The Consensus: Overwhelmingly, the answer is yes—especially for smaller, older companies. Several manufacturers pointed to investment in their American facilities as evidence of their longevity: With the equipment involved in manufacturing most products, once it’s in place, it’s not simple to pick up and move.
What the companies say:
Nalgene: Twenty years is a massive time horizon, just based on the life we live with technology and how fast information flows, but we’re not going anywhere in the short or medium term. We are growing quickly in both Europe and Asia. But we come back to the fact that Made in the U.S.A. is one of the most fundamental tenets of our company, so we don’t really want to manufacture anywhere else.
Zippo: Mr. Blaisdell, the inventor, the founder of the company, said, “The day we have to make our lighter outside this country, outside this town, I’ll lock the doors and shut it down.”
Polaris: Absolutely. We are very committed to the concept of lean manufacturing. And lean manufacturing almost mandates that you’re going to stay close to your customer.
Airstream: Say we grow in size so much this little community can’t support us from a labor-pool standpoint. Then we might open an additional factory in the United States. But production will always be in America.
Glebar: We outgrew the original location and moved in 2015. We are outgrowing this one, too, unfortunately. So we’re looking at outsourcing some of the components that get used on our machines. We started locally and now we’re branching out, but trying to keep it in the States as much as we can.
Hangar 1: We just finished building a brand-new distillery. We moved into our current facility in 2014, and we plan to stay here for quite a while.
Campbell Grinder: The company is the people. If you moved it, you’d have nothing more than a customer base and no one to build the machine.