The store used to be called Made in Maine. Now they added More. I like visiting their store in Augusta, Maine, primarily to go T-shirt hunting in the bins of test shirts Liberty Graphics sells at lower than usual prices. (They are great shirts!) I went in last week to do just that when I noticed an entire line of Mission style furniture in the middle of the store, which, from a traditional furniture maker's point of view, looked pretty cheap. It looked rickety ... like you would have to screw it together yourself ... and it is made in Pennsylvania. That was when I looked around the store and noticed the More.
The decision to add out of state furniture makers, and More, to Made in Maine, I am sure had nothing to do with a shortage of furniture makers here in Maine. I can only guess what reasons were used at that boardroom meeting, so I will.
"We can't find anyone in Maine who can produce furniture cheap enough for us to make a profit"
"Look at IKEA and their price points and their annual sales"
"We want to remain US made, so let's find someone who can meet our requirements"
So instead of going through the process of looking at www.MaineMade.com and scrolling down through the 140 Hand Crafted Furniture Makers to see who they could promote, they chose the road to Pennsylvania.
My company is listed there. Cork Cove Furniture. I had cost, wholesale and retail prices for my hand made furniture. I was begging for sales ... any sales ... in 2008. I was cutting deals with customers just to keep the bills paid, and I couldn't even manage that.
Could it be that there just isn't a place where everyone knows they can go for anything Maine Furniture related? Did those board members try to find us local cabinetmakers, and could not?
Did they feel they had to make this decision because they needed to compete with the companies dominating the search results?
This is why www.MaineFurniture.org was created. We will brand Maine Furniture worldwide as has been done with Maine Lobster and Maine Blueberries.
When Maine DECD Commissioner Richardson announced that he will work with our organization and pursue a Maine SEO Council to help market Maine's Woodworking Industry, he placed in our hands the sword to slay the dragon. SEE VIDEO HERE
The multi-national, multi-million dollar companies at the top of internet search results will have to give way to Maine, our woodworking friends and family members, and our drive to support our communities.
Maine Furniture Makers produce world class products, and it is my personal goal to make sure everyone knows.
It is my goal to convince Made in Maine to take down that More.