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Elma store expands to meet demand for domestic goods

Daniel Robison

While much has been made recently over the lack of American manufacturing, one local retail business is finding success selling goods entirely made in the United States. Elma's Made in America Store is responding to demand by moving to a store that is three times larger than its original location.

The new store with 18,000 square feet in space is located just 600 yards away from the original location on Maple Street in Elma. Tour buses from as far as Wisconsin are scheduled to arrive for this Saturday's grand opening.

Founder and CEO Mark Andol credits the community and his staff for the success. People are literally "buying in" to his store's mission of helping out American business.

He calls it "the spider web effect" that helps out small "mom and pop" ventures around the United States.

"There's probably 10 to 20 smaller companies associated with each product we sell. And we say consumers create jobs with every purchase. Vote with your dollars, so that's what's beautiful with our store," Andol said.

The store features hundreds of products, though Andol points out the dearth of available electronics. It's a statement about the state of American manufacturing. Andol also bemoans the "skills-trades loss" in the regional economy.

"I can't find a welder for my General Welding and Fabricating (company) to save my life," Andol said.

"We are not training and producing them so we have to have a culture change."

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Jay joined Buffalo Toronto Public Media in 2008 and has been local host for NPR's "Morning Edition" ever since. In June, 2022, he was named one of the co-hosts of WBFO's "Buffalo, What's Next."

A graduate of St. Mary's of the Lake School, St. Francis High School and Buffalo State College, Jay has worked most of his professional career in Buffalo. Outside of public media, he continues in longstanding roles as the public address announcer for the Buffalo Sabres of the National Hockey League and as play-by-play voice of Canisius College basketball.