Supporting the Economy

Many organizations are encouraging Americans to keep that money here by buying gifts made in the U.S.A. this year.

Naperville resident Lu Ann Schieferdecker started Lu Ann Specialties in January, a business that sells gift sets full of goodies like fudge, soup, coffee, and handmade bowls. Every item in the themed collections is not only American made, but crafted by artisans right here in Illinois.

“I decided if I was going to create a business, I wanted that business to have an economic impact,” she said. “If you’re going to give a gift and give it to someone, why not look for products in your own backyard first before you look over seas.”

Each of her collections has a variety of unique, locally made gifts and when the receiver opens the box they can learn a little bit more about whom they’re supporting.

“In every collection there are little cards and each card tells a story about the artisan or the producer that makes the product,” said Shieferdecker. “So it tells you the background about them, where they’re from and it tells you about their product.”

One of the artisans Scheiferdecker partners with is Elizabeth Stephano, owner of Octavia Tea. Although tea leaves generally grow in Asia, Octavia Tea focuses on specialty blends and does all the blending in nearby Batavia.

“We do have a lot of traditional teas as well, but most of our teas are blended with essential oils or dried fruits like blueberries or flowers or other spices,” said Stephano.

Two Doors East in downtown Naperville sells a wide variety of gifts from all over the world. But they pride themselves on selling many items made here in the U.S.A.

“It’s harder than you think to find things that are still manufactured here in the United States and we concentrate on that,” said Becky Anderson, Co-owner of Anderson’s Bookshop and Two Doors East. “When we do find something that’s really great we want to focus in on it and make sure that everyone, our customers, and our employees know that this is something made right here.

Like Lu Ann Specialties, Two Doors East also supports local businesses from Illinois and right here in Naperville- like Tim Penick’s wooden box sets and former resident Dave Simnick’s Soapbox Soaps.

“We need to create and make and buy and sell more items that are made here in this country because that’s only going to build a stronger America and create more jobs for a lot of people,” said Anderson.

The National Retail Federation estimates if everyone spent just $64 on American made gifts this season, it would create 200,000 jobs.

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