in America
Made in America – the statement alone is enough to stir up patriotic feelings in many consumers and convince them to break out their wallets – especially when visiting some of the nation’s most iconic and grand treasures. Delaware North Companies Parks & Resorts’ retail team, led by Vice President of Retail Donna Genesky, has been making great strides to incorporate domestically produced or finished products into retail operations across the division. These efforts have not gone unnoticed. Recently, National Parks Traveler featured an article highlighting the increased availability of Made-in-America products in concessioner-operated retail outlets in national parks, recognizing Delaware North as one of the leading concessionaires positively responding to the consumer trend.
Not only do domestically produced items have a large economic impact, they also tend to have a smaller environmental footprint than goods imported from overseas. Goods produced in the United States do not have to travel as many miles from production to end consumer, and their production facilities are generally held to higher environmental standards than those overseas, allowing for better workplace health and safety, as well as a safer end product.
Donna pointed out that Delaware North not only concentrates on goods that are made completely in the United States, but its operations also showcase products that are finished domestically and those produced overseas still have company headquarters in America. The collective of these products support business and jobs within our country and tell a great story of continuing innovation and creativity in the United States.
“There are different types, or categories, of ‘Made in America.’ We run between 40-45 percent of 100 percent Made-in-America products, manufactured here in the U.S. Those products we promote accordingly with signage, marketing, and having our product specialists speak to them. Additionally, we have another 20-25 percent that are goods decorated or finished here,” Donna said. “Good examples of those items are mugs and T-shirts – blank products brought into the States and then designed, painted, printed or otherwise decorated here. That now brings us up closer to 60-65 percent of our goods that are either made in America, or finished here in America.”
She also stated that the retail managers are adding a larger selection of goods with a local flair, due to the growth of consumer interest in unique, artisanally made and regionally inspired products. These goods have a special price-point tiering that is based on consumer wants and preferences, which avoids the need to have them compete directly against cheaper imported goods. Communications, marketing, and interpretive messaging and signage are critical to drawing proper attention to such goods.
The DNC Yosemite retail team recently created 350 square feet of dedicated “Made in the USA” space within the Village Grocery and Yosemite Lodge. These displays feature an increased souvenir and T-shirt count, which has resulted in increased sales in proportion to the increased space.
The DNC Yellowstone retail team also has successfully implemented programs and strategies that drive sales of domestic and local products. The highlighting of “Made-in-Montana” products, Pendleton products (centering around the iconic, Made-in-America National Park blankets), and their Pathways to Yellowstone program has helped bring a feeling of authenticity and sense of place into the General Stores.