#ShopAmerica: From handbags and dress shoes to tires and paintball

By Lauren Donia

As part of the Alliance for American Manufacturing's (AAM) ongoing effort to demystify shopping for American-made holiday gifts, we've asked our staff to submit their favorite American-made gifts. This is part a series of "Staff Selections" we'll post on ManufactureThis in coming days. Today's post is written by Rachel Bennett-Steury and Meghan McKeefry, AAM field coordinators in Indiana and Wisconsin respectively. Check out all of AAM's holiday coverage, including more staff gift selections.


I’ve picked these places because they are local and pretty cool.

Annie Oakley.This is a great perfumery in Ligonier, Indiana. They sell cologne and perfume in all price ranges and sizes and even offer tours and classes. I bought this for a “Made in Northeast Indiana” fundraiser we are doing for Christmas

cinda b is my favorite handbag and accessory place because they have a pretty sweet local story. When Vera Bradley ditched Fort Wayne for China, cinda b came in and grabbed up that talent and hit the ground running.They take pride in making things in Fort Wayne while Vera Bradley only has billboards implying that they do.

For paintball enthusiasts, Fort Wayne is home to not one but two equipment manufacturers. Tippmann and Tiberius both make paintball guns, and Tippmann makes paintball grenades. We used to have our own paintball field in our back yard. About an acre of bunkers and obstacles. Our friends would all come and make a day of it. Both companies make great products, locally.

And finally, for those who like to give practical gifts: replacement tires. They are made by the 1,400 members of USW Local 715L in Woodburn, Indiana at BF Goodrich. As long as you tell your auto shop to get you tires with the DOT code of “BF,” you’ll be riding on Woodburn tires. If your auto shop tells you they cannot tell where your tires come from, that means they are too big to care. But a smaller, locally owned shops will do this, no problem. (I know from unfortunate experience.)


Here are three American-made gifts I'd like to give, or get, this year:

Sandals from Okabashi. I love these because they are high quality, rubber, easy to wash, Made in the USA, and come in bright colors. These sandals would make a great gift for anyone: men, women, or children of all ages and sizes.

Heels and flats from Oka-B. This is the upscale line of the aforementioned Okabashi. I love these dressy flats. These are perfect for weddings in spring, summer, and fall. Not a flats person? Oka-B sells dressy sandals and heels, too!

Calendars and planners from Gallery Leather. I have been using these for years. I love getting to pick from the bright colors offered. They hold up very well and are, of course, Made in the USA. These calendars and planners make a perfect for a gift because they come in different sizes and colors so you can get exactly what you want. These are great gifts for students, professionals, parents, and teachers. You can find them online or at Barnes and Noble.

Image from Oka-B's website.