Amazing buildings, great food.
And members of our extended American family making beautiful suits.
I flew into Chicago on Monday and spent the afternoon just wandering around town. I must have walked ten miles looking at buildings and trying to avoid getting hit by Chicago drivers. But yesterday was all business.
I am in the midwest this week to visit American manufacturing firms that I am featuring in my upcoming book, Simply American, Putting Our Extended American Family Back To Work. Yesterday morning I took the blue line out to Des Plaines to visit the iconic American apparel firm Hart Schaffner Marx. I have written about Hart Schaffner Marx in the past. I was greeted by Mr. Lennart B. Bjorklund, Hart Schaffner Marx’s Executive Vice President of Manufacturing and Distribution Services.
Mr. Bjorklund personifies the American success story. Originally born in Sweden, Mr. Bjorklund learned the apparel industry in Sweden, the UK, Canada and finally in the U.S. After working for apparel firms in the Baltimore, Maryland and Bridgeport, Connecticut, Mr. Bjorklund joined Hart Schaffner Marx in 1990. Like so many other members of our extended American family, Mr. Bjorklund came to the decision that he wished to call America home for the rest of his life and became a naturalized American citizen. During my conversation with Mr. Bjorklund, I was struck by his deep admiration for the workers at Hart Schaffner Marx. Their willingness to work hard, day in day out, is one of the core values that makes our country great.
The average tenure of Hart Schaffner Marx employees is 17 years. During my tour of the Hart Schaffner Marx production facility, I met Caroline Smith, a gracious lady who has been sewing Hart Schaffner Marx suits for 38 years. At the end of our tour, I met a gentleman who has been ensuring the high quality of Hart Schaffner Marx suits for 49 years. I was humbled by the dedication of these individuals. As Mr. Bjorklund and I discussed my efforts to promote the sales of products made by members of our extended American family such as Hart Schaffner Marx suits, Mr. Bjorklund shared stories about Hart Schaffner Marx’s employees. Mr. Bjorkland informed me that during Hart Schaffner Marx’s annual service award celebrations, retiring employees routinely thank Hart Schaffner Marx. These employees recall the opportunities their job at Hart Schaffner Marx provided them during their career. The ability to buy a home. The ability to support their children attending college. The ability to enjoy a secure retirement.
By simply making make American products our default choice, we can provide jobs for members of our extended American family. This is the primary reason we should all strive to support American manufacturing. Americans who work in the manufacturing sector are able to provide for themselves, provide for their families and provide for their community. So when your son needs that first suit for his big job interview, make it a Hart Schaffner Marx suit. He will look great and you and he will know that your purchase has, in turn, allowed a member of our extended American family at Hart Schaffner Marx to support their son or daughter. What could be better than that?