Denny insists that even if clients aren't partial to homemade goods, they are won over by their other perks. "They're buying American because they know they can get a good price and delivery when they need it," he said. "That they're proud that it's an American thing, that's maybe a small percentage of it. That they get the stuff and they have a successful event that they couldn't have planned for way, way in advance, that's the story every week."
STAYING TRUE TO RED, WHITE AND BLUE
Garyline made its debut with necktie hangers in 1963, but discontinued them after necktie production moved overseas. The company then switched its business to sports bottles, along with other plastic products that can compete with similar imports. It employs 400 union employees who make 95 percent of its line in its New York factory. Labor-intensive items, such as totes and towels, as well as a few low-cost plastic options are made in China to lower costs.
"If it's cheese, you can pay a lot for cheese because some people love that special, expensive cheese," Denny mentioned, comparing U.S.- and overseas-made goods. "But with most promotional products, if it's comparable in terms of quality and delivery and availability and service level, you have to be competitive [with price]."
HumphreyLine, which created the Humphrey flyer about 60 years ago, offers a variety of plastic and personal care products. It only imports components, such as neoprene, and pen sanitizer spray pumps and barrels—none of which are available domestically. For everything else, 32 workers oversee the automated machinery—which Ellis equates to a second industrial revolution—at its Kentucky-based manufacturing facility.
Relocating production overseas became a topic of conversation among executives about 10 years ago, Ellis, who purchased the company with his wife in 1991, noted. However, his team ultimately opted to stay put in order to maintain control over product quality and service, a decision he vows to never change, especially with recent attention on product safety.