BOB FORD/TIMES NEWS Michelle Nace, a worker for more than three years at Majestic Fire Apparel in Lehighton, sews a fire retardant hood last week.
Imagine savoring some buttery Mrs. T's Pierogies for dinner, made in an All-Clad pan, washed down with an ice cold Yuengling lager, with a square of Hershey's chocolate for dessert. The dining room is lit by Sylvania light bulbs, and a child is coloring with Crayola crayons while her older brother strums his Martin guitar. The scent of a Blue Mountain candle, lit by a Zippo lighter, wafts through the room.
What's the common theme among all of these? Each product mentioned is made in Pennsylvania.
One Schuylkill County legislator wants to make it easier to spot products made in the commonwealth.
State Rep. Neal Goodman, D-123, is gaining support for his proposal to place a "Made in PA" logo on goods made or processed in Pennsylvania.
"I was in Lowe's, looking at ceiling tile options we recently redid our kitchen when I noticed that Armstrong ceiling tile is made in Lancaster. That was the deciding factor for us. We decided we would rather buy something made in Pennsylvania, to keep our residents working," Goodman said.
As of this morning, 93 legislators had signed on to Goodman's proposal, HB 1800, which is now in the Commerce Committee. They include state Rep. Jerry Knowles, R-124, and Rep. Mike Carroll, D-118.
"I was more than happy to co-sponsor this piece of legislation. I am in complete support of the 'Made in PA' trademark to encourage residents of the commonwealth to buy Pennsylvania-made products," said Knowles, who represents Schuylkill County.
"Considering the importance of job retention during these challenging economic times, highlighting products Made in PA will help consumers make a conscious decision to purchase products made by Pennsylvanians," said Carroll, who represents Monroe and Luzerne counties.
Goodman's bill would expand Pennsylvania's "PA Preferred program, which promotes and helps consumers identify agricultural products made in the state through a blue and gold logo.
The state Department of Agriculture started the PA Preferred program in 2004, and it was made into law in 2011.
If Goodman's bill becomes law, it would be administered by the state Department of Community and Economic Development, which would create a website about the program, and list Pennsylvania-made products, their manufacturers and where to buy the goods. DCED would also design the new logo, Goodman said.
The proposal also has the support of statewide business groups.
"We've endorsed that effort. We think the legislation could make a small but important contribution to the manufacturing industry in Pennsylvania by providing consumers with more information," said David N. Taylor, executive director of the Pennsylvania Manufacturer's Association.
"It would definitely be a fantastic recognition of our manufacturers in Pennsylvania. Many residents do not know of all the products manufactured here, and this would give them a broader range of products to purchase. It would encourage use of Pennsylvania-made products," said Darlene Robbins, president of Northeast Pennsylvania Manufacturers and Employers Association.
Robbins said there are 110 manufacturers, excluding food and agricultural products, in Carbon, Monroe and Schuylkill counties.
They include Majestic Fire Apparel in Lehighton, and Blue Mountain Candle in Franklin Township.
"I think it's a good idea. We've been here over 10 years, and some people who come in don't realize the candles are made right here in Lehighton," said Blue Mountain Candle owner Cecilia Koerbler.
"Anything that will get that word out is great," she said.