The Alliance for American Manufacturing (AAM) (Twitter: @KeepitMadeinUSA) reached out to Penn Quarter Living to let us know that they recently moved in to two stories of 711 D Street NW, the former Union Hardware building across from Market Square’s easternmost building. The Alliance for American Manufacturing (AAM) is a partnership of several leading U.S. manufacturers, plus the United Steelworkers (USW). This means that they’re one of the rare organizations that joins business and labor together and their fight is a dedicated one — to see U.S. manufacturing make a big comeback. We’re big fans of “Made in USA” branding and were interested to learn how the AAM put their office together.
When it comes to putting their money where their office is, AAM made sure to stay true to their roots. AAM gave themselves a simple challenge: to outfit their office as completely as possible with “Made in USA” components. The result? The products in their new office come from 23 states and 40 companies. Some came from small mom-and-pops, but many major manufacturers still have plants in the United States. The office’s energy star refrigerator was made in by Whirlpool in Iowa. The Benjamin Moore paint on the walls comes from New Jersey. The Pella windows are from Ohio, and InSinkErator produced the garbage disposal in Wisconsin. The group produced an infographic map that shows exactly where AAM sourced their purchases.
Some pieces were relatively easy to find: trash cans, light switches, floors, chairs, and furniture were all readily available from well-known domestic companies. But some items, like a microwave and a dishwasher, proved more expensive. “Our goal was simply to show how easy this can be,” said AAM President Scott Paul. “If you look hard enough, you can find the American-made products you need. If you shop at Brooks Brothers, for example, you can find some American-made clothes. It’s not always easy to do, and you’re not going to find them at Walmart. But we found appliances, like our microwave, for instance, that were made here.”
The resulting office maintains the exposed beams, brick, and hardware of an industrial warehouse but added more contemporary lines and open spaces. Paul describes the office as “hipster industrial.” Architect Bill London said the overall job proved more difficult than most in his career, but very rewarding. “I was a little nervous, thinking, ‘Oh, this is going to cost you an arm and a leg,’ or ‘We’re only going to be able to get really ugly things,’” he said. But in the end, London says he loves the result and plans to submit the design to several local and national award contests this year.
In the end, Paul is thrilled with the final office, which he said didn’t exceed the organizations’ budget. For him, it simply proves what AAM has been saying for more than five years: It’s still possible to “Keep it Made in America.”