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The Tip is 'Where They're Proud'
I recently saw an ad in our local newspaper for a big box home improvement store. Their newspaper ad had USA made products and American flags all over it. Several weeks later, I checked the ad again and sure enough they were still advertising their American made products. It was obvious they are proud to carry products Made in America.
Their competitors made no mention of things Made in America. I have been to this store and asked what products are made in the USA? A clerk told me they primarily carry imports. Obviously they are not proud.
I now realize you can buy many Made in the USA building supplies, including tools Made in USA and appliances Made in USA., in stores that are proud to carry brands Made in the USA.
Here is another example of a store proudly carrying products Made in the USA. I was shopping for men's shoes in a local department store when I tried on three different pairs of shoes. I couldn't decide which pair I wanted so I went out on a limb and asked the clerk, "Are these shoes imports?" The salesman said "yes they are" so I asked, "Do you have any Made in America shoes like these?". To my surprise he said, with GREAT PRIDE, "yes sir, we have a whole line of Made In USA shoes".
He brought me the same color and style with the Made in USA label. These Made in America shoes were less expensive, came with a better warranty, and were more comfortable.
Looking for companies that are PROUD is simple and can have a great impact on our country. I encourage you to try this some time- just ask. You will love it when you realize you are making a difference that all of us will benefit from. With your help America will be ours again and that is a good thing.
Buying Tip Continued - Read more on Made in America Products by Tiny But Mighty
Gene and Lynn Mealhow, and their sons, have been producing Tiny But Mighty Popcorn? since the late 1990s. A third-generation family farmer and soil consultant by profession, Gene continues to consult with farmers regarding sustainable practices. He bought the popcorn business from Richard Kelty, whose family had farmed in Urbana, IA for several generations.
In the 1980s, when his father and uncle left farming, Gene started to look at the whole picture involving groundwater and chemicals. He joined a soil consulting firm, which advised farmers about soil nutrients and seed selection. One of Gene's first customers in the early 1990s was Richard Kelty, who brought Mealhow in to reduce his waste and increase his yield. The popcorn stalks were falling down and producing only 600 lbs per acre, which was not commercially viable. One of the early challenges was getting the three-inch long ears to fill to the tip.
Gene's first reaction when he encountered the tiny corn kernels was What in the world is this stuff? He began consulting with experts from around the United States, and discovered that the K&K kernel is most likely a variety of flint corn. The Kelty and Kramer families either found it growing in Iowa when they settled here in the 1850s, or they traded for it with local Indians. It may have even originated in the western states.
According to Richard Kelty, original owner of the company, his great, great, great-grandfather, Samuel Kelty, settled just northwest of what is now Cedar Rapids in the 1850s. While no one in his family knows exactly where the seed came from, they believe it came from Indian neighbors. When Richard Kelty returned home from the army in the mid-1970s, he found the last remaining seed in a fruit jar. He popped some and planted the rest?and a new business was born.
What makes Tiny But Mighty popcorn unique, besides its tiny kernels and disintegrating hulls, is that it is open pollinated. A 128-day corn, TBM is also difficult to raise, process, and keep its integrity. Gene consulted with a popcorn breeder from Idaho, who said TBM was a rare variety. Because it is hard to breed, most people in the popcorn industry wanted nothing to do with it.
For the Mealhows, popcorn is not just a business. It's their passion, and Tiny But Mighty Popcorn? is a product they do not want to die. One of their biggest pleasures is meeting customers, who range from friends to people throughout the United States. In fact, Gene doesn't like to use the word customer, instead, he builds friendships with people who enjoy his product. At a recent trade show in Chicago, Mealhow was thrilled to have a mother say to her kids, This is a real farmer, and he's from Iowa.