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Posts Tagged ‘Made in Pennsylvania’

I highly recommend that you check-out Fifthroom.com if you’re interested in finding Pennsylvania made and U.S. made outdoor furniture, garden structures, indoor furniture and home storage products.  Many of the products are made by Pennsylvania artisans – almost all are wood.  What I like about the website is that it represents several websites/retailers coming together to offer a single integrated website to sell their wares.  You don’t see these types of endeavors enough and I think they are great way for smaller retailers to take on the big box retailers.  As a FYI, I don’t have a beef with large box retailers, but as a rule, they don’t do nearly as much for the regional economy.

Fifthroom was started by Tim McTighe who began as a small retailer called Cedar Stores in the Pittsburgh suburbs.

 

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Here in the Northeast and in the southern states, stink bugs have taken up residence after being introduced from Asia in the 1990′s.  They can damage your crops, fruits and vegetables and are a real nuisance around the house.  You’ll find them in your food, they crawl up your walls and can be found in every nook and cranny in the house.  Not to mention they really do make your fingers stink when you pick them up.

What can be done about these nasty pests?

An enterprising Pennsylvanian decided that he had enough of these stink bugs so he devoted time and effort into developing a trap.  It is Strube’s Stink Bug Trap.  He designed several different models for different uses.  There is even a very large custom made sting bug trap for orchards.  Visit Strube’s website for more details.  You can purchase the traps on-line.  Strube’s Stink Bug Traps.

Strube bases his operation in Columbia, Pa, which sits on the Susquehanna, half way between York and Lancaster.

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You could drive through the tiny town of Orwigsburg, Pennsylvania (pop. 3,000) as you wind through the mountains on your way to Pottsville from Reading and you would never that it used to a major hub for shoe manufacturing.  In the late 1800′s the steel, coal and manufacturing workers needed shoes and the town of Orwigsburg became the center for shoe manufacturing…perfectly centered between the coal region and the U.S. manufacturing epicenter in Allentown, Bethlehem and York.  At the peak, Orwigsburg was the home of 11 shoe companies thatmanufactured over 1.4 million shoes per year.

Flash forward 120 years and Kepner Scott Shoe Company is STILL based in Orwigsburg and is still manufacturing its goods in Pennsylvania.  Their focus has changed, they now specialize in high quality, leather shoes for children.  In the 1960′s, they saw a real market need for flexible children’s shoes.

Kepner Scott Shoe Company employees a few dozen Pennsylvanians and would really appreciate your business :).  If you visit their website, you’ll be able to browse the selection of shoes, but you’re better off searching for Amilio, Carpenter, Sandals by Carpenter and Self Starters branded shoes.

Website

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Since 1966, Fleetwood Folding Trailers has been making Coleman brand campers for outdoorsman…little did you know that the company is based right here in Pennsylvania.  The company employees 300

Pennsylvanians in Somerset, PA…a town of 6,500 in the shadow of Pittsburgh. 

These campers are great if you like the comfort of a camper, but don’t wish to spend a small fortune or have the storage space for a full RV.  In a moments notice, you can have your gear stowed in the back of your car, your camper hitched to your car, and your map on your dashboard.  Great for the friday night excursions that we take far too few of each summer.

http://www.colemantrailers.com/

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The pretzel has popularized in Germany in the 12th century and made its way to America with emigration.  The German emigrants largely settled in Pennsylvania, giving birth to an industry that is still thriving today.  Americans consume $500M of pretzels each year, with Pennsylvania being the source of 80% of these goodies.  Pennsylvanians are also credited with consuming 12 times more pretzels than others in the U.S.  If I’m interpreting this right – we make and consume all of the pretzels in the U.S.

There are dozens on pretzel factories in southeastern Pennsylvania, including all of the brands we know and love.  However, the best tasting hard pretzel is the Unique Pretzel Split.  Unique Pretzels is based in Reading and the result of 16 generations of evolution - originating in the late 1800′s, later forming into the Unique Pretzel company in 1921, and finally being a product that can be found on the shelves of Pennsylvania retailers.

I’m going to say this again because it is unequivocally true – Unique Pretzels are the best hard pretzels in the country, which puts them high in the running for best worldwide.  You won’t truly understand that until you purchase a bag.  I highly recommend them and recently picked-up 10 cases at the Reading bakery where they are made of them because I couldn’t find them at my local grocer.

Fortunately, they do ship pretzels and they can be found on store shelves in southeastern PA – but, distribution is spotty across New Jersey, New York and the western part of the state.  However, you should call to inquire, because there are specialty stores around that do carry the Splits.  You’ll want to purchase the “dark splits” – they’re the ones that are simply amazing.

UPDATE:  For people that are sensitive to wheat, Unique Pretzels also makes pretzels made from sprouted wheat.  Once the wheat grain is sprouted, it becomes a vegetable and is easier to digest.

Company Website

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If you ever travel to Pottsville – a town tucked in the mountains within the coal region of Pennsylvania, you will become an advocate for Yuengling - America’s most potable Lager (in my opinion).  It’s great that it’s the country’s oldest brewery and that they use high quality water perculating through the mountains, but much more importantly….you will realize that it’s a large region that collectively would really appreciate your business.  You also see that Yuengling is an underdog, they aren’t sleek, hip, or flashy and they’re not endowed with a marketing budget of envy.  Basically, they’re a family-owned business that wouldn’t exist today if it weren’t for the seriously blue-collar customers (and employees) who spent days and nights in coal mines and steel mills.  While this sounds like stuff of lore, it isn’t.  Beer making may be a hip pursuit in parts of the country that have fine tasting microbrews – but, it wasn’t and isn’t in Pottsville , not in the slightest.

Yuengling is still considered very small when you compare to industry bohemoths like Anheuser-Busch Inbev, SABMiller, and Molson Coors – who, colleectively, make-up 80% of the market in the U.S.  Yuengling, on the other hand, produces 1-2 million barrells of beer a year to earn a 0.6% market share in the U.S….tiny compared to the several billion produced by Anheuser-Bush (50% market share, 30,000 employees, $16B in revenue).   The interesting sidebar here is that Anhueser-Bush, Miller and Coors were all acquired by foreign conglomerates over the last few years.  What this means is that the real money earned by these companies is going abroad, rather than to St. Louis, Milwaukee and Golden, Co.  This leaves Pabst, Sam Adams and Yuenling vying for the #1 American beer company.  Pabst and Sam Adams were both ahead of Yuenling last year.  Pabst is in fact contract brewed by SABMiller – meaning, it’s more of a label than a beer company.  Sam Adams is nationally and internationally distributed and had a small lead on Yuengling, who will likely pass Sam Adams this year or next in volume.

Yuengling will soon by America’s #1 brewer and it’s a Pennsylvania company.  Although, this may feel insignificant - those guys who work in the coal mines and steel mills might feel a bit differently.

Next time your in the Pennsylvania area – go into your local bar and order a “lager” – you shouldn’t be overly surprised that with no questions ask, you get served a cool pint of Yuengling lager.

 

 

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kutzsodaIn the world of Coke and Pepsi – small, craft soda and drink manufacturers haven’t stood a chance and they went out of business in droves throughout the 1900′s.  That began to change when consumers started looking for healthier and better tasting options in the 1990′s.  Companies like Snapple (now owned by the Dr. Pepper Snapple Group), Izzy’s and Nantucket Nectar broke the Pepsi & Coke market and proved that there were consumers who preferred “alternative” options.  Shelf space for alternative brands is still at a premium and the road is as steep as ever for local drink manufacturers, but their is hope.

Kutztown Soda has witnessed this rise, fall and rise again of niche soda manufacturers.  They’ve been in business since 1851 and claim to be one of the Reading areas longest continually operating businesses.  Kutztown Soda offers a variety of traditional soda flavors, such as Birch Beer, Sarsaparilla, Ginger, and Root Beer….all made from pure cane sugar…apparently, a much healthier alternative to corn syrup (see labels of major soda brands).  You can purchase the soda online or find it at a local store via a link on their website.  Don’t go looking for them in your major grocery store chains – Coke and Pepsi still control the vast majority of that shelf-space.

Company Website

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